Sahir-The People’s Poet

By Chanderkent

Sahir Ludhianvi or Sahir was one of the most gifted lyricists from the golden age of Hindi film cinema.

He was born with a gift of genius which brought people near him but then he had the curse of a genius as well which made others wary of him. Sahir was an established poet even before coming to films and when he met S D Burman at his studio, the legendary composer wasn’t aware of his status and gave him the first few notes of a tune on which he was working on.

Sahir instantly penned these beautiful lines, “Thandi hawaaein lehra ke aayein, rut hai jawaan, tum ho yahan, kaise bhulayein”. Sahir, as a rule brought nature in his lyrics which made these songs so very special.

Akshay Manwani, who wrote Sahir’s biography, ‘Sahir Ludhianvi-The people’s Poet’ says that Sahir’s reputation as a leading Hindi poet came in his way to the craft of a lyricist. Poets, generally have no constraints in expressing themselves while being a lyricist is all together a different ball game where the tune, mood of the film and the language of actors comes into reckoning. Those were the ideal times for poet turned lyricists as some of Sahir’s contemporaries were Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, Kaifi Azmi, Hasrat Jaipuri Shakeel Badayuni, and Rajinder Krishan who all contributed to the golden era of Hindi film industry.

Sahir’s first major break happened with 1951 film of SD Burman’s ‘Navjawan’ which was directed by Guru Dutt and the film became a huge hit. The illustrious pair of SD Burman-Sahir created some memorable numbers in films like Baazi (1951), Jaal (1952), House Number 44 (1955), Munimji (1955) and Pyasa (1957) which became a classic.Unfortunately, the pair separated after Pyasa but Sahir was already a big name in industry and was highly sought for. In next few years he penned some unforgettable lines, as who can forget this gem from Hum Dono of 1961,”Abhi Na Jao Chodkar Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahi” and “Jo Wada Kiya Who Nibhana Padega” from Tajmahal of 1963. In years to follow Sahir joined Yash Chopra’s bandwagon and then he produced those lilting melodies in Kabhie Kabhie in 1979 which broke all the previous records.

Sahir died in 1980 after suffering a massive heart attack while playing his favourite card game. It was quite ironical as his heart bled for masses; he himself didn’t care much for his own life and had in fact the nonchalance of a typical card player about life and death. In fact the following song from Kala Patthar is a beautiful commentary on the uncertainties of life. Sahir wrote this song which is truly dedicated to the journey of life. So enjoy this song and go ahead.

Ik raasta hai Jindagi…..

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