Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marjaani (Billu)

Time for one of the less celebrated Gulzar tracks - Marjaani from Billu Barber, oops "Billu" (since the term 'barber' is apparently offesnsive). 

The song is about a a boy and girl in love, facing opposition from their elders in particular and the world in general. The couple has tried staying away from one another, but it doesn't seem to be working. So they decide to to ask the world to go to hell, and elope. IMO, the song is quite cute!

Without much ado, let's get to the translation :)

Lyrics, and English translation
At times I'll go into the thought behind the lines and then get to the translation part.

Theek hai theek-theek sab kuchh theek hai
Paas hai sab kuchh rab nazdeek hai
Rab ke hazoor mein kasmein bhi kha li
Duniya ki auni-pauni rasmein nibha li

[[Kanu's comments: In India, it's customary to have arranged marriage. In most cases, it is necessary to at least get elders' 'approval' before marrying. To pass this test you have to be good-looking, god-fearing, well-off and a lot of other things.

So the boy is saying "All right, so everything is satisfactory. I am well-off and I believe in God. We took our vows in the presence of God and complied with all sort of stupid worldly rituals."]]

Phir bhi na maane koi to dafa kar
Maane jo maane na maane to bhala kar
Duniya na maane khasmanukhaye
Khasmanukhaye marjaani

[[If they still wouldn't approve of our love, they should leave us alone. If they agree, that is good; and if they don't, that's OK too. Because if the wretched world doesn't approve of us, it can simply go to hell.]]

[Marjaani-marjaani, Marjaani-marjaani
Marjaani-marjaani, o khasmanukhaaye Marjaani]-2

[[To hell with this wretched world!]]

Haaye, khyaal bhi jaane kya-kya sochta rahta haiga
Uff! Ye nochta rahta haiga
Hey! To mud ke dekha na kar, jo sar mein soch aayegi
To paaon mein moch aayegi

[[Now the girl is a bit apprehensive and she keeps thinking of the past, "I just keep thinking of one thing or the other. These thoughts prick me like needles." 
The boy tells her to stop regretting, "Hey, don't look back. Because the more you think of the past, the harder our journey ahead will be."

I absolutely love the "Jo sar mein soch aayegi, to paaon mein moch aayegi" part. It literally translates to "If you think, you'll get a sprain in your foot". Walking with a sprain is very hard. So the boy's asking her to stop thinking of the past if she wants their journey ahead to be smooth.]]

Uth-uth ke raaton mein maine ye paala hai
Andhi jawaani mein, dard ek chhaala hai

[[G: "Night after night, I've stayed awake and nursed this pain. It's like an ulcer that's ruining my youth."]]

Dil tera na rogi baliye, dil tera na jogi baliye
Dil tera sansaari haiga, lage dil ko beimaani

[[B: "Your heart is neither sick, nor is it a monk. It's very much worldly. It hasn't denounced the world. So it's but natural for it to feel bad about the injustice."]]

[Marjaani-marjaani, Marjaani-marjaani
Marjaani-marjaani, o khasmanukhaaye Marjaani]-2

Haan, chalo ab door yahan se pahaadon se bhi aage
Woh, jahaan pe subah jaage
Ho, bade sab kahte hain ye chuno achchhe humsaaye
Samajh ke jo samjhaaye

[[Now the girl is quite convinced that it's the best to just take off to a place where things are not this bad, "Let's go somewhere far away; farther even than the hills - to the place where the morning awakes."

The boy is remembering how everyone kept pestering him about choosing a wise life-partner, "The elders kept asking me to choose a life partner who'd be intelligent enough to understand things I failed to; and in turn made me understand."]]

Ro-ro ke raaton mein aankhein bhi khaali ki
Likh-likh ke taarekhein deewarein kaali ki

[[She is remembering the woeful days when they were apart, "I cried so much that now my eyes are void of tears. I kept writing and crossing out dates till there was no white space left on the walls."]]

Chup kar, chup-chup kar baliye
Bhaag le chhup-chhup kar baliye
Duniya se bhaagein duniya mein, duniya ko hui hairaani

[[B: "Hush, my love (You don't have to worry about all that any more). Let's run away from the world, yet somewhere in the world. This will surely leave the world baffled." 
(Usually when someone's given up on the world they commit suicide. Staying in this world right in front of everyone's eyes will irritate the world no end.)]]

[Marjaani-marjaani, Marjaani-marjaani
Marjaani-marjaani, o khasmanukhaaye Marjaani]-2

My two cents
1. So far as I've understood, the word 'Khasmanukhaye' originally meant a woman who'd eat (bring misfortune to) her husband (khasam). But now it simply mean someone wretched, or someone who brings misfortune.
2. I came across this really cute piece on the internet where a girl explains why Punjabis use so many swear words. In her words, "In punjabi culture (at least what I saw of it) complimenting or gushing over someone was supposed to jinx (nazar lag jaati hai). So they go out of their way to be abusive. I know my friends mom always calls her grandaughter Chudail (witch) and jhalli and she loves her to bits. My grandma would say "Kinni soni lagdi hai marjaani" to me all the time if I dressed up and was looking pretty. It is harmless namecalling and very cute too." (Source)


  1. billu bhayankar post :)
    aur haan "Jo sar mein soch aayegi, to paaon mein moch aayegi" line kaafi sahi hai

  2. @Saras, Bhavesh:
    Thanks for reading and liking the post :)

  3. I never thought the song has that much depth. Thanks for such a knowledgeable translation.
    My mother used to call me marjaana. Pet dearly-abuses(takia kalam) of my grandmother is moya, khasma nu khani, sarmunni, dur fitte munh etc. Our Social Science teacher in school was also punjabi and used to call girls sarmunni (girl with hair cut) and khasma nu khani.
    Can you suggest any poem written by Gulzar on berozgaari, unemployment.
    Thaks again Kanupriya

    1. there is a song in mere apne called Haal Chaal Theek thaak hai..
      old song.. more of a political satire on unemployment..

    2. Correct. I listen that song everyday

    3. Anon has already pointed out the legendary Mere Apne song :) I'll see if I can find some poems on the subject as well ...
      I recall something (sort of a diary of a majdoor in Mumbai)... not about unemployment as such, but a good read.


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