A poet who writes a collection of his poems called Talkhiyan at the age of 22 has to be a genius and Sahir Ludhianvi is just that. A poet by heart, Sahir just happened to be in Hindi cinema, for he never went with the rule of fitting his lyrics in the given song structure or the situation in the film. He always made the protagonists as the face for his poetry instead of his poetry being the voice for them. He insisted on writing the songs before the tunes were made. He brought dignity to the lyricist category in films with reprisal. As Gulzar says – “Every poet who took to writing lyrics had to accept the film medium. But Sahir Ludhianvi and perhaps, Pandit Pradeep, were poets whom the medium accepted on their own terms. Their poetry remained intact in the lyrics”. Like all the other Urdu poets, Sahir’s poetry was never about romance or women for that matter.
Born on 8th March 1921, Abdul Hayee or as we better know him, Sahir Ludhianvi, went on to become one of the most reputed poets of Hindi cinema. Insightful, emotional, revolutionary and romantic, his poems/songs were always laced with reality. His poetry was often peppered with the bittersweet experiences of his life. He drew inspiration from his own life and experiences, extensively. For all those who know Sahir’s life know his poetry. Sahir was always a package of contradictions and it reflected in his songs. Sahir has always been a conflux of an eternal lover, a radical rebel, an expressive nature lover and an intense writer.
Whether it is a typical baul number Aan milo aan milo Shyam sanware from Devdas (1955) to a spiritual Mann re tu kaahe na dheer dhare from Chitralekha (1964), he has been in the present world while writing about the other world. If we look at his take on life in 2 different ways –
Ye duniya jahan aadmi kuch nahi hai
Wafa kuch nahi hai, dosti kuch nahi hai
Yahan pyaar ki qadr hi kuch nahi hai
Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai….
The above lines from Pyasa (1958) contradict his own –
Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaye
Har fikr ko dhuein mein udaata chala
Barbadiyon ka sog manana fizool tha
Barbadiyon ka jashn manata chala gaya…..from Hum Dono (1961)
When it comes to romance, Sahir has been an epitome in expressing every feeling. From first love to carnal desires. But so have been his contemporaries. What makes him different from them? It is the gravity of the situation in love, the gravity of romance. Sahir has seldom used an ornamental language while describing or proclaiming love. His lyrics do not throw you into a daydream sequence of sweet nothings. They always are at parallel with nature or mere real expressions. He always made it a point to be realistic in love too. If at one point his expressions make you soar high into the sky, the next moment he makes it sure that you are well grounded to the situation. His songs about romance do not sound as go with the flow but they certainly tell you to keep in pace with the situation. The limitless, abundance of love is gelled with stark reality. A heart turgid with love is embalmed with the realities of mundane world.
Which songs of Sahir come to your mind when you think about the above situation? Here’s our list of such songs by Sahir. Brimful with love yet rooted to the reality –
1. Ye raat ye chandni fir kahan – Jaal (1952) – If the lyrics lure you to fall in love with sun jaa dil ki dastaan, in the stanza they also say – Ek baar chal diye gar tujhe pukar ke, laut ke na aayenge kaafile bahar ke, time won’t come back, it is now or never.
2. Tere pyar ka aasra chahta hun – Dhool Ka Phool (1959) – Between the sweet banter of love, his lyrics come alive with Galat saare daave, galat saari qasamein, nibhegi yahan kaise ulfat ki rasmein, yahan zindagi hai rivazon ke bas mein, rivazon ko tum todna chahte ho, bade nasamjh ho ye kya vhahte ho…
3. Ye ishq ishq hai – Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) – Sahir’s pompous definition of love in form a brilliant qawwali. He defines love in parallel with a religion – Majhab-e-ishq ki har rasm kadi hoti hai, har kadam par koi deewar khadi hoti hai, ishq azad hai ishq azad hai, Hindu na Musalman hai ishq, aap hi dharm hai aur aap hi imaan hai ishq
4. Abhi na jao chhodkar – Hum Dono (1961) – The silk song. Coated with romance all over and yet Sahir says – Adhuri aas, adhuri aas chhod ke, adhuri pyaas chhod ke, jo roz yun hi jaaogi to kis tarah nibhaaogi, ki zindagi ki raah mein, jawan dilon ki chaah mein, kai makaam aayenge jo ham ko aajmayenge, buraa na maano baat kaa ye pyaar hai gila nahi
5. Parbaton ke pedon par – Shagoon (1964) – A beautiful evening glides with 2 lovers in its vicinity. And Sahir unabashedly says – Kyun na jazb ho jaaein, iss haseen nazare mein. Love without any inhibitions because that’s reality.
6. Hum intezar karenge – Bahu Begum (1967) – Talk about waiting eternally in love and Sahir has the opposite, wait can’t be eternal. Hum intezar karenge tera qayamat tak, khuda kare ki qayamat ho, aur tu aaye. If it has to happen, it should happen now.
7. Din hain bahar ke – Waqt (1965) – This entire song is packed with contradictions. While the female lines are all for fantasy, the male lines stick to reality.
8. Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein – Kabhi Kabhi (1976) – The eternal poem of love by Sahir. This ode to love is underlined by reality towards the end when the lines say – Main jaanta hun ki tu gair hai magar yun hi