A to Z of Romance in Hindi movies: Via Urdu/ Faarsi lexicon

Aagosh: In embrace. Gode mein. Persian in origin. Not to be confused with khargosh, which the heroine embraces often, symbolizing her higher order (or lower, depending on how you view it) intent whenever she thinks of the hero. Aagosh may lead to loss of hosh, depending on the pliant khargosh, the real one of course.  Because an agosh may lead to the Hindi awesh (passion). A natural outcome.

Bewafaa: Ingrate, typically used for a treacherous lover (mostly a female). As in bewafaa sanam. The characteristic crime of a bewafaa: bewafaai. Not sticking to her (or sometimes his) promise. Ditcher. Sometimes ending in the lament of the hero: “Ham bewafaa hargiz na the….”. Often the victim of the bewafaai feels like a bewaqoof. No correlation but for the prefix “be”. Maybe they are connected. Ask any jilted lover.

Chaman: Garden. A paradise by association. A chaman plays a vital role in the song/ dream sequences. That’s the place where the white/ red/ purple dupatta of the heroine floats in the air in synch with the beats of the song sung by the hero.  And it is the chaman which bears the brunt when things go awry between the lovers. More agonizing when “Baharon ne mera, chaman loot kar…”. Remember this Mukesh song? Chaman never to be confused with Chamanbahar had by the fledgeling smoker keen on eradicating the smell of a smoke before facing his parents.

Deedar: A glimpse, a view, a quick look, a spectacle. Something which either of the couple yearns for. A good deedar may lead to the deed, the consequences of which is obvious to the world after nine months, always. Deedar not to be confused the name of a popular Hindi movie, Deewar. In fact, a deewar (wall) prevents a good deedar. So when no deed, no deed done.

Ehsaas: Feeling. Thought. Often used in contrary contexts of either the presence or absence of one’s object of desire. Like, “tumhai doori ka ehsaas ho raha hai mujhe”, or “mujhey iska hamesha ehsaas hota hai kit um merey paas ho.”  This thought becomes forgotten when married. Then this denigrates to a common expression used by most Indian bahus: “Eh! Saas?” A general term of respect (?) for her m-i-l.

Fursat: Free time, chhutti. Longed for by all lovers so that they can spend time with each other, away from the worldly responsibliies. Like, for example, attending classes in their colleges. Sometimes lamented for by even seniors, like Sanjeev Kumar in Mausam: “Dil dhoodhta hair phir wohi, fursat key raat din”. Not to be confused with furqat which means separation, alienation.

Gham: Regret, sadness. Sometimes the gham would emerge from the aching heart in the form of a song. Gham-e-dastaan, the story of gham. Also immortalized in Kishore Kumar’s song “Dil aaj shayar hai, gham aaj naghma hai.” Much of Dilip Kumar’s life was spent in much gham. He was always ghamgeen in most of his movies, soaked in sorrow and sadness. Till he found for himself, Saira be-gham.

Hasarat: Desire, generally unfulfilled.  As in “hasarat hi rahi, jee bhar key koi, hamein pyaar karta”. Sometimes these hasarats sully one’s clothes which then have to be washed and cleansed of all such blemishes. Like in this Lata mangeshkar song , “Yoon hasaraton key daag…”. A phonetically close cousin which has no resemblance to the meaning of this word is “Hazarat”.

Iqraar: Agreement, pledge, assent. Remember the song, “Pyaar hua iqraar hua…”? This pyaar and iqraar form the first half of the film till a myriad  circumstances sabotage the iqraar just at the interval. And this forms the basis of the second half of the movie. Not to be confused with beqaraar though initial bequaraari forms the basis of the iqraar. Iqraar is the anti-thesis of another commonly used word, inkaar (refusal).

Jaam: A goblet. A wine receptacle. Often the source of solace for the jilted lover. Or even the aspiring one. A jaam is even more intoxicating if served by a saaqi, a female bar-tender. I affirm that this word has not originated from Jamshedpur, I have. And the confluence of jaam and Jamshedpur in me is purely coincidental.

Kuchah: A narrow lane in a residential area. Commonly called a “gulley” in Hindi-speak. The celebrated street in songs sung by the aforementioned jilted lover. Especially when he retreats, rebuffed, from his lover’s house via the (now) excruciatingly constricting lane. Helpfully enough there are kothas next door, in another kucha. And the latter kucha also helpfully has a theka.

Laajawab: Peerless, without an equal. Often used for the girl who is but the face of a full moon (Chaudahwin ka Chand) to the hero though he wonders if it is the full moon he should compare her visage with or just simply call her unmatched (lajawaab).

Mehboob: The lover, the subject of one’s desire.  Gender neutral. Though for a female mehboob there is a specific word: Mehbooba. The subject of many-a-song; “Mere mehboob tujhey, meri  mohabbat ki kasam”, “Mere mehboob kayamat hogi”, “Mehboob merey, mehboob merey” etc . Never to be confused with mehfooz which means protected. A mehboob was always vulnerable, and lost his/her status when he/ she became mehfooz. Certainly not to be confused with the film director Mehoboob the maker of the iconic Mother India among other classics. Mehboob incidentally popularized many of the words mentioned in this post.

Nukta-cheen: Remember the classic Ghalib sher, “Nukta-Cheen hai ghame-dil…”.  The bruised heart (ghame-dil) which picks on petty  faults (nukta-cheen). That is what an aggrieved heart does. This word is the confluence of two potent Urdu words, “nukta” and “cheen“. I do not know what the latter means, but nukta means a dot, a bindu, an anuswaar (in chaste Hindi). Nukta is a magical entity; as in the Urdu saying “Nuktey key her-pher sey khuda zuda ho gayaa.”  The Khuda, (Lord,  Bhagwan) vanishes with the transposition of even something as insignificant as a dot. For more information on this, refer to my earlier post on how I learnt (some) Urdu.

O: Often a plaintive cry used as precursor to something more substantive. Like “O sajana, barkha bahaar aayi”, “O merey dil key chain”. Always a great entry into a duet filmed in mountainous terrain.  The echo of the “O” rebounding multiple times from the mountains has its own melodic throb. Like Mukesh’ number “Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen” from Madhumati. “Ho, o, o..Ho, O, O, O, O, O“!!

Paighaam:  A message, a letter, or a proposal of marriage from the prospective groom’s family. This is also the vehicle of all communication between separated lovers in the era before yahoo messenger and sundry email  facilities. Often delivered by the trusted maid servant of the woman. Who goes to the guy with the handwritten (and much perfumed) chitthi and says: “Mohtarama ney aapkey naam yeh paighaam bheja hai.”

Qasoor:  Fault. Common usage: “Yeh mera qasoor hai ki mainey tumsey pyaar kiya.” This could be the height of romanticism or the depth of regretfulness depending on how this dialogue was delivered. Often times the qasoor lay with the girl’s eyes. “Qasoor teri nazron ka tha, isliye mein deewana hua”.  Sometimes the confused protagonist would not know what his/her qasoor was and even ask the ever present nightly companion, the moon; “Ei raat key musaafir, chanda zara bata dey, mera qasoor kya hai, yeh faisalaa sunaa dey.

Ruswaai: Insult, ignominy. Suffered equally by the guy and the girl at various points in a three- hour movie.

Shab/ shab bakhair: Shab is night, the precursor to Hindi subah. As the Gangster croons in a recent eponymous film: “Tu he meri shab hai subah hai…..”  Much exciting things happened during shab times, which were later regretted in subah time. Shab bakhair means good night. Made famous by the Kashmir Ki Kali song, “Mere yaar, shab bakhair.”

Tanhaai:  Loneliness. Much felt by the besotted lovers separated by the “zaalim zamaana”. As an antidote to which the man would retreat into the clutches of a tawaaif. Clutching a jaam in his hand.  Emperor Akbar had a different way of achieving his tanhaai, he would invoke it by saying takhliyat. His need for tanhaai were also romantic, though for different reasons. He needed space and peace to dwell on his son’s romantic transgressions.

Ulfat:  Love, affection, romance. Famously used by Kishore Kumar in his song where he exhorts lovers to break the shackles of society’s norms. “Ulfat mein zamaane ki, har rasm to thukrao”. Through the length of a typical movie ulfat alternates with nafrat and of course in the end all is well.

Vaada:  Promise, commitment. Subject of many an endearing discussion between lovers. One promising a never-dying relationship and the other questioning whether he/ she would ever break it. Also the theme for millions of songs. Ranging from making a vaada to a request not to break vaada. “Vaada karo jaanma, na chhodogo yeh daaman” to “Vaada na tod, vaada na tod

Wafaa: Loyalty. By extension, monogamy. Subject of Mahendra Kapoor’s / Lata’s  plaintive lament from Dhool ka Phool: “Wafaa kar rahein hain, wafa karney waaley”.  Wafaa as we know pays dividends, bewafaai, does not. Period.  Another common film usage of this term- though not in the same vein- is the ubiquitous Ramu Kaka, that dhoti-clad old gentleman, a gamchha slung on his right shoulder, ever waiting to do his master’s bidding. When, in a moment of anger borne out of a misunderstanding, the master sacks him, Ramu Kaka exits tearfully. But not before telling the master that he (R. Kaka) has been a wafaadar sewak and how he wishes the master well.

X: Xcuse me. This one has been elusive. An Urdu word starting with an X.

Yaaddaasht: Memory. Often used in the negative. The white-coated doctor gravely intones to the care-giver about a rescued accident victim, “Yeh apni yaddasht kho baitha hai. Isko ab sirf pyaar ka marham hi bacha sakta hai”. He need not have worried, the caregiver is often a nubile young woman with a generous tube of the aforementioned “love” ointment. She does all what she can to nurse back the unfortunate accident victim who has providentially showed up at her door-step in this critical time. She not only nurtures him back to health but also sings songs to him as he sleeps. The song, of course, magically features both of them. In the Himalayas, some 1500 miles away from where they actually are.

Zulf:  A strand of hair, mostly a woman’s. Capable of causing multiple events by a mere flick in the air. “Zulf lehrai toh…” etc . Also the causative factor for many a sleepless night for the besotted menfolk. Some menfolk seek shelter under the zulf. Sample Rafi’s classic: “Tumhaari zulf key saaye mein sham kar loonga…”. One of the most lethal anatomical weapons available to the heroine. Zulf is always silken, (“Yeh reshmi zulfein, yeh sharbati ankhein”) and also cause climatic changes (“Zulf lehrayee toh saawan ka mahina aa gaya”).

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7 Responses to A to Z of Romance in Hindi movies: Via Urdu/ Faarsi lexicon

  1. Sharad says:

    Good to read A to Z romance of Bollywood Hindi On Hindi Diwas. Kuchah and Nuqta-cheen has been a addition to my knowledge after reading this.

  2. Very good.One thing I must add that Nuqta- cheen is in fact Nukta- cheen as Q is added to denote Badi Qaaf but in Nukta it is Chchoti Kaaf, hence the suggestion.

  3. Very good article and a collection material.

  4. Naveen says:

    wallah, kya khoob farmaya hai janab-e-ala ne ! yeh nacheez toh kaayal hain huzoore-wala ke iss “fun” ke . .

  5. sundarhindi says:

    LOL.. nice list..”O” is too good.. i liked Z, S, U.. I have two more relevant words, you can add them if you want.. “Nigahein”, “Fanaa”, “Kashish”
    Nukta-cheen means Discrepancies..

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