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

Rabindranath Tagore’s Influence on S.D. Burman

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and S.D. Burman (1906-1975)

Due to my upbringing in a Bengali household, I am intimately familiar with Rabindra-sangeet: the genre of songs written and composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. As a composer, artist, novelist, playwright, poet, and philosopher, Tagore has left a lasting legacy on Indian culture through his vast collection of works in a variety of mediums. Although the purism and simplicity of Tagore’s style might suggest that Bollywood is an inappropriate forum to celebrate his art, several music directors from the Golden Age of Hindi cinema have been known to use Tagore songs as inspirations for their musical compositions. The music director who is most well-known for this practice is none other than the illustrious S.D Burman. S.D. Burman is one of the most succesful music directors in the history of the Bollywood industry, and his songs from films such as Bandini (1963), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), and Aradhana (1969) are still considered all-time classics today. His filmi compositions tend to draw upon inspiration from Bengali folk traditions (e.g. bhatiaalii, saari, etc. ), but here I’d like to draw your attention to a collection of S.D. Burman compositions that are derived from Rabindra-sangeet:

meraa sundar sapnaa biit gayaa (Do Bhai, 1949): From one of S.D. Burman’s first hit scores in the Bollywood industry, this song is considered to be Geeta Dutt’s breakthrough as a playback singer in Hindi films. The mukhDaa of this song is inspired by a Bilaaval-based Tagore composition called “radono bharaa e basonto.” Geeta does an excellent job of expressing the sorrow and pain of this song with her voice, and it is truly unfortunate that the lyrics here would become a reality for her during her tumultuous marriage to Guru Dutt in the next decade.

Playback singer Geeta Dutt (1930-1972) with her husband Guru Dutt (1925-1964)

nain diivaane (Afsar, 1950): This Pilu-based composition is skilfully rendered by Suraiyya, a leading singer/actress who became a huge sensation in Bollywood during the 1940s. Bollywood as we know it today relies on actors and actresses lip-syncing songs sung by playback singers; however, in its very early days, actresses like Suraiyya used to sing their own songs for films. In spite of their dual talents, singer-actresses were not able to survive the onslaught of the Mangeshkar monopoly in the 1950s, and the playback singing paradigm became the standard that is still maintained today in the industry. In any case, this song is based on an extremely popular Tagore composition called “sediin duujane duulechhiinuu bone.” S.D. Burman literally did a copy-paste job here, as the melody of the entire Hindi song is identical to the Bengali original. While loosely basing a mukhDaa on a previous composition is somewhat acceptable, recycling a whole song written by another composer begs the question: should S.D. Burman have given credit to Tagore for this composition?

Singer/actress Suraiyya (1929-2004)

 

 jaaye.n to jaaye.n kahaa.n? (Taxi Driver, 1954): S.D. Burman won his first Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for this song from Taxi Driver in 1954. As is often the case, the male version of the song (sung by Talat Mehmood) is more popular than the female version (sung by Lata Mangeshkar). Although S.D. Burman modified the raga of his composition to more closely resemble Jaunpuri, the first line of the mukhDaa is instantly recognizable as the main phrase from Tagore’s Bhairavi-based classic  “ he khoniiker otiithhii.” Note that the Tagore original that I have provided here is sung by Hemanta Mukherjee (a.k.a Hemant Kumar), who, in addition to achieving fame as a Hindi playback singer/music director, was known for his beautiful renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengali.

jalte hai.n jiske liye: (Sujata, 1959): This probably qualifies as my favorite “telephone song” from a Hindi film. Here, Sunil Dutt woos Nutan over the phone with this gem as he croons to Talat Mehmood’s silky vocals on playback (notice the characteristic quiver that we know and love!). Although this composition is often considered an all-time classic song of romance, fans of this song may be surprised to know that the mukhDaa is taken directly from a Tagore composition named “ekodaa tumii priye.”

Sunil Dutt serenades Nutan over the telephone with “jalte hai.n jiske liye” in Sujata (1959)

meghaa chhaye aadhii raat (Sharmilee, 1971): Out of all the compositions listed here, the inspiration from Tagore is the most difficult to hear in this song because it does not involve the mukhDaa. Rather, S.D. Burman seems to have inserted a small segment of  laho laho tuule laho (0:26-0:40) into the antara of this raga Patdeep-based classic from Sharmilee. What a trickster, huh?

tere mere milan kii yeh rainaa (Abhimaan, 1973): By far, this is the most famous example where  S.D. Burman has been inspired by Rabindra-sangeet.  In his last hit film score (for which he won his second  Filmfare Award for Best Music Director), S.D. Burman recycles the mukhDaa from Tagore’s Mishra Khamaj-based “jodii taare nai chiinii go sekii?” in this evergreen duet of Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. Burman’s antaras are a beautiful addition to the original composition, so we won’t give him too much trouble for his rehashing of Tagore here. Note that the Bengali original that I have linked to here is sung by Kishore Kumar, another Hindi playback singer who was famous for his renditions of Rabindra-sangeet in Bengal.

Amitabh and Jaya Bacchan sing the duet “tere mere milan kii yeh raina” on stage during the climax of Abhimaan (1973).

Although S.D. Burman was often inspired by Tagore in his compositions, he never recorded or sang a single piece of Rabindra-sangeet throughout his career. The reason behind this is, of course, family feuding–an unavoidable staple of all things related to Indian culture. Here’s the story: S.D Burman’s father Nabadwip Chandra Dev Burman was set to be the direct heir to the throne of Tripura when the current king passed away in 1862. However, the crown went to Nabadwip’s paternal uncle Birchandra Dev Burman due to some dirty palace politics. Because Rabindranath Tagore had a very close relationship with Birchandra Dev Burman, S.D. Burman avoided meeting Tagore throughout his lifetime and refused to perform Rabindra-sangeet out of principle. Nevertheless, in spite of this tiff, it is undeniable that S.D. Burman had a great deal of respect for Tagore as a musician given the influence of Rabindra-sangeet on his compositions.

–Mr. 55