In Urdu poetry Qateel Shifai is a poet who also wrote famous film lyrics but is it true that many of his early poems and lyrics were not his own?
I believe that today many poems and lyrics are credited to him and re-published in collections and books in Urdu, in Pakistan, under his name, but this is probably wrong. Can anyone please confirm or clarify this? Thanks.
1 Answer | Add Yours
Aurangzeb Khan, better known by his 'nom de plume' Qateel Shifai (1919-2001) was a fine and popular Urdu poet who really came into his own in post-Pakistani independence times (i.e. after 1947); although he began writing poetry as early as the 1930s.
Shifai was a poet who wrote a quantity of Romantic, lyrical verse--some of it deemed 'over-sentimental' by his critics--and it is quite correct that he first began to make his name and repute as a poet and song-writer in the Lahore film industry in the immediate post-partition/independence years (around 1948 or 1949), initially by helping/assisting senior song-writers and poets (who were/are often the same people in India and Pakistan's film set-ups, e.g even today names like Sahir Ludhianvi and Gulzar and so on, are household names) and making small changes/amendments, as instructed by the the senior poets/writers.
Thus, what happened is, during the late 1940s, and early 1950s, there were some very very famous and popular songs, in fact adaptations of already-published poems written much earlier by other 'established' poets , that were wrongly ascribed to Shifai's pen. The most famous of these songs is the beautifully adapted poem written by poet and writer Hakim Ahmad Shuja (1893-1969), ''Tu laakh chalay ri gori'' (filmised in the 1954 Urdu classic film Gumnaam); this song became so popular in both Pakistan and India, that perhaps, Shifai could not resist having it ascribed to him later on, after Hakim Ahmad Shuja died. Both in financial terms and in terms of sheer popularity, it must have been a very profitable thing to do. Two very senior and respected academics, Prof Dr M Sadiq, in his famous History (Karachi,, OUP, 1964) and a later press interview on Hakim sahib's death (''The Pakistan Times'', Lahore, 1969) and Prof Gilani Kamran (in ''The Fronter Post'', September 1988) have talked about the origins of this song/poem and how it was published in an Urdu literary journal in 1932-33, and then included in a small anthology of Hakim sahib's verse circa 1942.
Thus, it is at least proven that Qateel Shifai, the younger poet, took some advantage and/or allowed a genuine public 'mistake' to take root, by never contradicting it or expressing the truth of the matter. It is believed that since some of the older writers/poets and film directors etc did or retired into obscurity by the 1960s and 70s, Shifai and and some other poets who came in later, claimed 'under credit' for some work that wasn't theirs. However, from around 1965 onwards, when Shifai found his own poetic 'voice' and became popular in his own right, such incidents however lamentable were not repeated. Yet, sadly, it is true that there are indeed 2-3 very popular and well-known old songs/poems, which Shifai claimed for his own but which weren't.
A link to an old recording of the song is also given below I hope it works and you can listen to it. Good luck.
We’ve answered 319,175 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question