Asha Bhosle Week: Nutan in Nigahein Milane Ko

Part 4 of 5 of Asha Bhosle Week on my blog this week, leading up to her concert on Friday. Today's featured song is an amazing ghazal titled Nigahein Milane Ko from the movie Dil Hi To Hai (1963) starring Nutan, Raj Kapoor, Agha and Nazir Hussain (the uncle of Tahir Hussain, Aamir Khan's father). With music by Roshan and Omi Sonik, and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi. Nutan is absolutely stunning in this song! And the lyrics are fantastic (see below for my attempt at a decent translation).

Translation to accompany video:

It is a secret matter,
Should I speak of it in the mehfil or not? [1]

Someone has resided in [the/my] heart, [2]
Should I speak of it or not?

The soul desires to exchange glances, [3a and 3b]
The soul desires to sacrifice the heart and the life. [4]

That allegation that the world calls love,
The soul desires to accept that allegation. [5]

In someone's consoling [I] acquired that taste,
That the soul desires to be sorrowful again.

That splendor that is hidden and is visible too,
The soul desires to steal that splendor.

The moment my glances were blessed with your sight,
That moment for me became an arrangement of grandeur.
Whenever I saw your moon-like face,
Whether it was Eid or not, it was Eid for me. [6]

That splendor that is hidden and is visible too,
The soul desires to steal that splendor.

ni re ga... re ga

The meeting happened on its own,
Give me a message, because [7]
The soul desires to visit to you in hiding, and [8]
to not leave upon visiting,
the soul so desires, and
to not leave upon visiting,
the soul so desires.

The soul desires to exchange glances [3a and 3b]

Notes to accompany translation above:

[1] A 'mehfil' is a gathering of sorts. The term is usually used in the context of a gathering in a hall/court/ground infused with some form of the arts, e.g. dance, poetry, or speech (almost as a forum that encourages constructive criticism and exchange of information through dialog).

[2] 'Has resided', as opposed to 'resides'. The focus is on the action (the word 'has') of the 'someone' being referred to.

[3a] Think of 'ji' used in this context as a synonym for 'mann'.

[3b] The literal meaning of 'milane' is to mix or match. An alternate translation of this sentence, then, could be 'the heart desires to match gazes' or something on those lines.

[4] 'Lutane' is a tricky word to translate. While 'sacrifice' is a strong word, it is the best I could think of to capture the strength of the statement.

[5] A lawyer might translate this differently. The literal translation of 'woh tohmat uthane' is 'uphold that allegation', but I felt 'accept' was a stronger verb.

[6] 'Eid' marks festive occasions for those who follow the Islamic faith. There are primarily two Eids in a lunar calendar year (both strongly focus on spiritual 'purity'). One follows the fasting month of Ramadan (marking the beginning of the new lunar month), and the other immediately follows the prescribed times for the pilgrimage to Mecca. I think the one being referred to here is the former, given the uncertainty behind the sighting of the moon of the first of the month (as opposed to a few days into the month, at which point the uncertainty is irrelevant).

[7] 'Paighaam' (translated as 'message') usually refers to a letter or message that is transmitted through a third party, i.e. not a direct transaction between giver and receiver, although that could be the case.

[8] i.e. without anyone else's knowledge.

On the translation...please feel free to challenge it. I am merely a student of the languages in question, and if you can add more value to it through your contributions, I highly recommend you do so, for part of what makes this fun is the learning involved.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the translation, very lovely and a bit sassy too. Enjoy the concert tonight. I look forward to reding your reviews of Asha.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Sita-ji. I am absolutely looking forward to tonight (will need to get a head start given the Friday evening traffic) and to sharing my thoughts. Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

beautiful translation, you are the only one who did this. Bravo !

Padma Rao Sundarji said...

Thanks for this translation. Have been looking for one for years !

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Anonymous and Paddy. Glad you enjoyed it. Cheers!