Learn Hindi From Film Songs!!!!

This is inspired by Alisa, our new commentator who is trying to get a handle on the films.  And also likes Aamir, thus the orgy of Aamir at the end this.  It’s half tongue in cheek, just an excuse for fun songs, but also serious, these songs will really give you a leg up on some common words.

“a”=male noun ending, “i”= female noun ending.  Thus “ladka” and “ladki”


“Tu”=informal you, used for children, close friends, etc. etc. “Meri/e”=Mine.  “Main”= I. “Teri/e”=Yours  Hai=am/are/is (also variations like “hoon” pop up sometimes)


Hindi numbers: 1=Ek, 2=Do, 3=Teen, 4=Char, 5=Paanch, 6=Cheh, 7=Saat, 8=Aath, 9=Nao, 10=Dus


Dus=10, one more time!


Pyaar=general love for a child or a spouse or a parent, Ishq=sexy love, Mohabbat=poetic passionate love.  Aur=And


Dil=Heart; Deewana=Crazy; Pagal=also crazy


Dekho=Look; Na=Not/No






Nasha=Drunkiness/intoxication.  Pehle=first


Hum=Me/us; tum=you; Akele=only/single/lonely


Des=Land; Desi=People of the land; Pardes=foreign; Pardesi=Foreigner; Jaana=go/travel; Nahin= No/Not


Grand finale!!!! Stupidest song ever, but by golly you will remember what “Ishq” means after this.

58 thoughts on “Learn Hindi From Film Songs!!!!

  1. I was just taking a break from ogling shirtless Aamir in Lagaan and saw this post and now I’m dying. Thank you!!

    Related: In the scene where the British asswipe provokes Aamir into accepting the cricket challenge, he repeatedly uses the word “tum” and it dawned on me that it was analogous to the Spanish tu and meant to be insulting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly!!!!! “Aap” is the formal, you will hear it said to elders or social superiors, or a wife to a husband. But not used much in songs, I think just because “aap” is a lot harder to sing and rhyme than “tu”. It’s also kind of old-fashioned, my impression is that most young people switch to using “tu” pretty quickly, kind of like going by first names instead of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” in American culture. Past a certain generation, the formality just starts to get left behind.


      • Yeah, there’s a formal greeting and informal greeting in Telugu as well. I usually use the “aap” when I’m talking people I’m meeting for the first time or relatives that I’m not very close to. But I just use “tu” for older relatives if I’m really close to them. For example, I use “tu” while addressing my mom’s parents since I’m really close to them and we crack jokes and stuff. But I usually end up using “aap” when talking to my dad’s parents because my relationship with them is more formal.

        Liked by 1 person

        • German, my family’s language, also has formal and informal. We haven’t spoken it fluently in generations, but there is a family story from about a 100 years ago, my great great-grandfather I think, who was trying to speak German in order to impress the minister when he visited their house (even though they were already mostly English speakers, they went to a German language church) and accidentally used the informal “you”. And I know this story because his wife brought it up until the day he died (which tells you something about my great great grandmother).

          On Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 11:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • There are actually three levels of formality – Aap, tum and tu.

        Aap as you correctly said, you use respectfully. Elders, husband, bosses and colleagues, strangers and even children if you’re refined. The refined crowd uses “hum” (we/us) for “main” as well.

        Tum is the formal informal address (if that makes any sense). Like if I were to address a classmate or a male friend who I’m not on the tu level with, I’d use tum with them. Again, it’s a refined level. You can use tum for your elder relatives and partner and parents if that’s what goes in your family.

        Tu is the extremely informal and familiar one. Also derogatory or sufi depending on context. It’s a punjabi word. Urban Hindi heartland plus rajasthan do not have a native tu. Punjab, himachal, haryana and western UP have a native tu in their language and the tu is native to marathi too.

        So it’s tu/tere (you, yours) in the punjabi lingo and always tum-tumhare (you, yours) in the Hindi proper/urdu lingo.

        Think of the three levels as embodied by people-

        Javed and Shabana as the Aap level
        Deepti Naval and Farukh Sheikh as the tum level
        Kunal Khemu and Riteish Deshmukh as the tu level.


        • And Amitabh would be “don’t address him directly ever because you are too far below his notice to ever deserve acknowledgement”?

          On Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 11:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Not exactly. He got named in both the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers and he’s been a part of some rather shameless propaganda for both Modi as well the SP.

            He’s a legend but not untouchable. He’s in the aap level and he’ll keep you in the aap level and you’ have to be pretty special for him to address you with the tum level!


          • My plan, if/when I meet Amitabh, is just to ask about the grandkids. Because I have never gone wrong with that with any grandfather I have met. Photos, cute stories, I will pay attention to it all and win his heart in no time. And I’ll also complement his father’s poetry.

            On Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 9:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • See, you’re a celebrity in your own right already and if i were writing this story, I’d have your YouTube channel and this blog turn into a major promotional stop for all Indian films. So when you meet AB, it would be over a half hour interview where you get to ask him questions no one ever does.


  2. More posts like this!! These songs, and looking up their lyrics over the last few years have been how I’ve learned some Hindi words. Yaar is one I love to see how it gets translated in subtitles. I’ve seen everything from ‘dude’ to ‘bro’!

    Bhai is another one that has a meaning depending on context. And woe to the young lover who is called bhai!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yaar literally translates to dost. Or more than friends in romantic context. It’s such a beautiful word.

      And there are two variations of bhai

      One is “bhai” (bhaa’yee) which is straight up “brother” and the other is “bha’yi” which is an emphasis word (it is also written as “bhai” though).

      The second bhai (bhayi) you’d find in any rajshri film or group/family setting in a film. I know kajol has a lot of dialogues with the emphasis adding bhayi (bhayi hum toh kehte hain ki…)

      It is also used in the phrase “haan, bhayi haan” (yes, indeed) Bhayi actually loosely translates as “indeed”


  3. I find it funny and ironic that AUR is pronounced OR but means AND.

    Bunty aur bubli
    Sounds like
    Bunty OR Bubli
    But means
    Bunty AND Bubli

    Here’s a word that I learned from Hindi film, because every Hindi film has this word somewhere in it, bar none –

    Zindagi = life

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zindagi and Hamesha were two I considered and rejected for this post! Maybe for the sequel, once I get into fancy vocabulary instead of just “tu” and “main”.

      On Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 12:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  4. I would love to see a post like this but with malayalam 🙂 I know I will never be able to talk, because it’s too difficult, but I’m so in love with this language that I started watching malayalam cartoons for children on youtube.


  5. Trivia time! The first Hindi word I looked up was khushbu (fragrance), because I heard it in two songs from different SRK films. The first was from Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Saans), and the second was ______. Any guesses?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One more thing to thank Shahrukh for.Hindi ceased being a nuisance and my marks started improving thanks to him. I spent a lot of time looking up the words of his songs on my trusty dictionary.But unfortunately there was never any occasion for using Baazigar or Deewana- not even in essays.Instead of those dry boring lessons,we really should have had dialogues from Hindi movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was super excited the first time I actually heard someone using “shaadi” “sharam” and “izzat” in a real life conversation I was overhearing at a store. Didn’t get to hear the rest of the conversation, unfortunately, so don’t know if they also dropped in “zindagi” and ‘khoobsurat”.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t stop laughing at all these noobies trying to learn Hindi from songs. No offense to any of you, because I learn Tamil the same way.
    For anyone trying to learn Indian language, learn Sanskrit, and you get almost all Indian languages and their etymology very easily, because most of the words share same root.

    My favourite word from Hindi is Madhuhoshiyan. I don’t know why but I just like the word. Someone try to find its meaning, as challenge, and one song in which it is used.
    Hint : It starts with Jadu.


    • The trouble with learning Sanskrit in order to understand Hindi is that so much of the Hindi film language is actually Urdu. 🙂 I had to learn a lot of Urdu vocabulary just so I could understand common Hindi dialogues. I almost never understand the songs (without subtitles) because they have a very high percentage of Urdu words. Now the one time I could actually understand the songs, and thought the lyrics were very beautiful (in London Dreams), everybody else in the audience were complaining that they couldn’t understand the lyrics! And so it goes. But certainly learning some Sanskrit words puts you ahead in understanding many Indian languages, though not all, and then too, only if they are using language of a certain caliber. This doesn’t apply to Malayalam, which uses what are considered high-falutin’ Sanskrit words in other languages as everyday vocabulary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is not just Malayalam, but Telugu and Kannada, and Marathi too to some extent share same sanskrit Roots. There was nothing called Urdu earlier. It was a synthesis of persian (which was court language of mughals) and hindi – the local language.
        Since I learned Hindi as a third second language I have extreme difficulty in understand movies like Jodha Akbbar. Even I use subtitles 😦
        My first language was Telugu, second was Sanskrit, third was Hindi and learnt English as a compulsary language. After learning these many languages, I think I am not at all interested in learning Urdu. Unlike many readers here, I don’t get to see Hindi movies in subtitles. I went to watch a movie that had so much Urdu, I walked out of theatre just before intermission. So, I don’t watch Hindi movies a lot in theatres. 😦
        These days I am more acquainted with english than with Hindi, precisely because of Urdu factor. Where I stay viz. Hyderabad, Urdu is predominant and Hindi is raped (for the lack of better word) all over repeatedly to produce the Khichdi of Urdu-Hindi-Telugu, so much so that I forget whatever little Hindi I learnt in school. 😀


        • As you say, it is very different needs when you are coming from knowing nothing and just want to be better able to understand the films, even with subtitles. The English subtitles generally convey the sense of what is said, but miss the shadings, the difference between “Pyar” and “Ishq”, for instance or the difference between formal and informal “you”. So what I have found helpful, and it sounds like other people who are coming at the language purely in terms of film viewing have also found helpful, is to learn a few of those words that cannot be accurately translated in subtitles, or just the most common words, just to kind of ground us in the dialogue as it flows past.

          Most of the time, those words are in fact useless for “real life”! It’s not going to help you talk to a Hindi speaker if you know “zindagi” or “khushboo”. But it is very very helpful when trying to follow rapid dialogue through not-very-good subtitles. Heck, if nothing else it helps you realize when the subtitles have gone off by a few seconds and no longer match the dialogue.

          On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 10:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Trust me Margaret, though they all are different (the words i mean), they don’t really make a difference – to me atleast. I think a large part of movie watching experience is being able to relate to and interpret the situations and characters created. The stronger the character, the better we are involved. Given this, i think you shouldn’t worry too much about such subtleties. Unless of course if you insist on poetic precision on every dialogue.

            Relating to and understanding words largely depends on culture and familiarity. Someone like you might find it easy to differentiate between when you you love a girl and you love your mother, in Indian context. But, Love is a big thing in the west.

            People hesitate to say L word for various fears and stuff. But they say ‘like’ very easily. But it’s quite opposite in India. Indian conception of love is differently defined. If you notice, they say “Love” word easily , but the other L word very sparingly.
            I think it is these little differences that count and are lost in translation. Margaret, you are a prodigy in knowing this, so you don’t need to worry about anything else.

            P.s. Culture and context matters for translation not details.


        • This is fascinating. Thanks for sharing! I wish I knew more languages. My primary language is English. I grew up speaking Spanish as well but my older relatives passed away and now we are an English only family so my spoken Spanish is terrible (though I understand it okay). My son’s babysitter speaks Spanish to me and I answer her in English. It’s all really interesting to me how being multilingual is in fact super complicated (which is why I appreciated your comments on struggling with Hindi and Urdu).

          To put all this in a movie context, it’s driving me a little crazy to enjoy these films but not understand the language, so even knowing a few words would help.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Just to give you some movie background, Bombay (the city where most Hindi films are made) is within a Marathi speaking area. But there is a large immigrant population that also speaks Gujurati and Punjabi. Punjabi is very very close to Hindi, Marathi and Gujurathi not so much but at least part of the same language group. And there is also Urdu, which is the poetic Muslim court type language. Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, I think it might be similar to Spanish from Spain versus Spanish from Mexico. You can kind of understand each other, but you know it is from a different place.

            In the early years of film (like, the 1950s), Urdu was commonly used for songs and often for dialogue as well. After Partition, a lot of great Urdu poets from the north ended up in Bombay, working in films. As the years went on, Hindi became more common, Bombay was more and more a city of immigrants from elsewhere in India, and the film industry was really really a place of immigrants (easiest place to get a job if you were an outsider) and the common language became “Hindustani” which is like Hindi, but with more loan words from Urdu and other dialects. That’s what you will hear in a lot of the films of the 1970s. Beginning in the 90s, English became more and more common. In general and also in films. The film people went from speaking high Urdu to barely understanding Hindi. That’s one of the big generation gaps, Aamir and Salman and Shahrukh grew up fluent in both Hindi and English (especially Shahrukh, he is from Delhi where everyone speaks Hindi, he knows all the esoteric swear words and stuff). They are all from Pathan families (that’s where “Khan” comes from), so they also probably learned a scattering of Urdu and Pashto from their elderly relatives. And Aamir and Salman growing up in Bombay would have learned a little Marathi. Basically they have what one of my friends described to me in college as “home” language, “street” language, and “school” language. Home would be whatever was spoken in the place their parents were originally from (for all three, a mixture of Hindi and Urdu), “street” would be Marathi for Aamir and Salman and Punjabi influenced Hindi for Shahrukh, and “school” would be English for all three.

            But now, for the younger generation of stars, “English” is what they speak in all 3 places, their parents probably grew up speaking it after learning it in school, and it’s common in the upper middleclass areas where most of them were raised, and it is what they would speak in school. Films now, versus just 20 years ago, use way way more English dialogue, and their Hindi dialogue has taken a steep dive in quality as scriptwriters, actors, directors, everyone thinks and speaks in English now. Makes it a lot easier for fans like us who don’t really speak Hindi! You just need a few vocabulary words, because the scriptwriters only know a few words, and there’s all kinds of English thrown in as an “anchor” to make sure we follow it.

            On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 11:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • You sound just like me. I deliberately try to speak Hindi with my North Indian friend. I know the vocabulary and can understand whatever they say. But when asked to speak, the other person would be chasing flies by the time I find the right word sleeping my brain. 😀 😀

            Liked by 1 person

          • I saw an interview with Aamir where he says English is his first language and he doesn’t feel fully Indian because he grew up in Mumbai. So fascinating! And thanks for the background on the languages, very interesting and helpful.


  8. *Learn a few of those words that cannot be accurately translated in subtitles, or just the most common words, just to kind of ground us in the dialogue as it flows past. *

    Yesterday I was watching a movie, and there was a scene when a girl loses her dupatta. It was important because the hero is in love with this girl but doesn’t know her name, and so when he finds this shawl he starts calling her as “dupatta girl”. But unfortunately who has done the subtitles didn’t know how to translate dupatta (I with my poor english know at least 2 words ) so he translated it as “upper cloth” and our girl instead of being “dupatta girl” has become “upper cloth girl”. I mean, how terrible it sounds?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! “khushboo” is a good one, there really isn’t an English equivalent, and seeing “fragrance” or “smell” in the subtitles just seems insulting somehow. “Khushboo” seems to be more of a “scent/aura” thing.

      On Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 2:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  9. Pingback: Learn More Hindi For/From Films! | dontcallitbollywood

  10. Pingback: Learn Hindi From Film Songs for Hindi Movies | dontcallitbollywood

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