Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tujhse naaraaz nahin zindagi (Masoom)

It feels stupid trying to translate one of Gulzar's most iconic and widely loved songs (It got him one of his 10 Filmfare awards for best lyricist (in 1984)). But stupidity is nothing new to me, so here it goes!

The stage is set thus:
Indu (Shabana Azmi) and DK (Naseeruddin Shah) are happily married, with two daughters. The unexpected and unwelcome arrival of Rahul (the love child of DK) in the family shakes the very foundation of their lives. At different points of time in the movie, this song expresses the unspoken feelings of both the protagonists.

But more than that, it speaks for all of us ... of how life keeps throwing surprises our way, much to our bafflement and annoyance. Yet how important these roadblocks are, to maintain the delicate balances in  our lives - of smiles and tears, and of sun and shade.

Lyrics, and Translation:
Tujhse naaraaz nahin, Zindagi! hairan hoon main 
Hairaan hoon main
Tere masoom Sawaalon se, pareshaan hoon main
Pareshaan hoon main

[[Dear Life! I'm not mad at you, just a little weary ...
Stumped by the seemingly innocent questions you keep throwing at me*]]

Jeene ke liye socha hi nahin, dard sambhaalne honge
Muskuraayein to, muskuraane ke karz utaarne honge
Muskuraaun kabhi to lagta hai, 
Jaise hothon pe karz rakha hai
(Tujhse naaraaz nahin...)

[[Somehow I never thought, that I'll have to handle pains in order to live happily
Never realized that I'll have to pay a debt for each smile 
Now every time I smile, 
I am reminded of the debt that's weighing on my lips]]

Zindagi tere gham ne humein, rishte naye samjhaaye
Mile to humein, dhoop mein mile, chaaon ke thande saaye
(Tujhse naaraaz nahin...)

[[Dear Life! But it's not as if these pains are without purpose... because each pain makes me aware of things I never noticed before...
It is only in the scorching heat that we come to know of the relief a cool shade brings**]]

Aaj agar bhar aayin hain, boonde baras jaayengi
Kal kya pata, inke liye aankhein taras jaayengi
Jaane kahan ghum hua, kahan khoya
Ek aansoo chhupa ke rakha tha
(Tujhse naaraaz nahin...)

[[So today, if my eyes well up, I'll cry as long as I want to
Because who knows, tomorrow I may long for these very tears
And then, where will I look for this lone tear drop,
That I had hidden away for so long?]]

My two three cents:
* Earlier I thought the song was addressed not to "life", but to Rahul (Jugal Hansraj). Because just before the song, he asks a question that leaves Naseeruddin Shah totally stumped. I interpreted it as "Main hairaan hoon (ki meri) zindagi tujhse naaraaz nahin" = It amazes me that I am not mad at you  (just baffled by your innocent questions). 

** Something very similar to the lines "Mile jo humein dhoop mein mile, chhanv ke thande saaye" can be found in Gulzar's nazm "Chhaanv-Chhaanv" (from Pukhraj):
Ajeeb hai dard aur taskeen ka saanjha rishta
Milegi chhaanv to bas kahin dhoop mein milegi
(Strange is the relationship between pain and content,
The only place you'll ever find shade, is under the harsh sun)

*** In his album "Pancham: Gulzar Remembers RD Burman", Gulzar introduces this song with the following poignant lines:
"Yaad hai Pancham, jab bhi koi dhun bana kar bhejte the, to saath kah diya karte the, “The ball is in your court”... ye kaun sa ball mere court mein chhod gaye ho tum, Pancham! Zindagi ka khel akele nahin khela jaata... Humari to team hai, aa jao ya bula lo."


  1. Great work, man! Keep posting about Gulzar sahab. I really loved your blog. :)

  2. I personally believe that no translation ever can do justice to Gulzar saahab's words. And such translations try to kill the original flavor and taste of the nazm. The multi-layered texture that you find in original nazm gets diluted in the translator's search for appropriate word in the second language. Sorry, but it's entirely my take.

    1. I agree. No translation can ever reach the mood and subtlety of Gulzar's words.

  3. Terrific..! Thanks for the interpretation..! You did really well.. I too translate some of his songs in my blog into Tamil though I dont know Hindi I was amazed by his songs when I came to know the meaning of His great work..!

    1. I don't understand Tamil, else would have loved to read your interpretations:-)

  4. With what a great concept this song is initiated- naraaz nai hairan! Great blog. one small fan from millions of fans of Gulzar. Versatile poet. A Sikh who not only writes in Urdu or Punjabi but can write in every dialect of Hindi. For me best part of his poetry is the words used by him of day to day life of villages and small towns like bhala manda, likhat padhat na raseed na khata, lihaaf, gilaaf, beedi, rukhi, sukhi, sona chandi khota, beswaadi, peepal, peetal etc. At the same time conveys the great thoughts in these so called cheap words.
    Heartiest Thanks for all the interpretations provided in the blog.
    About one year ago, I saw some of his abt 3-4 movies directed by him on youtube, but majority of his movies has some where extra marital affair references. How can this character lessness be justified? This is the only regret I have with my most favorite poet.
    Till then ---Sawan aayega to puchhega.............Na ja re.

    1. Hi Anurag,
      Thanks for your comment :-)
      These words only enhance the beauty of his songs..
      As for extra marital affairs, I think they are a reality of today's world. In any case, not all his movies deal with it

  5. Stumbled across your blog by chance and I'm glad now I did..its always a pleasure meeting and reading other Gulzar fans :) Enjoyed reading the posts, keep posting :)following you on google friend connect.

  6. Brilliant..!! Even I thought that it was directed to the kid by Naseer. Now, it makes more sense..!! :)

    BTW, Waiting for your take on Ishqiyaa..

    1. Will try to do "Dil to bachcha hai ji" soon :)

  7. Hey, hi.. Fortunately from smwere i found ur blog, nd it is the best blog i found.. I always wanted to know the essence of some tough songs, especially of Gulzar coz he only writes in such a deep... Lovd blog.. I wanted this song's interpretation frm long times, even i thought father is referring to son, but by that way it was not looking great song to me.. But now i got..
    plz cover his latest songs too, though i feel now quality decreased...

    1. Thank you :)
      I have covered a lot of his recent songs. In fact if you notice the tags, most of the songs I've tried are from 2000 onwards :)

  8. okay my dimes for your cents. but before that let me go into the rhetoric of telling you I absolutely love this blog...so much so read it intermittently in 2 days flat ...
    okay Masoom has been my favourite since childhood days...long before i could understand the nuances of heart, sex, love and passion. anyways, in the first quarter of the movie, in Naseer's picture perfect life where everything is sweet and cute as a song, there is just one thing that could improve perfection of this paradise. Naseer has a slight yearning for a SON. no not the MCP thing but a son as a reflection of his own self. A yearning/joy reflected in visuals where Jugal copies him shaving and dressing sense. Life does fulfills his wish (with such an adorable beautiful face) but fulfills it in its own twisted, weird way. So Naseer is not angry with life coz his wish did came true but surprised in the mode of delivery...

    1. Yes! I love this little interpretation of yours :)

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  10. When you translate poems from one language to another, it is very hard to reflect the poet’s thoughts in a language that may not even have a vocabulary to support it. Even the poet himself will find it very hard to do it. To be true, he may not even attempt to do it because it is hard to do justice to a song like this one. Comparison of the original to its translation is not as simple as comparing an apple to another apple.

    Having said that, your translation is the best (that too by a mile) that I could find. Your attempt is the closest to the soul of the song. English vocabulary doesn’t cover the cultural aspect behind the emotions portrayed by Gulzar. The strength of this poem is its ability to resonate the emotions with its readers/listeners in any facet of life. One of the best creations by Gulzar or maybe his best.

    I deeply applaud your effort and please keep it going. Your effort is a bridge for people who has a language handicap.

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  12. Dear kanpuriya, I still didn't understand why gulzar haven't wrote cross line of 2nd para in which it is filled with taar-shehnai in male version & la la la by lata in female version (available only in movie, not in any audio/lp)? Was it deliberately done by gulzar to hav that emptiness feeling/to enhance more of previous lines or he didn't thought anything in that meter at that time?


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