Sunil Dutt telephone jalte hai jiske liye

Jalte Hain Jiske Liye Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Jalte Hai Jiske Liye Sunil Dutt Sujata
Sunil Dutt sings to Nutan on the telephone in “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” in Sujata (1959).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of one of Talat Mehmood’s most memorable hits “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye.” A turning point in the controversial film Sujata (1959), “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” blends the visuals of modern technology with the thematic subtext of an antiquated discrimination system.

Can we admire the film’s brilliant mis-en-scene and editing for a minute? Though connected by telephone wires, the hero and heroine are worlds apart: he is a Brahmin and (unknown to him) she is an “untouchable.” A light flickers in a deliberate rhythmic fashion behind Sunil Dutt, marking the passage of time like a ticking bomb. For a romantic song, every second is filled with tension: Talat Mehmood’s lilting vocals seem to pull us slowly down a staircase, teasing at each step as if a figurative (and literal) cord may snap. The effect is both beautiful and extremely suspenseful.

But, you may be asking, who is Talat Mehmood? A brief digression is warranted because this  critical question is how we distinguish among the three types of classic Bollywood lovers:

The first, a wannabe, has never heard of Talat Mehmood before. You’ve seen Sholay and really liked that Asha remix you heard once at your cousin’s wedding. Welcome to our site, young padawan, and have some chai on us. We cannot express how happy we are that you’re here to learn.

The second knows who Talat Mehmood is for goodness sake, this is insulting.  You feel strangely refreshed by that velvety voice dipping into films that otherwise would belong firmly to Rafi or Mukesh. You’ve probably even wept openly to “Jayen to Jayen Kahan” in a public setting, say while riding the train to work or in the waiting room at your dentist. I’m only speculating.

But the third type of Bollywood lover is a Talat Mehmood believer. You know every song to escape his vocal cords as well as each and every of his unicorn-like film appearances (yes, he was a double threat in the industry)! You go well beyond art appreciation, in fact, you feel a sense of personal victimization when you think of all the squandered songs that were tossed at other playback singers that Talat would have crushed (Mahendra Kapoor, I’m looking directly at you).

Nutan Jalte Hai Jiske Liye Sujata telephone
Nutan is distraught to discover how much Sunil Dutt loves her, knowing she is labeled an “untouchable” in Sujata (1959).

Just kidding, Mahendra, you’ve had shining moments. But “Jalte Hain Jiske Liye” is sure to bring out the third type of Bollywood lover in everyone. It is one of Talat Mehmood’s most accessible songs, buoyed by a lilting composition by S.D. Burman. Follow along with the video here and tell us if we’ve made a Talat believer out of you!

Jalte Hain Jiske Liye Lyrics & Translation

Jalte hai.N jiske liiye terii aakho.N ke diiye, DhuunDh laayaa huu.N wahii giit mai.N tere liiye
I have found those songs for which the lamps of your eyes burn
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Dard ban ke jo mere dil mei.N raahaa Dhal na sakaa
What was in my heart became a pain and did not ease
Jaduu ban ke terii aankho.N mei.N rukaa chal na sakaa …
It became magic in your eyes and stopped, and could not go further
Aaj laayaa huu.N wahii giit mai.N tere liiye
Today I have brought those songs for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Dil mei.N rakh lenaa isse haatho.N se yeh chhuuTe na kahii.N
Keep them in your heart, do not let them escape from your hands
Giit nazuk hai meraa shiishe se bhii, TuuTe na kahii.N
My song is even more fragile than glass, let it not shatter
Gungunaau.Ngaa yehii giit mai.N tere liiye
I will hum this song for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Jab talak na yeh tere ras ke bhare hoN.To.N se mile
Until this song meets your nectar-filled lips
Yuu.Nhii awaaraa phiregaa yeh terii zulfo.N ke tale
It will wander astray through the shade of your hair
Gaaye jaau.Ngaa yehii giit mai.N tere liiye
I will keep on singing this song for you
Jalte hai.N jiske liiye…
That for which your eyes burn…

Glossary

jalnaa: to burn; aankhe.N: eyes; Dhuu.NDh laanaa: to find (to search [for something] and bring); giit: song; dard: pain; dil: heart; Dhalnaa: to wane; jaduu: magic; ruknaa: to stop; haath: hands; chhuuTnaa: to escape; nazuk: fragile; shiishaa: glass, mirror; TuuTnaa: to break; gungunaanaa: to hum; ras: nectar; hoN.T: lips; awaaraa: wanderer; phiregaa: to stray; zulfe.N: hair; tale: shade

Sunil Dutt telephone jalte hai jiske liye
Sunil Dutt sings Talat Mehmood’s “Jalte Hai Jiske Liye” across the telephone in Sujata (1959).

I adore this film’s bold attempt to portray the systemic discrimination wrought by a twisted idea of caste. Based on a story by Bengali author Subodh Ghosh, Sujata is not a perfect film by any means. The ending will leave some feeling hallow, but for a mainstream big budget Bollywood film to finally face this pervasive issue head-on was pioneering. It led Bimal Roy, no stranger to socially-conscience films, to win the Filmfare Award for Best Director in 1959! Check out Ankur (1974) on our list of greatest classic Hindi films ever made if this theme piques your vigilant soul!

Lastly, a juicy shout out to fans G Kumaradevan for requesting this lovely song. Strong choice, sir!

– Mrs. 55

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Mera Kuch Saamaan Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry. in Ijaazat (1987)
Anuradha Patel plays an impetuous and free-spirited woman who haunts her former lover and his current wife with her gift for poetry in Ijaazat (1987).

Released in 1987, Gulzar’s Ijaazat starring Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, and Anuradha Patel is a film that falls outside of the time period traditionally associated with the “Golden Era” of Hindi cinema. Although we tend to feature films from the 1950s-1970s on this blog, an exception must be made for this film because of its timeless soundtrack composed by R.D. Burman, penned by Gulzar, and sung by Asha Bhonsle. Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to an ever-haunting gem from Ijaazat (1987): meraa kuchh saamaan

Based on the Bengali story Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh, this film presents the classic love triangle trope often used to excess in Bollywood in a refreshingly subtle and poignant manner that reflects the high caliber of Gulzar’s artistry as a poet-turned-director. The story in this film revolves around the relationships among three main characters: Mahinder (Naseeruddin Shah), Sudha (Rekha), and Maya (Anuradha Patel). Mahinder, a young photographer, has been engaged to his childhood friend Sudha for five years in an arrangement made by his grandfather (Shammi Kapoor). In spite of this arrangement, Mahinder falls passionately in love with the impulsive and free-spirited Maya, but he is too afraid to confide the truth to his grandfather. When pressured to go through with the wedding, the conflicted Mahinder reveals his true feelings to Sudha. However, when Maya suddenly disappears from his life, Mahinder decides to honor his grandfather’s wishes and marries Sudha after all. Even at the end of the film, a lingering question remains: why would Sudha agree to marry a husband who did not truly love her?

Rekha struggles deeply as she is forced to grapple with her husband's history with Anuradha Patel and its effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)
Rekha offers an understated performance as a vulnerable wife forced to grapple with her husband’s history with an ex-lover and its devastating effects on their marriage in Ijaazat (1987)

As the companionship between Sudha and Mahinder begins to grow, the underlying presence of Maya as an unwanted third party in their marriage inevitably leads to marital discord. Mahinder’s unresolved feelings for Maya and Sudha’s awareness of these feelings gradually creates tension that escalates once Maya re-appears in their lives and rekindles a friendship with Mahinder through letters, phone calls, and poems. Mahinder indulges Maya’s attention-seeking actions at each opportunity, deepening the rift that already exists between him and his wife. Despite many efforts to adjust to the very tangible presence of Maya in their lives, Sudha comes to realize that she will never be able to live happily with Mahinder and decides to walk away from her marriage. The turmoil and tragedy of this film goes on to culminate in a conclusion that is surprisingly positive and heart-warming–without completely spoiling the ending here, I will just say that fans of Shashi Kapoor will not be disappointed!

In spite of its portrayal of a relatively ordinary story, Ijazaat stands out from other films in the same vein because of its evocative dialogues, nuanced character development, and, of course, the beautiful music and poetry found in its soundtrack. In the context of the film, meraa kuchh saamaan is a poem addressed to Mahinder from Maya that captures the essence of their troubled relationship with remarkable finesse and sophistication. In this poem, Maya asks Mahinder to return her things back to her–these requests are not for the return of physical objects but rather for memories of their time spent together. Gulzar’s evocative poetry in an unusual free verse format earned him the National Film Award and Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist in 1988, while Asha Bhonsle won the National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her soulful rendition of this song.

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Anuradha Patel’s character is unique to the version of Jatugriha that is presented in Ijaazat (1987), as the original story depicted the woes of a troubled marriage between a husband and wife without the “other woman” character.

Those of you familiar with this classic already may have wondered why Gulzar chose to use the number 116 in the last stanza of this song to describes the number of moonlit nights spent together by the protagonists. Some have suggested that 116 nights may indicate that Maya and Mahinder were involved in a relationship four months in duration (with four new moons), while others have suggested it is a reference to the number of phases of the moon found in ancient Indian literature. Interestingly, when asked in an interview about the interpretation of this number, Gulzar said: It’s not the number which is important, it’s important that somebody kept the count of the moonlit nights of which they spent together.”  This number went on to carry special significance for Gulzar as he recounts in a 2005 interview that he has written lyrics for exactly 116 of R.D. Burman’s songs during his career. 

Lyrics and Translation:

mera kuchh saamaan tumhare paas paDaa hai
Some of my belongings remain with you.
saavan ke kuchh bhiige bhiige din rakhe hai.n
A few wet monsoon days,
aur mere ek khat me.n lipaTii raat paDii hai
and a night folded into one of my letters.
voh raat bujhaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Extinguish that night, and return my things to me.

patjhaD hai kuchh, hai na?
It was autumn then, no?
patjhaD me.n kuchh patto.n kii girane kii aahaT
The rustling whispers of leaves falling in autumn.
kaano.n me.n ek baar pahan ke lauT aayii thii
I had brought back those whispers once by wearing them as earrings.
patjhaD kii voh shaakh abhii tak kaa.np rahii hai
A branch of autumn still trembles in the breeze.
voh shaakh giraa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Make that branch fall down, and return my things to me.

ek akelii chhatrii me.n jo aadhe-aadhe bhiig rahe the
When we both became drenched in the rain under a single umbrella,
aadhe giile aadhe sukhe, sukhaa to mai.n le aayii thii
half of our things became wet. I had brought the dry half back with me that day.
giilaa man shayad bistar ke paas paDaa ho
But perhaps my drenched heart remained next to the bed.
voh bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send that back, and return my things to me.

ek sau solaah chaa.nd kii raate.n, ek tumhaare kaa.ndhe kaa til
One hundred and sixteen moonlit nights, and the single mole on your shoulder.
giillii maha.ndii kii khushbuu, jhuuTh-muuTh ke shikve kuchh
The fragrance of wet henna, and some fake tantrums.
jhuuTh-muuTh ke vaade bhii sab yaad karaa duu.n?
Shall I remind you of all the false promises too?
sab bhijvaa do, meraa voh saamaan lauTaa do
Send all of them back, and return my things to me.

ek ijaazat de do bas, jab isko dafnaauu.ngii
When I bury these these things, just grant me the permission
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.
mai.n bhii vahii.n so jaauu.ngii
To lay myself to sleep among them.

Glossary

saamaan: belongings, things; saavan: monsoon; bhiigaa: drenched, wet; khat: letter; lipaTnaa: to wrap, fold; bujhaa denaa: to extinguish; lauTaa denaa: to return; patjhaD: autumn; pattaa: leaf; giranaa: to fall; aahaT: whisper, faint noise; pahanna: to wear; shaakh: branch; giraa denaa: to make something fall; chhatrii: umbrella; aadhaa: half; giilaa: wet; sukhaa: dry; bistar: bed; bhijvaanaa: to have something sent; ek sau solaah: 116; kaa.ndh: shoulder; til: mole; maha.ndii: henna: khushbuu: fragrance; jhuuTh-muuTh: fake, false; shikvaa: complaint, tantrum; vaadaa: promise: yaad karaa denaa: to remind; ijaazat: permission; dafnaanaa: to bury: so jaanaa: to sleep.


In 2005, Asha Bhonsle in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet reprised several of her old songs as a tribute to her late husband R.D. Burman in the album You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood. In recognition of her work on this album, Asha received her second Grammy nomination in the category of Best Contemporary World Music. When asked to name her favorite song from the album, she said it was meraa kuchh saamaan because it “is very close to my heart as it transports me back into time when I was with Pancham.” (Source).

 -Mr. 55