Born On: October 1, 1919
Born In: Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: 24th May, 2000
Career: Poet and lyricist
Majrooh Sultanpuri was one man who ensured that film music, which is an integral part of the Indian film industry, would never play the second fiddle and instead, be the soul of the film. His lyrics seem to effortlessly blend with the tunes, the words soothingly flowing over the notes that even after decades' people would still croon these numbers. His contributions to the Indian music scenario have been immense and particularly due to his enormous success in this field not many people know that he was also an outstanding poet. Indeed it was his talent as an Urdu poet that made him such a master lyricist. No wonder his over five decades of lyrical work had eclipsed his significant poetic contributions, which is why he is perhaps mostly remembered for his contributions to the former. He was a versatile poet and lyricist, always at ease with the changing dynamics, always at home from pop and rock-n-roll to ghazals and qwaalis. He was an individual who with his sheer power of words ruled the music scene of the Hindi film industry.
Childhood And Early Life
In 1919, Asrar ul Hassan Khan, better known as Majrooh Sultanpuri was born in the city of Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh. He didn't receive any English education as his father who was a police sub-inspector couldn't afford to send him to an expensive school. Instead, Sultanpuri completed a seven year course of Dars-e-Nizami in Arabic and Persian, and went on studying to become an Alim. He then went to Lucknow and enrolled at the Takmeel-ut-Tib College to study the Unani (Greek) System of Medicine from which he graduated in 1938 after which he set up a prosperous medical practice as a Hakim. Once in Sultanpur, he recited one of his ghazals which was widely applauded and appreciated by the audience. This inspired him to drop his medical practice and start writing poetry seriously. He began to recite his poetries at various mushairas and became quite popular. During this time, he also became a good friend of the renowned Urdu poet Jigar Moradabadi, whom he would consider to be his mentor.
In 1945, the Bombay-based Saboo Siddique Institute organized a mushaira which Majrooh Sultanpuri went to attend. His ghazals were highly appreciated by the audience, especially the noted film producer A.R. Kardar who also attended the event. When the producer met Majrooh with an offer to write for films, the latter refused to do so, as he didn't think highly of the film industry. However, his close friend Jigar Moradabadi persuaded him take the offer as films paid well and Majrooh was already finding it tough to support his family. When Majrooh finally relented to the offer, Kardar took him to meet the famous music composer Naushad. At their first meeting Naushad tested the young man by giving him a tune and asking him to write the lyrics in the same manner. Naushad liked what Majrooh wrote and signed him as the lyricist for the movie "Shah Jahan". When the movie was released in 1946, the songs became enormously popular bringing Majrooh both fame and money. The singer and actor K.L. Saigal liked one of the songs from the movie, Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya, so much that he willed it to be played at his funeral.
Majrooh, however, couldn't enjoy his success in Bombay for long, as he fell ill because of the harsh weather conditions of the city. As such, he left for his hometown, returning to Bombay only after fully recuperating. After "Shah Jahan", Majrooh worked on a string on films and worked whole heartedly in establishing himself as a reputed lyricist. However, because of his anti-establishment writings, the government cracked down on him and other leftists in the industry sending him to jail in the year 1949. Refusing to apologize for his leftist leanings he was sentenced to two years in prison. By the 1950s he, along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, was considered to be the most noted Ghazal writer in the Bombay film industry. Throughout his 50 year career as a lyricist he had proven his versatility by writing songs in numerous genres like ghazals, qawaalis, bhazans, rock-n-roll and pop. In 1959, an anthology of 33 ghazals was published. These ghazals had been written by him during the period of 1944 to 1953 and are now considered to be the best known Urdu ghazals.
Awards And Recognition
His song "Chahunga mein tujhe sham savere" from "Dosti" won him the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award. For his lifetime contributions to the film industry, he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1993 becoming the first lyricist to win the award. Some other awards that he received are Iqbal Samman, the highest literary award of the Madhya Pradesh government, the Film Journalist Award for his writing for films, the Film Writers Association Award for his contributions to the Indian film industry, the Uttar Pradesh Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award for his contributions to the Hindi and Urdu literature, the All India Journalist Award for his overall writings and the Maharashtra State Urdu Academy award for his work titled 'Ghazals'.
After suffering from a severe attack of pneumonia, Majrooh Sultanpuri passed away on 24th May, 2000.
1919: Majrooh Sultanpuri was born in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh
1938: Graduated with a degree in Unani medicine.
1945: Went to Bombay to participate in a mushaira.
1946: "Shah Jahan" was released, for which he had written the lyrics.
1949: Sent to jail for writing anti-establishment lyrics.
1959: His anthology of 33 ghazals was published.
2000: Majrooh Sultanpuri died after a severe attack of pneumonia.