Mehfil-e-Sahir | Celebrating 100 years of Sahir Ludhianvi: Irshad Kamil reads 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya'
For his birth centennial, we're presenting Sahir Ludhianvi's words in the voice of contemporary lyricists. Here, Irshad Kamil discusses how Ludhianvi translates profound philosophical emotions into simple everyday words, in this song from Hum Dono.
मैं ज़िंदगी का साथ निभाता चला गया
Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya
हर फ़िक्र को धुँएं में उड़ाता चला गया
Har fikr ko dhuven mein udata chala gaya
बरबादियों का सोग़ मनाना फ़िज़ूल था
Barbaadiyon ka sog manana fizul tha
बरबादियों का जश्न मनाता चला गया
Barbaadiyon ka jashn manata chala gaya
जो मिल गया उसी को मुक़द्दर समझ लिया
Jo mil gaya usi ko mukaddar samajh liya
जो खो गया मैं उसको भुलाता चला गया
Jo kho gaya main usiko bhulata chala gaya
ग़म और खुशी में फ़र्क न महसूस हो जहाँ
Gham aur khushi me fark na mehsus ho jaha
मैं दिल को उस मुक़ाम पे लाता चला गया
Main dil ko us mukaam pe laata chala gaya
“What is the secret behind Sahir Ludhianvi’s everlasting appeal?” Surinder Deol asks in an essay for Firstpost, examining the poet-lyricist’s life and legacy in the year of his 100th birth anniversary.
Mehfil-e-Sahir is Firstpost's ode to Ludhianvi, a collection of video tributes by seven leading Hindi film lyricists — from Varun Grover to Kausar Munir, Irshad Kamil, Shellee, Raj Shekhar, Mayur Puri and Hussain Haidry.
Each of these lyricists has picked the verses that speak most to them, explaining why Sahir's words resonate even three decades after his death.
Sahir Ludhianvi was born on 8 March 1921, in Ludhiana. His poetry and film lyrics from the 1940s onwards made him wildly popular, and earned him titles such as "the people’s poet” and “bard of the underdog”.
“Today we are witnessing new threats to democracy and secularism... In this context, Sahir's voice is essential,” Deol notes in his Firstpost essay. “The values he championed are here to stay for the better part of this century.”
Irshad Kamil reads: 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya' (Hum Dono, 1961)
With Dev Anand in a double role, the 1961 film Hum Dono had two primary themes in the narrative — one of love, and the other of war. And somehow both are as topical in current times as ever. When the film was re-released in colour in 2011, a confident and optimistic Anand had said in an interview: "The story of Hum Dono is not dated. Romance is modern… war is modern and so is the song, 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya'."
The songs of this film remain hugely popular till date essentially for the soulful music of Jaidev and the memorable lyrics penned by Ludhianvi. The two most popular and acclaimed songs of the album — 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya' and 'Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalat Pe' — were sung by Rafi and immaculately depicted the head and heart of the lead actor [Dev Anand played the double role of army personnel Major Manohar Lal Verma and Capt Anand].
Particularly about 'Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya', Irshad Kamil reveals that it is actually not a song, but a ghazal; three couplets of this ghazal have been used in the film. Talking about why he admires this ghazal, Kamil says, "I believe this song is not just a creation of Sahir Ludhianvi — the poet, but also of the saint that dwells within him. One who lives in this world, but is not of this world."
In this song, coupled with Jaidev's ebullient melody, Ludhianvi, in his signature style, translates profound philosophical emotions into simple everyday words. And in doing so, he also lends a flow to the narrative of the film as well as the character arcs of the actors. "A shayar/ poet possesses the extremities of the world, life and journeys of all kinds within them. Ludhianvi too had a similar microcosm of his own within him."
Editorial support, text and coordination by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Video edited by Akshay Jadhav | Art by Satwik Gade
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