Chaudavin Ka Chand Ho Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

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Guru Dutt compares the beauty of his beloved Waheeda Rehman to the full moon of the night sky in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960).

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to the title track from Mohammed Sadiq’s Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960).  After Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1959) proved to be a box office disaster, Chaudavin Ka Chand salvaged Guru Dutt’s production studio by garnering  widespread commercial success at the time of its release. Reflecting on the failure of Kaaghaz Ke Phool and the success of Chaudavin Ka Chand, Guru Dutt said,

 “Life me.n, yaar, kyaa hai? Do hii to chiize.n hai.n: –kamiyaabii aur failure. There is nothing in between.”

Although the success of Chaudavin Ka Chand as a comeback film for Guru Dutt Productions can be attributed to number of factors, one of the most important is the film’s outstanding musical score. Composed by Ravi and penned by Shakeel Badayuni, this soundtrack is full of memorable gems like the sassy Asha-Shamshad qawwali sharmaa ke ye kyo.n sab pardaanashii.n and the pain-filled badle badle mere sarkaar (Lata Mangeshkar’s only foray into singing for Guru Dutt Films!).

Among these gems, the film’s title track chaudavii.n ka chaa.nd ho steals the show as one of the most beautiful expressions of love in Hindi film music. Tuned to Raga Pahadi, Shakeel Badayuni’s Filmfare Award winning Urdu poetry abounds with metaphors to describe the film’s heroine Waheeda Rehman. Reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), the the poet employs natural imagery to characterize his beloved’s beauty through references to the full moon (chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd), the sun (aftaab), a lotus (ka.nval), wine (sharaab), and more. Ultimately, the poet concludes that his beloved is so beautiful that her beauty is beyond comparison to any object (jo bhii ho tum khudaa kii qasam laajavaab ho).

No discussion about chaudavii.n ka chaa.nd ho can be complete without giving credit to Mohammed Rafi for his magical rendition. Here, Rafi offers a technically brilliant performance but it is the warmth, passion, and soul in his voice that renders this song a timeless masterpiece. About fifteen years following his Bollywood debut, Rafi received his first well-deserved Filmfare Award for this song in 1961.

Did you know that the Censor Board objected to chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho when Guru Dutt re-released a version of the song shot in color? As the color version was being filmed, Waheeda Rehman’s eyes became irritated from the heat of the high-powered lights used during the shoot. Upon seeing the red color of the heroine’s eyes, the Censor Board claimed that the colored picturization of the song contained suggestive and lustful implications inappropriate for audiences. What a bizarre and unfair objection placed on such an innocently romantic song! Don’t let it stop your from enjoying this classic gem along with our lyrics and translation below. Until next time…

-Mr. 55
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Sleeping in a white dress, Waheeda Rehman’s angelic beauty shines in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960).

Chaudavin Ka Chand Ho: Lyrics and Translation

chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho yaa aftaab ho?
Are you the full moon of the night or the sun of the day? 
jo bhii ho tum khudaa kii qasam laajavaab ho

Whatever you are, I swear by the Lord that you are incomparable.

zulfe.n hai.n jaise kaandho.n pe baadal jhuke hue
Your tresses are like dark clouds sloping down your shoulders.
aa.nkhe.n hai.n jaise mai ke pyaale bhare hue
Your beautiful eyes are like wine-filled goblets.
mastii hai jis me.n pyaar kii tum vah sharaab ho
You are the wine that abounds with the intoxication of love.

chaharaa hai jaise jhiil me.n ha.nstaa huaa ka.nval
Is your face like a smiling lotus in the brook,
yaa zindagii ke saaz pe chheDii huii ghazal?
or like an ode tuned to the music of life?
jaan-e-bahaar tum kisii shaayar kaa khvaab ho
My beloved, you are a poet’s dream.

ho.nTho.n pe kheltii hai.n tabassum kii bijliyaa.n
The current of your bright smile runs through your beautiful lips.
sajde tumhaarii raah me.n kartii hai kahkashaa.n
Even galaxies lay prostrate with reverence in your path.
duniyaa-e-husn-o-ishq kaa tum hii shabaab ho
 Only your youthful splendor shines in this world of love and beauty.

chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd ho yaa aftaab ho?
Are you the full moon of the night or the sun of the day?

Glossary

chaudavii.n kaa chaa.nd: moon of the fourteenth night, full moon; aftaab: sun; laajavaab: incomparable; kaandhaa: shoulder; mai: wine; pyaalaa: goblet; mastii: intoxication; sharaab: wine, alcohol; jhiil: brook; ka.nval: lotus; saaz: musical instrument; ghazal: song, ode; jaan-e-bahaar: beloved; shaayar: poet; khvaab: dream; tabassum: smile; bijlii: current; sajde karnaa: to lay prostrate; kahkashaa.n: galaxy; duniyaa-e-husn-o-ishq: world of love and beauty; shabaab: youth.

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Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman’s on-screen chemistry in Chaudavin Ka Chand (1960) reflected their passionate off-screen affair.
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In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rekha gives a career-defining performance as a courtesan and poetess in Umrao Jaan (1981)

I recently rewatched Muzaffar Ali’s masterpiece Umrao Jaan (1981), a film that is so brilliantly crafted that it deserves multiple posts on this blog like Pakeezah and Mughal-e-AzamThe film is based on an Urdu novel written by Mirza Muhammad Hadi Ruswa that recounts the life of one of South Asia’s most influential literary figures: Umrao Jaan. Born in Faizabad, a young girl named Amiran is kidnapped and sold to a brothel in Lucknow. As she grows older, Amiran is grooomed by the brothel’s madam until she becomes Umrao Jaan (played by Rekha), one of Lucknow’s most desirable courtesans.  Misfortune after misfortune falls upon Umrao Jaan, but the film ultimately portrays her as a resilient woman whose beautiful mujras and poetry serve as a lasting legacy to her indomitable spirit.

In addition to Rekha’s stunning performance as the tawaif Umrao Jaan, this film is especially memorable for its portrayal of the richness of Lucknow’s cultural heritage. The indulgent life of nawaabs around the turn of 20th century is visually apparent in the film’s costumes, artwork, and set design, but the luxurious atmosphere in the film is taken to a new level by the soundtrack composed by Khayyam and penned by Shahryar. Here, I’ve chosen to translate one of the unforgettable mujra numbers from this film: in aa.nkho.n kii mastii.

She’s not lying when she says her eyes are intoxicating…

In this song, Umrao Jaan engages in some self-indulgent vanity. She mildly chides her lover Nawab Sultan (played by Farooq Shaikh) by saying there are thousands of other madmen in Lucknow that admire her charm and beauty. In the third verse, she continues to brag by saying that all the taverns in the world cannot serve wine as intoxicating as the wine that she serves from her glances. Finally, in the last verse, Umrao makes a warning against those that attempt to suppress her grandeur using a common symbol found in Urdu-Hindi poetry: the moth. Like moths to a flame, she claims that there are thousands of admirers in the city who would sacrifice their lives to protect her. The poetry in this song is not overly complex, but there is a subtle beauty to it that is enhanced by Asha Bhonsle’s beautiful rendition and Rekha’s graceful expressions on screen. I managed to find a very high-quality print of this song on YouTube, so please do watch the link provided above and follow along with the translation/glossary–enjoy!

–Mr. 55

P.S. Whatever you do, please do not waste three hours of your life (like I did) watching J.P. Dutta’s 2006 remake of this movie starring Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bacchan. It is a travesty of a film that completely disrespects the beauty of the original. I think one of the worst parts is the atrocious Urdu pronunciations. I mean, even I can get the guttural khe sound right when I say “khudaa haafiz,” and they don’t pay me the big bucks. Why can’t Aishwarya or Abhishek? And let’s not even get started on Anu Malik’s tired and stale soundtrack…

The camera adds to the meaning of the lyrics here by bringing candles into the shot when Rekha sings “is shamm-e-farozaa.n…

In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke Lyrics and Translation

in aa.nkho.n kii mastii ke mastaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The intoxicating beauty of these eyes attracts thousands of admirers. 
in aa.nkho.n se vaabastaa afsaane hazaaro.n hai.n
Indeed, there are thousands of stories associated with these eyes. 

ek tum hii nahii.n tanhaa ulfat me.n merii rusvaa
You are not the only one disgraced by your love for me, 
is shahar me.n tum jaise diivaane hazaaro.n hai.n
There are thousands of madmen like you in this city.

ek sirf ham hii mai ko aa.nkho.n se pilaate hai.n
It is only I who can serve you wine with my eyes, 
kahne ko to duniyaa me.n maikhaane hazaaro.n hai.n
Though it is said that there are thousands of taverns in this world.

is shamm-e-farozaa.n ko aa.ndhii se Daraate ho
Although you attempt to scare this bright candle with a storm,
is shamm-e-farozaa.n ke parvaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The light from this candle attracts thousands of moths. 

in aa.nkho.n kii mastii ke mastaane hazaaro.n hai.n
The intoxicating beauty of these eyes attracts thousands of admirers. 

Glossary

mastii: intoxication; mastaane: admirers; vaabasta: associated with; ulfat: love; rusvaa: disgraced; mai: wine; maikhaane: taverns; shamm-e-farozaa.n: bright candle; aa.ndhii: storm; parvaane: moths.

Farooq Shaikh, as Nawab Sultan, watches the mujra in admiration.