Fana Nizami Kanpuri (1922-1988), one of the most famous poets of Mushaira during his time, did not publish his collection of poems because he opined, ‘if all my Ghazals came to the notice of everyone, then what would be left recite in Mushairas where the audiences request a new Ghazal every time?’
Fana Nizami Kanpuri’s enchanting Tarannum, fresh expression, and charming personality used to steal the show at Mushairas, which were his livelihood. One of his couplets is extremely popular:
tark-e-ta.alluqaat ko ik lamha chaahiye
lekin tamaam umr mujhe sochnaa pa.Daa
He was very religious, kept a long beard and always wore Sherwani, but the mention of alcohol abounds in his couplets. He recited the following couplet at a Mushaira in Karachi:
Main Sharabi Nahin Hun Shayar Hun
Istilaahan Sharaab piitaa Hun
(I am poet, not a drunkard; I drink, in the limits of poetry)
Also present there was Josh Malihabadi who furiously stood up and uttered at once:
“Main Sharabi nahin hun Mullah hun”
“Bahraam Ki Wapasi”. No, it's not the title of a detective novel but a collection of poems by Saqi Farooqi (1936-2018). He wrote his autobiography under the title “Aap-Biiti, Paap-Biiti”, and recorded such insights in it which other writers normally don’t. He was truly a unique author and a forthright poet and critic.
Born in Gorakhpur, India, he lived in Karachi and Bangladesh and then moved to England where he became trained as a computer programmer. In his life and poetry, Saqi Farooqi was famous for surprising those around him with his creative novelties and outspoken style of conversing.
There was also a time during his life when he used to wear a thick necklace around his neck.
He was also quite fond of animals. When his pet tortoise died, he made a grave in his beautiful lawn and wrote a Nauha (lament); while affectionately raising a dog, he read all the literature related to dogs; and even raised two tomcats, one named "Sher Khan" and the other "Ram Raj".
Ever wondered what’s the connection between the word ‘Pahar’ and ‘Pahre-Daar’? In ancient India, ‘Pahar’ used to be the unit of keeping time - with each day consisting of 8 Pahars, and each Pahar as long as 3 hours.
During each Pahar, a ‘Pahre-Daar’ would be performing watchmanship, and at the end of each hour, he would strike a metal bell and announce that he was on guard; besides, it was also the way to know what time it was. ‘Pahar’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Prahar’.
The word ‘Pahre-Daar’, however, has now been limited to meanings such as watchman, guard, or sentry. In Urdu poetry, the phrases ‘Aath Pahar’, ‘Raat Ke Pichhle Pahar’, and ‘Sih-Pahar’ are abundantly found. Like:
sih-pahar hī se koī shakl banātī hai ye shaam
ḳhud jo rotī hai mujhe bhī to rulātī hai ye shaam
In Persian, ‘Sih’ means three. And, the third Pahar of a day is also known as ‘Sih-Pahar’.
Famous author, journalist, and film director Khawaja Ahmad Abbas is known for his fearless writing and expression. His far-reaching films and columns are a testament to this. Before working for the Blitz, he was associated with the Bombay Chronicle where he was entrusted with the job of writing film reviews; a job for which, to your great surprise, he saw nearly 300 native and foreign films ins preparation.
In 1939, V Shanta Ram's film 'Aadmi' was to be released, but saw repeated postponements. On this, Abbas wrote, ‘may be Shanta Ram’s “Aadmi” was coming to Bombay on foot from Poona and perhaps he had fallen asleep under a tree on the way.’. Shanta Ram was quite put off with this remark, and subsequently, when ‘Aadmi’ released, he did not invite Abbas to see the film as a journalist. But Abbas went on to see the film over 18 times, spending from his own pocket, and wrote a detailed 7-column article in the film’s appreciation.
Guru Dutt loved the Urdu language immensely. A great many examples of beautiful Urdu language and poetry are there in his movies which still influence the film industry to this day.
His film "Pyaasa", which has been named one of the top ten films in the world by the famous British film scholar Laura Mulvey in Site & Sound magazine, has as its central character a poet, Vijay, played by Guru Dutt. Sahir wrote the songs for this 1957 film, which are still etched in our memories. One of Sahir’s old poems 'Chakle' was used in the film by Guru Datt after some modifications. Abrar Alvi, who hails from Lucknow, wrote the dialogues of the film in everyday, eloquent Urdu.
In one scene of the film, there is a small poetry session in which some poets are reciting verses. One poet, who is playing the role and has the appearance of Majaz, recites one of Majaz’s couplets:
is mahfil-e-kaif-o-mastii me.n is anjuman-e-irfaanii me.n
sab jaam-ba-kaf baiThe hii rahe ham pii bhii ga.e chhalkaa bhii ga.e
And, adorned in a Sherwani and Topi, an elderly poet recited this couplet of Jigar Moradabadi in classic Urdu style:
kaam aaKHir jazba-e-be-iKHtiyaar aa hii gayaa
dil kuchh is suurat se ta.Dpaa un ko pyaar aa hii gayaa