Name : Majrooh
Full / Real Name : Majrooh Sultanpuri / Asrar Hussain Khan
Born :
Died : 
Notable Films : Abhiman, CID, Dastak, Dosti, Ham Kisise Kam Nahin, Jewel Thief, Mr. & Mrs. 55, Nau Do Gyarah, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Shahjahan, Sujata, Teesri Manzil
Contributed by : Satish Subramanian
The lyricist Asrar Hussain Khan, is better known to us as Majrooh Sultanpuri. Unlike his contemporaries who chose pen-names like Sahir (magician), Hasrat (desire), Qamar (moon) and so on, he preferred to have the pen-name Majrooh which meant hurt/wounded. He was born in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and hence the surname Sultanpuri.

Taken from Zaka Siddiqui's 1991 article, "Immortal Melodies" in the Illustrated Weekly of India

The year was 1945. Important poets from all over India had assembled for a mushaira at Bombay's Saboo Siddik Institute ground. The poets included Jigar Moradabadi who, as was his custom, had travelled with one of his protege -- this time it was with a young and unknown poet, unknown at least in Bombay. Saghar Nizami was conducting the proceedings. Nizami was not only a good poet but also very popular as a compere. But unexpected things happen even in the most organised functions. So, in spite of his efforts, Nizami was not able to enliven the insipid and dull mushaira and the audience jeered and booed irrespective of the stature of the poet reciting.

Organisers, including the illustrious Syed Shihabuddin Desnavi, watched helplessly. At that moment, Sizami invited the young Jigar protege to recite his ghazal and introduced him as Majrooh Sultanpuri. As the young poet walked up to the microphone, he appeared to be calm in spite of the almost hostile vibes radiating from the audience. With his black sherwani buttoned up to the throat, snow-white, full-width Lucknowi pajama, fair complexion, and handsome countenance, he had a definite presence and commanded attention. Without a preamble he started reciting the now famous ghazal:
    shab-e-Intezaar kashmakash mein na poochh kaise sahar hui
    kabhi ek charagh bujhaa diya, kabhi ek charagh jalaa diya
The sonorous kharaj, the cultured, modulated voice and, above all, the obvious beauty of craft and thought-content of the ghazal itself caught the audience unawares. As if a huge hand suddenly hushed up their booing and jeering. From that moment on it was Majrooh Sultanpuri's day. There among the audience was A.R. Kardar, the famous motion picture producer and director. He was so impressed that he invited the young poet to see him after the mushaira.

This was how Majrooh was signed for the unforgettable Kardar film, Shahjahan. Naushad set his lyrics to tune and K.L. Saigal sang them:

-   gham diye mustaqil, kitna nazuk hai dil,
    yeh na jana, hai, hai yeh zaalim zamana

-   jab dil hi TooT gaya, jab dil hi TooT gaya
    ham jeeke kya karenge, jab dil hi TooT gaya

-   kar leejiye chale kar meri jannat ke nazare

Sultanpuri penned eight out of ten lyrics for "Shahjahan", and all of them became super hits. But before he could react to the large-scale appeal created by these lines, he fell ill. The harsh Bombay climate made him leave the city and return to his hometown in the North.

Majrooh's parents wanted him to be a physician, but he preferred to be a poet, and touch many more lives that he would have, had he been a physician. He used poetry as a medium to express his communist views before he was drawn into the world of Hindi film lyrics. He was one of those lyricists with a never-say-die spirit, and who has entralled us over the past 50 years with his fine lyricism. His lyrics ranged from soft melodies, ghazals, romantic duets, rock&roll, pop, qawaalis to bhajans.

Probably, Majrooh has worked with more music directors than any other lyricist. Not a mean achievement for a lyricist, who has to cope up with the varying styles of different MDs. While, for other lyricists their writing style or ego came in their way of working with any MD, Majrooh had no such problems. He was versatile and a thorough professional and above all a nice person, as vouched for by many of his colleagues.

Here is a partial list of music directors with whom Majrooh has worked with: Anand-Milind, Anil Biswas, Chitragupta, Khaiyaam, Kishore Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, N.Dutta, Naushad, O.P.Nayyar, R.D.Burman, Ravi, Roshan, S.D.Burman, and Salil Choudhury He has also worked with Anu Mallik, Bappi Lahiri, Basu Chakravarty, C.Ramachandra, Ghulam Mohd., Hemant Kumar, Husnlal-Bhagatram, Kalyanji-Anandji, Mukul Roy, Rajesh Roshan, S.Madan, Shanker-Jaikishan, Tushar Bhatia, Usha Khanna and Vasant Desai.

He received his first Filmfare award for his lyrics in the film "Dosti" (1964). In 1994 he was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke award for his lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.