Shahryar who passed away a few days ago, battling with cancer was one of those poets, who created milestones in Hindi cinema through his pen, and the films that got adorned by the power of his pen became eternal and as long as cinema and its musical fans exist, Shahryar would rule in their hearts.
A lyricist who was picked up by Yash Raj banner to score music for their film FAASLE, which became one of the musical hits of his time, had the guts to refuse Yash Chopra for writing lyrics in subsequent films, as he was of the firm belief that a poet should not commercialize his trade, but should maintain exclusivity by writing sporadically.
No wonder, he was a constant companion in films of Muzaffar Ali, starting from UMRAO JAAN to ANJUMAN, the tapestry of musical film that Muzaffar Ali had woven, weaving it around the cultural ethos of India that existed in and around Lucknow, would not have attained element of immortality but for the adornment to the tapestry in form of lyrics by Shahryar's pen name. The importance of Shahryar as a lyricist for such kind of films is evident from undertaking the comparison of lyrics between UMRAO JAAN made by Muzaffar Ali and that made by J P Dutta. It would be difficult to recall any lyrics from UMRAO JAAN directed by J P Dutta, but all the lyrics of UMRAO JAAN directed by Muzaffar Ali still are hummed with passion across generations. Sadly enough, ZOONI, which Muzaffar Ali scrapped also were to feature three songs written by Shahryar, and may be as a tribute to his memory Muzaffar Ali would make it reach the aficionados.
What he wrote more than twenty years ago for ANJUMAN, 'Seene Mein Jalan Aankhon Mein Toofan Sa Kyoon Hai', still is an angst that the urban migrant continues to grapple with, groping in the dark, as the answers continue to elude, as it was aptly summed up by Shahryar.
He was a thinking poet, and his writings provoked the listeners to think, in the same manner as Ghalib's writings used to do in earlier times, the difference being that Ghalib had written in Persian, while Shahryar wrote it in Urdu. Though he wrote lyrics for Hindi films, he never liked to stay in Mumbai, and the angst was best summed up in the UMRAO JAAN's song's opening lines, 'Ye kya jagah hai dosto, ye kaun sa dayar hai, hudde nigah tak jahan goobar hee goobar hai'.
At a time when the lyrics of Hindi cinema are going from bad to worse, and characterized by Hinglish lines, Shahryar's songs are a soothing balm to frayed nerves. One never gets tired listening to his odes again and again, and this is the best tribute to his writing abilities and his ability to touch that corner of the heart, which individuals seldom allow even their closest partners to venture into. Shahryar had achieved this feat through his writing, and may he do the same wherever he is after he left for heavenly abode.