There’s this song from the movie Lootera, called Monta Re. For me, it’s one of the best songs out there. The lyrics — part Bengali, part Hindi — are like pearls strung together by nature. And the music is nothing short of etheral.
Here’s the original poem by Amitabh Bhattacharya:
कागज़ के दो पंख लेके, उड़ा चला जाए रे
जहाँ नहीं जाना था ये, वहीँ चला हाय रे
उमर का ये ताना-बाना समझ ना पाए रे
जुबां पे जो मोह-माया, नमक लगाये रे
के देखे ना, भाले ना, जाने ना दायरे
दिशा हारा, कैमोन बोका, मोन्टा रे!
Poetry is often lost in translation. And that’s a shame really, becuase there are so many languages – right here in India – with hoards of rich, beatuful, soulful poetry.
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 song:
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,
Ripping my world apart –
My crazy, silly, mad, Heart.
Here’s a YouTube link for the entire song:
Singers: Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Bhattacharya
Music: Amit Trivedi
Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha
Audio On: T-Series
Originally translated for a comment on Pseudo-randon Musings.