Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Zeenat aman chura liya hai asha bhonsle
Zeenat Aman opens “Chura Liya Hai” with a perfectly harmonious clanking of bar goblets in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). R.D. Burman achieved this sound by actually clanking a spoon against a glass!

Today we showcase the lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” from retro classic Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

The robust musical composition of “Chura Liya Hai” is nothing short of genius: its instrumental experimentation and rich layers of orchestral nuance are what made R.D. Burman such a radical revolutionary in the industry. But first we must start by discussing the comical opening sequence of Zeenat Aman fake guitaring. I’m sorry, but this can’t be ignored, nor can anyone’s feelings about it be overstated.

Have you ever seen someone play the guitar, Zeenat? Does the timing of when you pluck strings and when the guitar emits sound make sense to you? Or were you rushing through the scene because Elvis was calling and wanted his white jumpsuit back?

Zeenat Aman pretending to play guitar in Yaadon ki Baraat
Abandoning all pretense, Zeenat Aman gives her guitar a hug in Yaadon ki Baraat (1973).

I’ll move on. Director Nasir Hussein’s hit film Yaadon Ki Baraat plays upon the classic Hindi film trope of three-brothers-separated-in-childhood who reunite as adults and serve up some nice cold justice on a platter. I’m waiting for someone to remix this as a sister story with a welcome whiff of feminism, but it’s fine. While I would argue Waqt and Amar, Akbar, Anthony made far more note-worthy contributions to cinema, Yaadon Ki Baraat was a formulaic commercial success despite the gauche performance by its leading man Vijay Arora. And yes, I have strong feelings about those protruding ruffles on his tuxedo shirt, but I’ll spare you.

Vijay Arora in Chura liya hai.png
Vijay Arora casually throws the guitar he does not know how to hold over his shoulder in “Chura Liya Hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). In doing so, Zeenat realizes she has found someone who truly understands her.

Vijay Arora plays one of the three brothers who falls for the wealthy daughter of his adoptive father’s employer (played by Zeenat Aman). With vocals that have reached peak Rafi perfection (just years before his voice took a turn for the husky), Vijay easily lands the girl by transforming “Chura Liya Hai” into a flirtatious duet when he pipes up mid-way through the number.

We hope you enjoy our lyrics and English translation to “Chura Liya Hai” below! God bless you, Majrooh Sultanpuri. Punjabi words like lahuu never make it to mainstream Bollywood songs.

Chura Liya Hai Lyrics & English Translation:

ASHA: Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Bahar banke aauu.N kabhii tumhaarii duniyaa mei.N
I will become the Spring and enter your world
Guzar na jaaye yeh din kahii.N issii tamannaa mei.N
Let my days not disappear with this desire
Tum mere ho, ho! tum mere ho, aaj tum itnaa waadaa karte jaanaa
You are mine, oh! You are mine, today you can only leave if you promise me this

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

RAFI: Ho! sajaau.Ngaa luT kar bhi tere badan ki Daali ko
Oh! I would destroy myself to decorate the branches of your body
Lahuu jigar ka duu.Ngaa hasii.N labo.N ki laalii ko
I will give the blood from my heart for the rouge of your lips
Hai wafaa kyaa is jahaa.N ko, ek din dikhlaa duu.Ngaa mai.N diiwaanaa
One day, this crazy man will show the world what a true promise is

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Badal ke merii tum zindagaanii
Even as you change my life
Kahii.N badal na jaanaa, sanam
Do not go and change yourself, my beloved

Ho! le liyaa dil, oh! Haaye meraa dil!
Oh you have taken my heart! Oh, sigh, my heart!
Haaye, dil lekar mujhko na behlaanaa
Sigh, as you take my heart, do attempt to pacify me

Churaa liyaa hai tumne jo dil ko
If you steal my heart
Nazar nahii.N churaanaa, sanam
Do not steal your gaze away from me, my beloved
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm
Hmmm hmmm hmmmm

Glossary:

churaanaa: to steal; dil: heart; nazar: gaze; sanam: beloved; badalnaa: to change; zindagaanii: life; behlaanaa: to pacify; Bahaar: Spring; duniyaa: world; guzaar jaanaa: to pass; tamannaa: desire; waadaa: promise; sajaanaa: to decorate; luT: ruin, destruction; badan: body; Daalii: branch; lahuu: blood [Panjabi]; jigar: liver/heart; hasii.N: beautiful; lab: lips; laalii: redness; jahaa.N: world; din: day; dikhlaanaa: to show; diiwaanaa: crazy (in love), a la Beyonce

Vijay Arora and Zeenat Aman in Yaadon Ki Baarat.png
Zeenat Aman and Vijay Arora  act all like they didn’t notice the other one is singing straight at them in “Chura Liya hai” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).

You guys might recall that album “You’ve Stolen My Heart” by the Kronos Quartet and Asha Bhonsle in 2005. It features this song…and let’s just say, my heart didn’t get stolen. To me, this song could not be improved upon–and I rarely ever question the absolute sublimity of a Rafi-Lata duet. Here, I have come to appreciate what Asha uniquely brings to this song–a kind of vivacity and playfulness that Lata would have done very differently–and I wouldn’t change it even if I could!

-Mrs. 55

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Plagiarism in Hindi Film Music: Is Imitation the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

Music directors in the Bollywood industry today are often accused of plagiarizing songs without giving proper credit to the original sources. Pritam Chakraborty, in particular, comes to mind as a composer who has been subjected to such accusations in recent times. Yet, lifting tunes is not a new trend in the industry: its origins can be  traced back to the industry’s earliest days when music directors of the Golden Era composed melodies heavily inspired by unattributed sources. Below, let’s take a listen to some plagiarized works composed by five of the greatest music directors of yesteryear: R.D. Burman, S.D. Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan, Salil Chowdhury, and O.P. Nayyar.

 R.D. Burman

Among the music directors of his time, R.D. Burman was perhaps the most notorious for composing inspired tunes.  Within the list that I’ve provided below, the magnitude of plagiarism varies from song to song. Some numbers below are direct lifts from their originals, such as the cult classic “mahbuubaa mahbuubaa” from Sholay (1975). Others represent more subtle variations of plagiarism: for instance,  the Kishore Kumar classic “dilbar mere kab tak mujhe” only takes it mukhDaa from “Zigeunerjunge” but has original antaras and interludes.  As a musician, I personally feel that the latter form of lifting is somewhat justifiable because it still reflects a level of creativity and originality on the part of the composer. The direct copying of tunes, however, raises ethical concerns and may have even placed music directors like R.D. Burman in legal trouble had such songs been released today.  Regardless of your opinion on this issue, what is universally striking about the list of songs below is the diversity of sources from which R.D. Burman drew his inspiration.  Collectively, the original melodies come from a smorgasbord of musical genres from all over the world: traditional folk, American pop, Greek, German, French, and even Iranian rock!

aao twist kare.n (Bhoot Bangla, 1965)  / “Let’s Twist Again” (Chubby Checker, 1962)
churaa liyaa hai tum ne  (Yaadon Ki Baraat,  1973) / “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium” (Bojoura, 1969)
teraa mujhse hai pahle kaa naataa koii  (Aa Gale Lag Ja, 1973)/ “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (Traditional)
mahbuubaa, mahbuubaa (Sholay, 1975) / “Say You Love Me” (Demis Roussos, 1974)
mil gayaa ham ko saathii (Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, 1977) / “Mamma Mia” (ABBA, 1975)
jahaa.n terii yah nazar hai (Kaalia, 1981) / “Heleh Maali” (Zia Atabi, 1977)
kaisaa teraa pyaar (Love Story, 1981) / “I Have A Dream” (ABBA, 1979)
dilbar mere kab tak mujhe (Satta Pe Satta, 1982) / “Zigeunerjunge” (Alexandra, 1967)
kahii.n na jaa  (Bade Dilwala, 1983) / “La Vie En Rose” (Edith Piaf, 1955)
tum se milke  (Parinda, 1989) / “When I Need You” (Leo Sayer, 1977)

Zeenat Aman sizzles in “churaa liyaa tum ne” from Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973)

S.D. Burman

Like his son, S.D. Burman has also composed melodies that reflect marked inspiration from foreign sources.  Although we have already investigated the influence of Tagore’s music on S.D. Burman in a previous post, we now observe how his compositions also were inspired by non-Indian genres.  For a composer who was rather traditional in his musical output, who would have imagined that he lifted material from Mexican, Italian, and American country melodies?

chaahe koi khush ho (Taxi Driver, 1954) / “Tarantella” (Traditional)
jiivan ke safar me.n raahii
 
(Munimji, 1955) / “Mexican Hat Dance” (Traditional)
ek laDkii bhiigii bhaagii sii (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) / “Sixteen Tons” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955)
ham the vah thii (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) / “Watermelon Song” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1957)
yah dil na hotaa bechaaraa (Jewel Thief, 1967) / “March” (Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957)
saalaa mai.n to sahab ban gayaa (Sagina, 1974) / “Chella Lla” (Renato Carosone, 1959)

The ever-versatile Kishore Kumar stars in a comic role in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1955)

Shankar-Jaikishan

In my opinion, Shankar-Jakishan were the quintessential music directors of Bollywood’s Golden Age. They combined the authenticity of traditional Indian music with the modern sophistication of Western influences to produce songs that appealed to the masses. It’s not surprising that some of their tunes reflect inspiration from foreign influences, but what is remarkable is that several of the songs listed below are remembered today as some of this duo’s most treasured gems.  Two songs from Chori Chori (1956), two songs from Gumnaam (1965), and the title track of Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) — among many other hits — were heavily inspired by existing Western numbers. I think you’ll be surprised to see some of your favorites on the list below…

ghar aayaa meraa pardesii (Awaara, 1952) / “Al Balad El Mahboub” (Umm Kulthum)
aajaa sanam madhur chaa.ndnii me.n ham (Chori Chori, 1956) / “Tarantella” (Traditional)
panchii banuu.n uDtii phiruu.n (Chori Chori, 1956) / “Coming Through The Rye” (Traditional)
aigo aigo yah kyaa ho gayaa?
(Boyfriend, 1961) / Stupid Cupid” (Connie Francis, 1958)
jiyaa ho jiyaa kuchh bol do  (Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, 1961) / “Broken-Hearted Melody” (Sarah Vaughan, 1959)
sukuu sukuu (Junglee, 1961) / “Sucu Sucu” (Ping Ping, 1961)
dekho ab to kis ko nahii.n hai khabar (Janwar, 1964) / “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles, 1963 )
gumnaam hai koii (Gumnaam, 1965) / “Charade” (Henry Mancini and Orchestra, 1963)
jaane chaman sholaa badan (Gumnaam, 1965) / “Autumn Leaves” (Nat King Cole, 1956)
le jaa le jaa meraa dil (An Evening in Paris, 1967) / “Man of Mystery” (The Shadows, 1960)
kaun hai jo sapno.n me.n aayaa? (Jhuk Gaya Aasman, 1968) / “Marguerita” (Elvis Presley, 1963)

Rajendra Kumar definitely breaks conventions of automobile safety during the picturization of “kaun hai jo sapno.n me.n aayaa?” from Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968).

Salil Chowdhury

Salil Chowdhury’s compositions always reflect an intelligent and sophisticated mastery of music that set him apart from his peers in the industry.  Instead of describing the songs listed here as cases of plagiarism, I would be more likely to categorize them as adaptations. When Salil Chowdhury used another Western melody as an inspiration, he always managed to make it his own by adding something special that would resonate with Indian audiences. Take, for example, the evergreen Talat-Lata duet “itnaa mujhse tu pyaar baDhaa.” Although the mukhDaa is clearly inspired by Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Salil composes new antaras that beautifully complement the original melody.  As another example, consider “bachpan o bachpan” from Memdidi (1961).  Inspired by the children’s rhyme “A Tisket, A Tasket,” Salil takes the melody to a new level of complexity by inserting operatic interludes sung by our beloved diva Lata Mangeshkar.  Bravo!

dharti kahe pukaar ke (Do Bigha Zameen, 1953) / “Meadowlands” (Lev Knipper, 1934)
halke halke chalo saa.nvare (Tangewaali, 1955) / “The Wedding Samba” (Edmund Ros and Orchestra,  1950)
dil taDap taDap ke (Madhumati, 1957) / “Szla Dziewczka” (Traditional)
zindagii hai kyaa, sun merii jaan  (Maya, 1961) / “Theme from Limelight [from 3:27] ” (Charlie Chaplin, 1952)
itnaa na mujhse tu pyaar baDhaa (Chhaya, 1961) / “Molto allegro” from Symphony No. 40 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1788)
bachpan o bachpan (Memdidi, 1961) / A Tisket, A Tasket” (Traditional)
aa.nkho.n me.n tum ho (Half-Ticket, 1962) / “Buttons and Bows” (Dinah Shore, 1948)

Vijayantimala coyly hides behind a tree in the picturization of “dil taDap taDap ke” from Madhumati (1957)

O.P. Nayyar

O.P. Nayyar is known for his characteristically Western-inspired approach to crafting melodies for Hindi films, but his contribution to our list of directly plagiarized songs is relatively small in comparison to some of his peers in the industry. The most well-known example here is, of course,  the Rafi-Geeta duet “yah hai bambaaii merii jaa.n” which has been lifted from its predecessor “My Darling Clementine.”

baabuujii dhiire chalnaa (Aar Paar, 1954) / “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas(Trio Los Panchos, 1947)
yah hai bambaii merii jaa.n (C.I.D., 1955) / “My Darling Clementine” (Traditional)
lakho.n hai.n yahaa.n dilvaale (Kismat, 1968) / Red River Valley” (Traditional)

Biswajeet hams it up for Babita during the picturization of “lakho.n hai.n yahaa.n dilvaale” in Kismat (1968)

What is your opinion on plagiarism in Hindi film music? Was it acceptable for music directors of this time to lift material from Western sources in order to introduce musical diversity to Indian audiences? Or, is it unethical for such plagiarism to occur without giving credit to the original musicians who created the songs in the first place? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to share any examples that go along the theme of this post!

-Mr. 55