Saturday, June 28, 2014


                                                      ( SAHIR LUDHIANAVI )



Sardar Begum ( Died 1976 ) , mother of Sahir Ludhianavi was from a Kashmiri Muslim family that had settled in Punjab. She was the youngest child of Abdul Aziz , a Kashmiri contractor of Ludhiana . She was well known to the family of Shorish Kashmiri and during the communal frenzy of 1947 , she was brought by this family to Lahore from Ludhiana. Sahir’s father , who had divorced his mother , had also moved to Lyallpur ( Now Faisalabad )from Ludhaina where he died in 1964.

Sahir was in Delhi when his mother moved to Lahore. He went to Lahore in September 1947 to bring her back to india. At the same time , his close friend Hameed Akhtar had come to Lahore from Mumbai. Hameed insisted on Sahir’s staying in Lahore . Very reluctantly Sahir agreed and started editing a newspaper after taking up rented accommodation at Abott Road opposite Nishaad cinema in Lahore . But he had to pack back when arrest warrants were issued against him for writing anti establishment editorials including one wherein he questioned the legitimacy of the 'Two Nation Theory' and attacked leaders who supported it . His belief in Marxism did not find favour with the rulers of the new born country . Once arrest  warrants were issued against him , Sahir fled Lahore and returned to Delhi . From Delhi, he requested his friend Prakash Pandit to go to Lahore to bring back his mother . And Sahir never agreed to the idea of partition and decided to stay in India. Sahir told his close friends that the new country created out of the blood of millions of innocent human beings will unfortunately be ruled by Mullas . In Mumbai ,another poet and lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan also felt so and decided to stay in India when his close friend and writer Saadat Hasan Manto left for Lahore .

Staying for some time in Delhi, Sahir moved to Mumbai. To make both ends meet in Mumbai, he even copied manuscripts for publishers that also included Krishen Chander’s poorly handwritten pages . For this he earned Rs150 . With no regular income , he once sold his mother’s bangles to pay water and electricity bills . In spite of all this, he did not lose patience .He kept moving from studio to studio for work but did not get a break or work . And Ishar Kour , the Sikh girl whom he loved during his college days had also moved to Mumbai. She tried to look for him in vain and was finally married to a distant cousin by her parents . This all happened before Sahir landed in Mumbai. No one knows what happened to her thereafter.
And then One day, his friend Mohan Sehgal recommended him to S D Burman who stayed permanently in GREEN HOTEL located at Khar . Sahir landed at the Hotel early in the morning and knocked at the door of Burman Dada 's room. Dada was gracious and made him sit comfortably. Sahir introduced himself and spoke about the purpose of his visit to the hotel . S D Burman neither knew Urdu nor was much familiar with poetic nuances. He was essentially a composer . Burman asked Sahir to listen carefully to a tune that he had prepared for a film song and then pen words to fill up the tune .And Sahir wrote:-

 “ Thandi havaayein

Lehra ke Aayein

Ruut Hai jawaan

Tum ko Yahaan

Kaise Bulaayein ….”

A visibly overjoyed Burman jumped from his seat . He took Sahir to producer A R Kardar saying that the desired poet had arrived. When Lata ji sang the song, it was instant hit. Burman ensured Sahir’s song writing in more films including Jaal,Taxi Driver ,Munim ji , Devdass , House No 44, Pyassa and Funtoosh etc. For 1957 superhit movie Pyassa , Guru Dutt ,Sahir and S D Burman pooled their heart and soul .

                 ( left to right  Sahir , his mother Sardar Begum and a cousin of Sahir )

( Left to right ..Sahir , Majrooh, Naushad Ali , Jan Nissar Akhtar , R D Burman, Akhtar ul Imaan , Faiz Ahmed Faiz , Rajinder Singh Bedi )

"PHAILEE HUYEE HAIN SAPNON KI BAAHEIN" ....."My dreams have no boundaries”

House no 44 starring  Devanand and Kalpana Kartik, an overjoyed S D Burman kissed his hands. “Komaal hai ! Komaal hai ! ”Burman kept crying. And once Lata Ji gave her voice to the song, it turned immortal. Burman had already composed the tune and Sahir just filled in the words . Sahir’s style of emoting love in the surroundings of nature was simply remarkable .It gave a broader horizon to his lyrics. He would use clouds, rain , moonlight , trees , wind, leaves , rainbow, sunset , dawn, mountains . mist   and many other things to put forth the throb of a lover’s heart . Not many film lyricists have used this skill .The song shows Kalpana Kartik – the heroine of the film swinging and dancing around the picturesque trees surrounded with mist . She certainly conveys the experience of a young girl in the first flush of love. Burman Dada begins this composition with plucking sitar and the notes swiftly cascade to make the listener believe that it shall be a song based on some Hindustani Classical Raga . But then suddenly, we find the sitar making way for chords played by a guitar and the double bass with a ¾ rhythm. It shifts  almost to   a ‘Western Melody’. Suddenly , the sitar returns to tempt once more before Lata Ji’s golden voice floats over the violins and the flutes. Very creative use of the rhythms and orchestration in the scale of Shudh Kalyan by Burman Dada. As the song starts ,Lata Ji’s voice elevates up to the sky with lilting music , and – in Sahir’s words – ‘swings on a rainbow to touch the stars’.


Sahir also wrote “ Chup hai dharti “ another beautiful song for this movie on a tune already prepared by S D Burman.

(Avtar Mota)


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