Bliss of poetry: A talk on Sahir Ludhianvi

Deepak Mahaan explored various themes and pointed out different perceptions on Sahir’s works
Discussion on Sahir Ludhianvi's work
Discussion on Sahir Ludhianvi's work

Deepak Mahaan, a multifaceted artist—columnist, documentary filmmaker, and author— presented an engaging audio-visual talk on Humanism in Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry at Lamakaan, a cultural space center. Sahir Ludhianvi was a well-known Urdu poet and lyricist who is remembered for his profound verses that have moved millions of people. His poetry explored themes like love, human emotions and social issues. He was also renowned for having a lasting influence on Bollywood music and Hindi literature.

The talk discussed some of Sahir Ludhianvi’s iconic songs, such as Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman, Jinhein Naaz Hai Hind Par, Main Jagoon Saari Rain, Meri Mehboob, and Mitwa Mitwa, exploring their lyrical brilliance and the profound themes they conveyed. Talking about his evergreen interest in old songs, Deepak says, “I’m a big fan of old songs and films. Hindi, International, and regional too if I can get hold of subtitles, and being a student of literature adds up. Over the years, I’ve become a documentary filmmaker. Actually, this talk came up because I wanted to make a documentary on Sahir’s work but Covid-19 hit us all, so I had to put a pause on it. I always wanted to do something about Sahir’s work, it just gave me an idea to interact with the public and let them know how Sahir’s poetry was and how he was a different personality altogether.”

Continuing about his delight in Sahir’s work he says, “What draws me to his work is, some thoughts that he puts down, he doesn’t realise that they provoke and are so profound that they are equivalent to any of the masterpieces, let’s say, Shakespeare or Wordsworth. And it is challenging to convey something in three minutes. My father introduced me to the film, Pyaasa. The first scene opens with Sahir, Gurudutt, and Rafi Saab. These people have been influencing me a lot, these songs kind of made me more human, and in a way, they have influenced my entire approach to life. So what I tried is to show different facets of Sahir songs to the audience, and also urged me to drop the concept of polarisation.”

During the talk, he explored various themes and pointed out different perceptions on Sahir’s works. He highlighted Sahir’s remarkable subtlety in portraying the complexities of love and a woman’s desires through his poetic verses. “He (Sahir) admired women. Though, he never married. The kind of things that he brings out in his songs about women’s hearts is phenomenal. Of course, all poets have this ability to bring out something of someone else and make us feel that it is our own but he has always written in a language that is very dignified. ‘Aaj ki raat nahi shikave shikayat ke liye, aaj har lamha har ek pal hai mohabbat ke liye, reshami sej hai mehki huyi tanhayi hai, aaj ki raat murado ki barat aayi hai...’ here, Sahir eloquently pens down the art of portraying love and fulfilling desires with subtle and indirect poetic expressions, adding a unique charm.” Deepak says that Sahir had a different take and refined taste on life, “It gives me a kind of exploration into the past but also gives a certain amount of insight into the future, which is very important. Literature never dies, it’s always there and provides illumination to the mind,” he concludes

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