Challa/Jhalla – Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Bollywood music is not something that even deserves a blog post but when there is some really really big confusion being spread about some of the legendary symbols of folk, it needs to be talked about.

There is a new song stupidly, wrongly, absurdly titled Challa from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Lyrics are by Gulzar and the music has been composed by none other than awein hi overrated A R Rahman sahab.

Now the problem with this song is that it has been titled Challa whereas the word he has pronounced (and probably Gulzar has written) is Jhalla. These two are totally different words and have different meanings. Gulzar & Rabbi both are Punjabis and they very well understand the difference. There has been some mess up somewhere in between and it is a big one.

Impact ? Some experts have declared that Challa & Jhalla mean almost the same thing. I am writing this post to address this stupidity. Please…these are two different words and mean absolutely different things. And of course a song Jhalla shouldn’t be titled Challa.

Challa literally means ring…a token of love exchanged between lovers. A girl whose lover is away from her…talks to Challa and tells her pain. In Punjabi folk it is a metaphor which has been used in this kind of context. Later there were other versions written by some other people. But the original one finds its roots in the regions of Sandal Bar (in the present day Pakistan). It developed there as a folk few hundred years ago. Here is a post explaining the meaning of the complete song.

Jhalla on the other hand literally means manaic or foolish. But in Punjabi this word is (mostly) not used in this context. It is used for someone who is passionately in love with someone or someone who is in pain due to separation from his/her loved one. Someone who is so impacted by the pain that he appears like a mad to the rest of the world.

Now tell me how these two words mean the same thing ?

4 thoughts on “Challa/Jhalla – Jab Tak Hai Jaan

  1. we have been doing it for ages…and now we do it again 😛 damaging our language/culture ourselves
    gukzaar te rabbi ; punjabi hunde hoe vee ikk punjabi word da context he change karta/karan ditta …fitte mooh

  2. Sir, I would just like to bring in a clarification here. No doubt challa means a ring, but then it also means a mad lover. Also, please appreciate, if rabby and gulzar saheb are punjabi’s so was the late king of romance – Mr. Yash Chopra. Request you to apprecite the fact that yash raj films know what they do much better than you and me. You could also refer to the song “Challa” by Babbu Mann, from the movie crook. Please think before you write….

  3. challa is a lok gatha in which jhalla is father of aboy naming challa living the bank of beas river harike and its story of father and son’s love .when challa the only son of jhlla drownd beas then jhalla sing this song and all the song if you listen properly the meaning clear this story

Leave a Reply