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Rooh-e-Majrooh: The Everlasting Poetry of Majrooh Sultanpuri

September 17, 2016 | By

Majrooh Sultanpuri’s immortal songs came to life along with an eclectic selection of his literary ghazals at the Rooh-e-Majrooh evening presented by Ibaadat Foundation.

Sangeeta Bedi and Obaid Azam Azmi anchoring Rooh-e-Majrooh evening

Sangeeta Bedi and Obaid Azam Azmi anchoring Rooh-e-Majrooh evening

Hamaare baad ab mehfil mein afsaane bayaan honge
Bahaarein hum ko dhoondengi, na jaane hum kahaan honge

Naushad, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Madan Mohan

The Legends – (L to R) Naushad, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Madan Mohan

He catapulted into popularity with his very first film Shahjehan, released in 1946 with K L Saigal’s singing some of his all-time hit numbers on his lyrics. ‘Jab dil hi toot gaya’ and ‘Gum diye mustaqil’ took the music world by storm and Saigal took this song so much to heart that he had even asked for ‘Jab dil hi toot gaya’ to be played on his last journey.

Thus began the trail-blazing career path of the Indian sub-continent’s favourite songwriter who could suit his words perfectly to actors and situations. And his pen name? ‘Majrooh’, which means the wounded one.

Working with a cross-section of music directors and filmmakers, Majrooh Sultanpuri built up a massive repertoire of literary ghazals and non-filmic poetry coupled with an expansive range of film songs of every genre – from romantic, fun, sad and pensive to stinging social comments, mischievous repartees and those with the folk touch. He started his career with the classicist Naushad (Shahjehan, 1946) and bid adieu to the world with Que Sera Sera, jo bhi ho so ho with AR Rahman (Pukar, 2000), writing lyrics till almost his last day, attuning his words to match films for music directors and film makers, several decades younger than him. He firmly proved that he was one writer who would never get caught in a time warp and the nation honoured him with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award, making him the first lyricist to receive this honour.

Majrooh Sultanpuri with RD Burman and SD Burman

And they made everlasting music: Majrooh Sultanpuri with RD Burman and SD Burman

As Vishnu Khare writes, “Majrooh seems to have understood the requirement of film music at an early stage and always suited his words to the actors and situations. For his kind of male lyrics, the masculine timbre of Mohd Rafi was the right medium and among female voices the sensuality of Geeta Dutt/Asha Bhosle went hand in hand with his softer lyrics.”

Today, seven whole decades since Majrooh Sultanpuri first shot into fame, people are still celebrating, discussing, discovering and enjoying his everlasting songs and poetry that have transcended barriers of time. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s immortal songs came to life along with an eclectic selection of his literary ghazals at the Rooh-e-Majrooh evening presented by Ibaadat Foundation in New Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium in March this year.

Saba Sultanpuri and Raju Naushad

Saba Sultanpuri and Raju Naushad

Presented by renowned shayar Obaid Azam Azmi and anchor Sangeeta Bedi, the show had Saba Sultanpuri (the daughter of Majrooh Sultanpuri) and her husband Raju Naushad (the son of legendary music director Naushad) as guests of honour. Talented singers Supriya Joshi, Sarvesh Mishra, Anand Bahal, Naveen Anand, Sapna Sehgal and Vidhi Sharma presented an eclectic selection of songs and ghazals written by Majrooh Sahab and had the audience humming and singing with them.

The musical exchange between Sarvesh and Supriya set the mood for the evening:

Sangeeta Bedi

Fun and masti interspersed with shayari and songs making it a lively, interactive journey.

If Sarvesh sang:
tum bin jaaun kahaan, ke duniya mein aake
kuch na phir chaaha kabhii, tumako chaahake, tum bin

Supriya replied:
jaiye aap kahan jayenge, yeh nazar laut ke phir aayegi
door tak aap ke peechhe peechhe, meri aawaz chali aayegi

And Sarvesh retorted with:
Dil jo na keh sakaa
wohi raaz-e-dil
kehne ki raat aayi

to which Supriya answered with:
Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko
Nazar nahin churana sanam
Badal ke meri tum zindagaani
Kahin badalna jaana sanam
Le liya dil, oh haaye mera dil
Haaye dil lekar mujhko na behlaana

And then they were joined by Naveen Anand who sang
Jalte hain jiske liye, teri aankhon ke diye
Dhoond laya hoon wohi geet main tere liye

Ibaadat Foundation founders Prithvi Haldea (L) and Naveen Anand

Ibaadat founders Prithvi Haldea (L) and Naveen Anand get the audience rocking with the fun ‘Bade miyaan deewaane’

And so it went on… musical, uplifting, nostalgic! A meticulously crafted presentation with a superb script and presentation brought alive Majrooh Sahab in that auditorium in that spring evening – interspersed with shayari by Obaid and memories recall by Raju Naushad and Saba Sultanpuri.

Raju Naushad recounted, “When in 1945, Majrooh Sahab had recited his shayari in a Mushaira in Bombay, the famous film director of those days Kardar Sahab had been impressed by the poetry. He had immediately asked Jigar Moradabadi to convince Majrooh Sahab to write for films. Majrooh Sahab refused initially. But on insistence of Jigar Sahab, Majrooh Sahab relented. Kardar Sahab took him to Naushad Sahab who was in those days composing music for Shahjehan. Naushad gave Majrooh Sahab a tune to write on and Majrooh Sahab wrote the mukhda on the spot:
Jab usne gesu bikhraaye
Badal aaye jhoom ke”

The rest as they say is history.

Coming up on Sept 23, 2016, Ibaadat Foundation will host Daastaan-e-Rajinder Krishan – a musical drama celebrating the life, poetry and songs of the legendary Rajinder Krishan in Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi.

Rajinder Krishan was one of the greatest lyricists and scriptwriters of the Golden Era. He penned hundreds of immortal songs including Ye zindagi usi ki hai, Kaun aaya mere man ke dware, Yun hasraton ke daag, Wo dil kahan se laun, Bhooli hui yaadon mujhe, Unko ye shikayat hai ke hum, Gore gore o banke chore, Pal pal dil ke paas, Kehna hai kehna hai, Chal ud jaa re panchhi, Ek chatur naar and Mere saamne wali khidki mein. Performing at the show would be Ibaadat’s acclaimed team of singers… Supriya Joshi, Sarvesh Mishra, Anand Bahal, Debu Mukherjee, Naveen Anand, Stuti Tiwari and Mumtaz Mirza. Also on the stage in conversation in this 2 1/2 hour show would be Rajesh Duggal (son of Rajendra Krishan) and Obaid Azam Azmi.

Enjoy the immortal songs of Majrooh Sultanpuri at the Ibaadat evening:

Chahunga Main Tujhe (Sarvesh Mishra)

Chal Ri Sajni Ab Kya Soche (Anand Bahal)

Saathi Na Koi Manzil (Naveen Anand)

Hamein Tumse Pyar Kitna (Sapna Sehgal)

Rahe Na Rahe Hum (Supriya Joshi)

More to read on the legendary lyricists of Hindi Film Music

‘Bade Achchhe Din Thhe, Bade Pyare Saathi, Aur Guni Bhi’ – In Conversation with Majrooh Sultanpuri

Shailendra: The Spirit with a Mass Connect

Sahir Ludhianvi: The Rebel, The Lover

‘Jo Bhi Ho Tum Khuda Ki Kasam, Lajawab Ho’: Remembering Shakeel Badayuni

Gulzar: Redefining Poetry and Purpose In Cinema

Editor in Chief, Learning and Creativity; Consulting Editor, Silhouette Magazine. A former business journalist, Antara writes extensively on the changing trends of music, direction and filmmaking in cinema. Her articles aim to provide well-researched information on the legends of cinema for the movie and music enthusiast. She is also the Founder-Editor of Blue Pencil, a New Delhi-based publishing house. She edited and published Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman, the biography of SD Burman written by HQ Chowdhury. She has co-authored a chapter on Hemant Kumar's Bengali music in the acclaimed book The Unforgettable Music of Hemant Kumar, written by Manek Premchand. Her articles have also been published in and Antara is Editor-Creative Director of Wisitech InfoSolutions Pvt. Ltd.
All Posts of Antara Nanda Mondal

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