Culture & Society

Shaharyar—Prince Of Urdu Poetry

Shaharyar may have got a short stint in Bollywood which has no match, still a lot of Shaharyar’s work spanning over four decades needs to be portrayed.

Urdu poet Shaharyar.
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Mujra performed on a meaningful Ghazal, is a treat for connoisseurs of poetry and music.  Muzaffar Ali’s movie Umrao Jaan, perhaps succeeded in creating a cult of immortal music.

The ghazals of Umrao Jaan still captivates anyone. Merely listening to them leaves one humming them for quite long. The soulful lyrical words mesmerize anyone. Ik sirf hamin mai ko aankho se pilate hain, kahne ko to duniya mein maikhane hazaro hain—is just one of the lines of the famous ghazals.

The author of the Ghazal and literary genius Shaharyar passed away on 13 February 2012.

It is a wistful fact that popularity of a poet in present times is gauged with his association with Bollywood songs or if the poet gets hits on social media.

Interestingly, Shaharyar, a literary genius and winner of Bhartiya Gyanpeeth Award, hardly wrote for movies. Even the idea of producing a movie based on Umrao Jaan was given by him to Muzaffar Ali. It was because, he was teaching the novel of Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa at Aligarh Muslim University.

A Professor at AMU, Shaharyar did not leave Aligarh, where he had shifted in 1948. People at AMU recall that many offers by leading producers did not materialize as he preferred Aligarh and worked at his pace.

Another of his all time hit, Seene mein Jalan, Aankho Mein Tufan Sa kyun Hain was included in movie Gaman in 1978. This Ghazal was also not written for the movie infact Shaharyaar had penned it back in 1965 in his first collection of poems Ism-e-Azam and it was included in the movie after more than a decade. The line-Ye Kya Jagah hai dosto, ye kaun sa dayar– is also part of a Ghazal published in the same collection which had 62 nazm and 26 Ghazals.

“Abba was really tough on himself. Once he wrote any Ghazal, he would ask me to read it, obviously, it appeared flawless to me. But after few days he would make some corrections on it, perhaps he did not leave anything to chance,” Faridoon Shaharyaar, son of the poet said.

Unfortunately, some of the movies for which Shaharyar wrote could not be released like Habba Khatoon. However, the genius of Shaharyar is still a rage for Urdu poetry lovers.

Faridoon, however has been working on his father’s work so that it reaches masses. “We are working on it though there is no commercial model. We want to portray the ghazals and nazm in modern avtar with new music composition, new tunes and new coquetry,” he said.

The latest addition from Shaharyar’s work is his Ghazal Kharasho ka Guldasta, which was released yesterday to mark his death anniversary. “In future we will release more of Abba’s work. We have received very good reviews,” Faridoon remarked.

Shaharyar during his days at Aligarh wrote extensively for everyone, couplets dedicated to his wife, friends, teachers and even the Vice-Chancellor. Sahitya Academy has published monograph on Shaharyar.

From his first ghazal which was published in 1955 in a Karachi magazine Mashrib, Shaharyar remained a forerunner till his last collection of poems titled Shaam Hone Wali Hai.

Shaharyar may have got a short stint in Bollywood which has no match, still a lot of Shaharyar’s work spanning over four decades needs to be portrayed.

For a poet, who did not join the Police Department while his father and another relative were served the police department, Shaharyar went on to become an eminent and celebrated poet.  

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