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The pixie dust sprinkled over the Prithvi Adda casting a spell on the audience as they settled and took a cozy spot to be part of an entertaining session of mehfil. The topic of discussion was renowned poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi.

Abdul Hayee who adopted the takhallus Sahir that means Magician in urdu was the subject that we were going to discuss through the session at Mehfil. The soft and gentle wind and the perfect lighting created the ideal setting for the spectacle to begin.

No there were no wands and rabbits out of hats and disappearances and re appearances – just the magic of words woven to cast an everlasting spell on the audience. Javed Siddiqui Saab, Shama Zaidi Apa. Ayesha Raza and Suhail Warsi were assigned to recreate the Sahir Magic through his words.

The session began with the famous song ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ from the film with the same name. After which Javed Siddiqui Saab gave the audience a brief background on the poet. He mentioned interesting anecdotes about Sahir, which helped the audience to get a perspective of the man who had a lean towering phisique and his ego preceded him. Whether it was a love affair with Amrita Pritam, Sudha Mehra or his insistence that lyricist should receive as much mileage and recognition as the singer and the musician of a film, he always did it with poise making a firm and adamant statement about his views and opinions. Javed Saab summed up his views by concluding that to view Sahir as a romantic poet will be doing injustice to his work and it is due to Sahir that lyricist today receive recognition and credit for their work.

Javed Saab’s conversation was interspersed with Suhail reading a famous poem by Sahir called Chakle. This poem was simplified, and used in the film Pyaasa –“ Jinhe naaz hai hind par kaha hai”

Ayeesha Raza went on to read excerpts from Punjabi writer Amrita Pritam’s note giving us a flavor of the ardent love she felt for Sahir.

We had to take a break at this point due to some other activities taking place in Prithvi. People walked towards the tea stall and bookstore and after some chatter the session restarted.

We commenced the next half of the session with the focus on Sahir’s book of poems called ‘Talkhiyaan’ (bitterness). Beautiful poems were read out and interesting anecdotes filled the evening. Shama Apa read excerpts from a piece that was written by Nida Fazli.

We played famous songs written by Sahir like “Jane kya tune kahi”, “ Mein pal do pal ka shayar ho”, “Tatbeer se bigdi hui takdeer”, “Hindu banega na musalman banega” filling the ambience with lyrical music. Also Suhail Warsi read excerpts from Sahir’s poem “Parchayiaan” which is his longest poem written in different meters. It was mentioned that Yash Chopra owned the rights to this poem and Javed Saab also mentioned that both Yash Chopra and Sahir Ludhianvi were very close friends.

The Mehfil ended with Sahir’s recitation of a poem called“ Khoobsurat Mor” in his own voice. His voice wafted through the mehfil as people left taking with them a small part of the magical world created by Sahir Ludhianvi’s words.

Our Recommendations :

Read- Talkhiyan (Bitterness). This book of poems is available with English translations.
Hear – Sahir’s voice – khobsorat mor
Watch – Doodarshan clip on sahir