Sahir Ludhianvi was a greatest Urdu poet and songwriter of his time. His real name is Abdul Hayee, however he is known popularly with the name Sahir Ludhianvi. It was undefined rule of the old times to add the name of birthplace to poets pen name.
Sahir Ludhianvi was born on 8th March, 1921 in a rich zamindaar's (Landowner) family. Sahir didn't have a normal childhood. His parents had troubles in their relationship. His father married once again when Sahir was just 13. His mother then decided to move away from his father and she moved away with Sahir. As his parents get divorced, Sahir faced struggle and financial problems since his early age.
Sahir did his schooling and college at Ludhiana from Khalsa High School. Later in 1939, he attended the Government College of Lahore. While studying in the college, he fell in love with journalist Amrita Pritam. Amrita Pritam was a great fan his nazms and ghazals in the college. Amrita had expressed her inclination towards Sahir many a times through her books and interviews. But they didn't get married because of Amrita's father was not ready to accept that his Sikh girl would marry to Muslim Sahir. Sahir's financial condition was also not well, so her father rejected him. Soon, Sahir get droved out from college. Some people say that it was Amrita Pritam's father's work.
After being driven out from college, Ludhianvi moved to Lahore and started working on his first collection of Urdu poetry called Talkhiyaan (Bitterness). But now he had the problem that he didn't have any publisher to publish his work. He struggled for two years to find a publisher and finally his work get published in 1945.
Followed by it Sahir started working as a editor for Urdu magazines named Savera, Shahkaar, Adab-e-Lateef and Prithlari. All the magazines were very successful. Pakistani Government issued an arrest warrant against him due to his explosive writings about ideology and communist views in magazine- Savera. He was also an active member of Progressive Writer's Association.
In 1949, Sahir moved to Delhi and resided there for some months. Later he moved to Bombay (Mumbai) and stayed there till end of his life. In 1949, Sahir Ludhianvi got his first break in films with Aazadi Ki Raah Par. He had written four songs for the film. But the film was flop and also his songs went unnoticed. But later he earned the proper recognition in the film industry with the film Naujawaan in 1951. Music for the film was composed by the ace music director S D Burman. A song from the film 'Thandi Hawaayein Leher Ke Aaye' is still popular today.
However, Sahir gave his first hit with director Guru Dutt's 'Baazi' in 1951. Music for the film was again composed by S D Burman. Followed by it, Sahir and S.D. worked together on many films and had given lots of evergreen songs. His last film with S D Burman was Pyaasa.
Besides, S D Burman he also worked with other big music directors like Khayyam and Roshan. His well known movies with Khayyam include films Phir Subah Hogi (1958), Kabhi Kabhi (1976) and Trishul (1978). Sahir also found a good rapport with composer N. Dutta. They worked on many movies including Milaap (1955).
In 1970s, he worked on relatively less number of films and was mainly restricted to Yash Chopra banner. Although he worked on less no. of films, he received an immense respect for his quality work which includes film Kabhi Kabhi (1976). Sahir earned his second Filmfare Award as a Best Lyricist for his lyrics in film Kabhi Kabhi. He won his first Filmfare Award for film Taj Mahal in 1963.
He was one of the greatest poets. Sahir and Kaifi Azmi were both responsible for bringing Urdu poetry to film music. Sahir's songs and poetry remained as inspiration for many later lyricists. Unlike other poets, who used to praise Husn (beauty), Khuda (God) or Mai (alcohol/wine) through their poetry, Sahir's poetry resembles the bitter truths of life. He wrote on the topics like domination of materialism over love, declined values of society, the senselessness of war and politics, street families, a destroyed farmer by debt and on other victims of society.
Sahir Ludhianvi - Personal Life
Sahir had two failed relationships in his life. While studying in college he fell in love with writer Amrita Pritam. But her father rejected him because Sahir was Muslim and Amrita was Sikh. Also because Sahir's financial condition was not good at that time. It is also believed that, Sahir build a house taller than Amrita Pritam's house in front of her house in Ludhiana, because her father rejected him due to his poverty.
Later he had relationship with singer/actress Sudha Malhotra. This one also never gets converted into marriage. He remained bachelor for his whole life.
Sahir died on October 25, 1980, due to a massive heart attack while playing a card game.