Remembering ‘Umrao Jaan’ lyricist Shahryar

Aligarh: The lyricism that was dying out in film poetry in 1990s was brought back with full force by Shahryar who was then working with Aligarh Muslim University.  “The beautiful and attractive elements that ruled the Indian Hindi cinema in a way was given a second chance by Shahryar through his songs in Umrao Jaan, Gaman of Muzaffar Ali and Faasle of Yash Chopra,” Baig Ehsas, Sahitya Award winning Urdu short story writer said.

Incidentally, Shaharyar was also a Sahitya Award Winning litterateur.

The evergreen lyrics of this wordsmith are etched in the mind of many cinephiles, poetry enthusiasts, and academics alike.

MS Education Academy

Two of his ghazals, “Seene mein jalan ankhon mein toofan sa kyun hai” and “Ajeeb saneha mujh Par guzar gaya yaaron,” were used in Muzaffar Ali’s debut film Gaman. The famous “Dil cheez kya hai ap meri jaan li jiye” is the product of his deft pen.

As the progressive era was experiencing a downfall during the late 50s and the early 60s, a modernist era of poetry arrived. He and poet Mughni Tabssum were Founding Editors of the literary magazine Sher-o-Hikmat which was published out of Hyderabad.

A prominent, well-respected literary figure, he initially wanted to be an athlete while his father wanted him to join the police force. Instead, he ran away from home after which Khaleel-Ur-Rehman Azmi, a critic and poet, took him under his wing. He began his career as a literary assistant at Anjuman Tarraqi-e-Urdu. He then became a lecturer in Urdu at Aligarh Muslim University. His poetry collections include Ism-e-AzamSatvan Dar and Khwab Ke DarKhwab Ke Dar garnered him a Sahitya Akademi Awardright when it was released in 1987. Shahryar was also the recipient of the Jnanpith Award which other Urdu greats like Firaq Gorakhpuri, Ali Sardar Jafri and Qurratulain Hyder received.

Though he preferred to relegate himself to the academic and poetry scene than to further pen film lyrics. Although he made an exception for his friend Muzaffar Ali from his student days. His son Faridoon Shahryar is a well-known entertainment journalist.

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