Lyrics Part 1

I have always been intrigued by songs in other languages. When one of my friends translated a Malayalam song (Kerala, India) into Hindi, I realised how much is lost in translation. The film makers had not even made the effort to translate it in the true sense when they dubbed into Hindi. They just used whatever would conveniently fit the new tune. Even though what I am going to write further is unrelated, this was something that inspired me to begin a new series: to translate Hindi songs into English and to see what I can make of them. It’s more of an exercise for myself.

(P.S.: the Malayalam song that my friend translated was “Dil hai chhota sa”, I don’t remember the Malayalam version now, but it sure was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard)

The song that I chose for part 1 was “Monta Re” from Lootera. Even though the song is a mix of Hindi and Bengali, it’s mostly Hindi. So here it goes…

Kaagaz ke do pankh le kar, udda chala jaaye re…

Jahan nahi jaana tha ye wahin chala haay re…

Umar ka ye taana baana…

Samajh na paaye re…

Zubaan pe jo moh maaya…

Namak lagaaye re…

Ke dekhe na bhaale na jaane na daayre…

Disha Hara kyamun boka…ย Monta re…

Translation:

It flew away with two wings made of paper…

It went away where it wasn’t supposed to go…

Neither does it understand the norms of age…

Nor does it get attracted to the worldly pleasures…

which leave a lingering taste on its tongue…

It is directionless, it doesn’t look, it doesn’t understand… My crazy, silly, mad, Heart

I just realised everything got lost in translation. It can never live up to its true essence. Nevertheless listen to the song because the music is beautiful! I guess this series will have to end here itself. ๐Ÿ˜›

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3 comments

  1. I think the key to a good translation is preserving the intent. Metaphors work differently in different languages, so do meter, rhyme and structure. But they are all only bound by the intent. So as long as you preserve the “feel”, you can play around with the “look”.
    Here’s my attempt at translating the same lines:

    On wings of paper frail,
    Flying mighty high
    Over unchartered waters. A trail
    It leaves behind, and why!

    Why doesn’t it understand
    The vagaries of youth?
    While attachment snubs and
    Rubs salt on open wounds.

    And it flies uncaring, unseeing,
    Directionless, unhearing,
    Ripping my world apart –
    My crazy, silly, mad, Heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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