Lyricists

 

Majrooh Sultanpuri

Think of an individual who has been in the Indian film music industry for the last five decades and been contributing continuously. One can come up with name like Lata Mangeshkar and …. Yes next name has to be Majrooh Sultanpuri. Changing with the pace of the times but still retaining the simplicity of the words and lyrics makes this man a true master worker of songs in Indian Film Industry.

Success eludes the talented poet and he gets arrested for his provocative writing: It was now 1947. The film industry remained idle for six months in the aftermath of the partition. However, as some semblance of sanity and peace returned to the nation, the film industry also started taking stock of its affairs. Sultanpuri came back to Bombay and, on the recommendation of Naushad, was contacted by director Mehboob Khan for the Dilip Kumar-Nargis-Raj Kapoor starrer, ‘Andaz’.

The Iyrics of ‘Andaz’ are now history. But, again, Sultanpuri failed to cash in on this hit film. For, by this time his political activities as a communist and his literary pursuit as a member of the Progressive Writers Association (PWA) had convinced the Korari Desai government that this was one writer to be taken care of. An arrest warrant was issued and Majrooh saab went underground and remained so for a year. But he could not resist participating in a function protesting the arrest of Sajjad Zahir for his alleged involvement in the so-called Rawalpindi conspiracy. Sultanpuri recited a few of his fiery ghazals and, while coming down from the dais, was apprehended by the police. After that he spent a year in the Byculla jail.

After his release from jail, Kamal Amrohi asked him to write for his film ‘Daayra’. Then came his association with Guru Dutt and O.P. Nayyar. With O.P. Nayyar the rapport between the composer and lyricist were complete. It was also during this period that Asha Bhosle had her best to offer to the film industry as a singer. Songs like ‘Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera na ghabraiye’ and ‘Jaiye aap kahan jaenge, yeh nazar laut ke phir aayegi’ from ‘Mere Sanam’ and songs from several other films where Nayyar and Majrooh saab collaborated were a rage. This was also the time when the lyricist contributed at least 20 new words or sets of words hitherto unheard of in the film-lyrics vocabulary. These were words typical of the Urdu culture.

His other innovation in film-lyrics was what came to be known in film music circles as ‘romantic comedy duets’. In one of the usual filmi parties, S.D.Burman was discussing with him the futility of investing precious time in composing tunes for duets, which seemed to have lost the ear of cine-goers. Sultanpuri, by now had established his reputation as a person who did not mince words. He plainly told Burman that it was the fault of the Lyricists rather than the music directors if duets were losing popularity. In his typical challenging way, he promised that he would write a duet soon and make it a success. Burman smiled and said, ‘Then why not write that duet for me?’ This was how S D Burman and Sultanpuri teamed up and, together, gave us such beautiful lyrics as heard in ‘Paying Guest’, ‘Nau do Gyaarah’, ‘Kala Paani’, to mention a few.

Sadly for the great man he has not found appreciation easy to come by. Majrooh saab has won only one Filmfare award. He won it for the song ‘Chahoonga main tujhe saanjh savere’ from the film ‘Dosti’ in 1964. He is also the only lyricist to have been awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke award.

Majrooh Sultanpuri has worked with everybody. Probably, Majrooh has worked with more music directors than any other lyricist. Not a mean achievement for a lyricist, who has to cope up with the varying styles of different MDs. While, for other lyricists their writing style or ego came in their way of working with any Music Directors, Majrooh had no such problems. He was versatile and a thorough professional and above all a nice person, as vouched for by many of his colleagues.

Here is a partial list of music directors with whom Majrooh has worked with: Anand-Milind, Anil Biswas, Chitragupta, Khaiyaam, Kishore Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, N.Dutta, Naushad, O.P.Nayyar, R.D.Burman, Ravi, Roshan, S.D.Burman, and Salil Choudhury He has also worked with Anu Mallik, Bappi Lahiri, Basu Chakravarty, C.Ramachandra, Ghulam Mohd., Hemant Kumar, Husnlal-Bhagatram, Kalyanji-Anandji, Mukul Roy, Rajesh Roshan, S.Madan, Shanker-Jaikishan, Tushar Bhatia, Usha Khanna and Vasant Desai.

Many believe that he hasn’t been popular because he is not media savvy unlike his contemporary lyricists were or are. Even today one will never find Majrooh saab socializing with people from the film industry. His friends are books and books and more books, maybe also a few poets and writers. Majrooh saab is not just a film lyricist he is a poet to the core having written some outstanding poetry. His anthology titled, ‘Ghazal’, was published in 1959 and contained 33 ghazals created in the period from 1944 to 1953. They are still among the best-known Urdu ghazals, which had already earned the status of presenting a new idiom of progressive poetry.

Majrooh Sultanpuri was part of the formidable quartet that ruled Hindi Cinema in the 1950s and early 60s, the others being Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Shakeel Badayuni and Shailendra but Majrooh Saab outlasted them all working right up to his death, his career spanning over five decades and over 350 films, many of them extremely successful at the box office.

Shahjahan was followed by S. Fazil's Mehndi, Mehboob's Andaaz and Shahid Latif's Aarzoo. Just as Majrooh began establishing himself as a lyricist of repurte, his leftist leanings got him into trouble. The government wasn't amused by his anti-establishment poems and he was put behind barn in 1949 along with other leftists like Balraj Sahni. Majrooh was asked to apologise to save his skin, but he refused and was sent to jail for two years. While he ws in jail, his eldest daughter was born. Those were the financially tough days for his family and there was no one to help. It was Raj Kapoor who came forward to help but he knew that Majooh wouldn't accept money like that. So he asked Majoor to write a song. Majrooh wrote 'Ek Din Bik Jayega Maati Ke Mol..' and Raj Kapoor gave him Rs.1000 for that.

He had the distinction of working at equal ease with two generations of producers, directors music directors like Raj Kapoor - Randhir Kapoor, S.D. Burman in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi - R.D. Burman in Caravan. It was only because of Majrooh that Ghazal found a place in film songs. His poetry encouraged one to do his duty with a dream in mind and never bother about its outcome. His association had given recognition and popularity to music directors, he proved to be lucky mascot for new comers like O.P. Nayyar-Aar Paar, Khayyam-Footpath, LaxmikantPyarelal-, R.D.Burman-Teesri Manzil, S.Madan-Batwara, Rajesh Roshan-Kunwara Baap, Basu Chaakraborty-Sabse Bada Rupaiya, Anand Milind-Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Jatin Lalit-Yaara Dildara and Tushar Bhatia-Andaz Apna Apna. Singer Talat Mahmood also got a boost for his career after rendering a song in Sujata which was worded, Jalte Hai Jiske Liye Teri Aankhon Ke Diye.

A number of other films for which Majrooh Sultanpuri had written memorable and popular songs are : C.I.D., Paying Guest, Tumsa Nahi Dekha, Kali Topi Lal Roomal, Kala Pani, Aarzoo, Mere Sanam, Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hai, Mere Hamdam Mere Dost, Budha Mil Gaya, Aar Paar, Miss Coca Cola, Ek Kunwara Ek Kunwari, Bikhre Moti, Baat Ek Raat Ki, Aanchal, Salaam Mem Saheb, Kali Raat, Jinny Aur Johnney, Kehte Hain Mujhko Raja, Phir Kab Milogi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Abhiman, Pakeezah, Nau Do Gyara, Mamta, Bhigi Raat, Yadon Ki Baraat, Mr. & Mrs. 55, Ganga Ki Lehren, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Aarti, Dilli Ka Thug, Solvan Saal, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.

A number of other films for which Majrooh Sultanpuri had written memorable and popular songs are : C.I.D., Paying Guest, Tumsa Nahi Dekha, Kali Topi Lal Roomal, Kala Pani, Aarzoo, Mere Sanam, Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hai, Mere Hamdam Mere Dost, Budha Mil Gaya, Aar Paar, Miss Coca Cola, Ek Kunwara Ek Kunwari, Bikhre Moti, Baat Ek Raat Ki, Aanchal, Salaam Mem Saheb, Kali Raat, Jinny Aur Johnney, Kehte Hain Mujhko Raja, Phir Kab Milogi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Abhiman, Pakeezah, Nau Do Gyara, Mamta, Bhigi Raat, Yadon Ki Baraat, Mr. & Mrs. 55, Ganga Ki Lehren, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Aarti, Dilli Ka Thug, Solvan Saal, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa.

Majrooh Sultanpuri won his only Filmfare Award for Dosti. And that rankled the maestro a lot. He felt cheated. He couldn't digest the fact that lesser writers walked away with so many awards. He has written nearly 4000 songs, and his success rate in terms of popularity of songs was 95 per cent. So he couldn't understand was the criteria was for selecting the winners. He was disgusted when he lost for 'Pehla Nasha..' (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar) and later for 'Aaj Main Oopar..' (Khamoshi).

Majrooh has a severe attack of pneumonia and was admitted to a hospital on May 16, 2000, where, he closed his eyes for - ever on May 24. It was a day of shock for all the music lovers and for the entire film industry. He has left us with his ever lasting poetries and melodious songs.

The Best of Majrooh Sultanpuri
Song & Movie


Babuji dhire chalna --  Aar Paar
Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya --  C.I.D.
Mana janab ne pukara nahi --  Paying Guest
Chahunga mein tujhe --  Dosti
Kabhi to milegi --  Aarti
Jaane kahan mera --  Mr. & Mrs. 55
Aankhon hi aankhon mein --  C.I.D.
Kabhi aar kabhi paar --  Aar Paar
Ab kya misal doo --  Aarti
Chod do aanchal --  Paying Guest
Udhar tum hasin ho --  Mr. & Mrs. 55
Baar baar ohe kya samjhye --  Arti
Yaad aa gayi o nashili nigahen --  Manzil
Chori ho gayi raat --  Ishaara

Awards

Iqbal Samman --  Madhya Pradesh Government's highest literary award
Dada Sahab Phalke Award --  Government of India's highest award conferred on an artiste associated with films
Film Writers Association Award --  Indian Film Industry
Film Journalist Award --  Writing for Films
Uttar Pradesh Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award --  Hindi and Urdu Literature
All India Journalist Award --  Writings


Majrooh went on to write lyrics for popular films throughout the 1950s. Along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Majrooh was considered the most notable ghazal writer. It was Majrooh's versatility that industry folk swore by, for Majrooh could enthrall listeners with his every work. Majrooh won his only Filmfare Award for Dosti, which rankled the maestro a lot. He couldn't digest the fact that lesser writers walked away with many awards. He has written nearly 4000 songs and his success rate in terms of popularity of songs was 95%. So he couldn't understand what the criteria was for selecting winners.

He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1993 He was the first lyricist to win the prestigious award named after Dadasaheb Phalke.

Majrooh and Nasir Hussain first combined on the film Paying Guest, which Nasir wrote. After Nasir turned director and later producer they went on to combine in several films, all of which had huge hits and are some of Majrooh's best remembered works:

    * Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon,
    * Teesri Manzil,
    * Baharon Ke Sapne
    * Pyar Ka Mausam
    * Caravan,
    * Yaadon Ki Baraat,
    * Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin
    * Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai
    * Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak
    * Akele Hum Akele Tum

Majrooh also was instrumental in introducing R.D. Burman to Nasir for Teesri Manzil, the trio worked in 7 of the above mentioned films. RD went on to work in 2 more films subsequent to Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai


मजरुह सुलतानपुरी - Majrooh Sultanpuri

 आ जा पंछी अकेला हैं
 आशा - रफी, सचिनदेव बर्मन, नौ दो ग्यारह (1957)

 आजा पिया तोहे प्यार दूँ
 लता मंगेशकर, राहुलदेव बर्मन, बहारों के सपने

 आंचल में सजा लेना कलियाँ
 मोहम्मद रफी, ओ. पी. नय्यर, फिर वही दिल लाया हूँ (1963)

 आंखों से जो उतरी है दिल में
 आशा भोसले, ओ. पी. नय्यर, फिर वही दिल लाया हूँ (1963)

 आप ने याद दिलाया तो मुझे याद आया
 लता - रफी, रोशन, आरती (1962)

 आसमां के नीचे, हम आज अपने पीछे
 लता - किशोर, सचिनदेव बर्मन, ज्वेल थिफ (1967)

 अब क्या मिसाल दूँ मैं तुम्हारे शबाब की
 मोहम्मद रफी, रोशन, आरती (1962)

 अब तो है तुम से, हर खुशी अपनी
 लता मंगेशकर, सचिनदेव बर्मन, अभिमान (1973)

 अच्छा जी मै हारी चलो मान जाओ ना
 आशा - रफी, सचिनदेव बर्मन, काला पानी (1958)

 अकेला हूँ मैं इस दुनियाँ में
 मोहम्मद रफी, सचिनदेव बर्मन, बात एक रात की (1962)

 आँखों में क्या जी, रुपहला बादल
 आशा - किशोर, सचिनदेव बर्मन, नौ दो ग्यारह (1957)

 बाबूजी धीरे चलना, प्यार में जरा संभलना
 गीता दत्त, ओ. पी. नय्यर, आर पार (1954)

 बचना ऐ हसीनो, लो मै आ गया
 किशोर कुमार, राहुलदेव बर्मन, हम किसीसे कम नही (1977)

 बडी सुनी सुनी है, जिंदगी ये जिंदगी
 किशोर कुमार, सचिनदेव बर्मन, मिली (1975)

 बाहों के दरमियाँ, दो प्यार मिल रहे है
 अलका याज्ञिक - हरिहरन, जतिन - ललित, खामोशी - द म्युझिकल (1996)