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Majrooh Sultanpuri

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Majrooh Sultanpuri
Background information
Birth nameAsrar ul Hassan Khan[1]
Born(1919-10-01)1 October 1919
Sultanpur, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
Died24 May 2000(2000-05-24) (aged 80)[1]
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Occupation(s)poet, lyricist, film songwriter[2]
Years active1946–2000

Asrar ul Hassan Khan (1 October 1919 − 24 May 2000), better known as Majrooh Sultanpuri, was an Indian Urdu poet and lyricist in the Hindi language film industry.[1] He wrote lyrics for numerous Hindi film soundtracks.[3][4]

He was one of the dominating musical forces in Indian cinema in the 1950s and early 1960s, and was an important figure in the Progressive Writers' Movement.[5][6] He is considered one of the finest avant-garde Urdu poets of 20th century literature.[7]

In his career spanning six decades, he worked with many music directors. He won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award in 1965 for "Chahunga Main Tujhe" in the film Dosti, and the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in 1993.[2] In the 1980s and 1990s, most of his work was with Anand–Milind, their most notable collaborations being Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka, Love, and Dahek.

He also wrote for Jatin-Lalit films like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander and their debut film Yaara Dildara.

Early life[edit]

Majrooh Sultanpuri was born as Asrar ul Hassan Khan in a Muslim Rajput family, in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where his father was posted in the Police Department[3] in 1919/1920.[8] His father was not too keen on his son receiving English education and Majrooh was therefore sent for traditional 'Madrasa education' which led to his obtaining the qualification first of Dars-e-Nizami – a seven-year course which concentrated on religious affairs along with proficiency in Arabic and Persian- and then the certificate of 'Alim. He thereafter joined Lucknow's Takmeel-ut-Tib College of Unani medicine.[1]

He was a struggling Hakim when he happened to recite one of his ghazals at a mushaira in Sultanpur. The ghazal was a hit with the audience and Majrooh decided to drop his fledgling medical practice and began writing poetry seriously. Soon he was a 'regular' at mushairas and a "shagird" i.e. disciple of the then top name in Urdu Mushairas viz Jigar Moradabadi.[3][1] While Majrooh is popular as a film lyricist and is widely known in that capacity, be it known that he also created one of the best-known verses of Urdu poetry:

"Main akela hee chala tha janibe manzil magar, log saath aate gaye aur carvan banta gaya!" (I had set off alone towards the destination but people joined in and we became a caravan!)


In 1945, Majrooh visited Bombay to attend a mushaira at the Saboo Siddique Institute. Here his ghazals and poetry were highly appreciated by the audience. One of the impressed listeners was film producer A.R. Kardar.[8] He contacted Jigar Moradabadi who helped him to meet Majrooh. However, Majrooh refused to write for films because he didn't think very highly of them. But Jigar Moradabadi persuaded him, saying that films would pay well and would help Majrooh to support his family. Kardar then took him to music composer Naushad who put the young writer to test. He gave Majrooh a tune and asked him to write something in the same metre, and Majrooh wrote Jab Usne Gesu Bikhraye, Badal Aaye Jhoom Ke.... Naushad liked what he wrote and Majrooh was signed on as the lyricist of the film Shah Jehan (1946).[9][2]

Majrooh subsequently did films like Naatak (1947), Doli (1947) and Anjuman (1948) but his major breakthrough came with Mehboob Khan's Andaz (1949).

He was sentenced to two years imprisonment due to his politically-charged poems in 1949. Having to start his film career afresh, Majrooh finally broke through again with the Guru Dutt films Baaz (1953).[10]

Majrooh Sultanpuri worked with many music directors like Anil Biswas, Naushad, Ghulam Mohammed, Madan Mohan, O. P. Nayyar, Roshan, Salil Chowdhury, Chitragupt, N. Datta, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and R. D. Burman.[11]

His last film as a lyricist was One 2 Ka 4, which was released after his death in 2001.

Political leanings[edit]

Film Shah Jehan (1946) was followed by S. Fazil's Mehndi, Doli (1947), Mehboob's Andaz (1949) and Shaheed Latif's Arzoo. Just as Majrooh was establishing himself as a lyricist and songwriter of repute, his leftist leanings got him into trouble. The government wasn't amused by his anti-establishment poems and he was jailed in 1949 along with other leftists like Balraj Sahni. Majrooh's arrest took place during a nationwide arrest of communists after the 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of India in 1948, in which the communists had decided to carry out a revolution against the Indian government.[12] Majrooh was asked to apologise, but he refused and was sentenced to two years in prison.[10]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Sultanpuri on a 2013 stamp of India

Majrooh went on to write lyrics for popular films throughout the 1950s. Along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Khumar Barabankvi, Majrooh was considered the most notable ghazal writer.[13]

Majrooh won his only Filmfare Best Lyricist Award for the song "Chahunga Mein Tujhe Saanj Savere" from Dosti in 1965. He was also awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1993[2] and became the first lyricist to win the prestigious award.[3][1]


Majrooh Sultanpuri had been suffering from lung disease for some time and had a severe attack of pneumonia and died in Mumbai on 24 May 2000. He was aged 80 at the time of his death.[3][2]


Year Film Songs
1963 Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram All Songs (Bhojpuri Film)
1986 Ek Aur Sikander All songs
1987 Watan Ke Rakhwale All songs
Inaam Dus Hazaar All songs
1988 Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak All songs
Janam Janam "Barkha Rut Bhi Aaj" and "Kahe Dag Mag Teri"
Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani "Dulhe Raja Ki Soorat Dekho", "Kisi Se Jab Pyar Hua", and "Dadi Maa Dadi Maa"
Zahreelay All songs
1989 Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka All songs
Phir Laharaya Lal Dupatta All songs
1990 Yaara Dildara All songs
Tum Mere Ho All songs
Nyay Anyay All songs
Shiva All songs
Ghar Ho To Aisa All songs
Daulat Ki Jung All songs
Kanoon Ki Zanjeer All songs
1991 Aayee Milan Ki Raat "Mat Ro Mere Dil" and "Dekhein Apni Kismat Mein"
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar All songs
Love All songs
Dastoor All songs
Hai Meri Jaan "Kahan Chali Ae Nazneen" and "Ghunghat Mera Jane Kya Hua"
Honeymoon "Yun Na Dekho Tasvir Banke" and "Aadha Tera Dil Aadha Mera Dil"
Yaar Meri Zindagi All songs
Humshakal All songs
1992 Gurudev All songs except "Aaja Sunle Sada"
Rishta Ho To Aisa All songs
Ek Ladka Ek Ladki All songs except "Chhoti Si Duniya Mohabbat Ki" and "Ande Se Aayee Murgi"
Badi Bahen All songs
Dil Aashna Hai All songs
Mr. Bond "Jab Do Dil Milte Hain"
Nargis All songs
1993 Lootere "Aa Ja Aanewale Aaja", "Oye Pape", and "Meri Barbaad Mohabbat Pukare"
Apaatkaal "All songs"
Laqshya "Tere Bina O Mere", "Bekhudi Ke Nashe", and "Raftar Hai Zindagi Ki"
1994 Andaz Apna Apna All songs
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa All songs
Baazi All songs except "Na Jaane Kya Ho Gaya"
1995 Akele Hum Akele Tum All songs
Guddu All songs
Paandav "Ye Haina Pyar Hi To Haina", "Pyar Ka Andaz Tum", and "Ye Chaman Jo Jal Gaya"
1996 Khamoshi: The Musical All songs
Ghatak All songs except "Koi Jaaye To Le Aaye"
Daraar "Main Hi Main"
Aisi Bhi Kya Jaldi Hai... "All songs"
Naam Kya Hai "All songs"
1997 Dil Ke Jharoke Main All songs
Yugpurush All songs
Asha Bhosle's Jaanam Samjha Karo All songs
1998 Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge! All songs
1999 Kartoos All songs
Dahek All songs
Jaanam Samjha Karo All songs
Pyaar Koi Khel Nahin All songs
2000 Hum To Mohabbat Karega All songs
Kya Kehna All songs
Pukar All songs except "Kay Sera Sera"
2001 One 2 Ka 4 All songs
Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaao All songs


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Majrooh Sultanpuri Profile". Upperstall.com website. Archived from the original on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Hindi film songwriter dies". BBC News. 25 May 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Chatterjee, Saibal; Nihalani, Govind (2003). Majrooh Sultanpuri on Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema (pages 137, 285, 286, 289, 299, 501, 583). India: Encyclopædia Britannica. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
  4. ^ Gopal, Sangita; Moorti, Sujata (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780816645787.
  5. ^ Pauwels, Heidi R. M. (2008). Indian Literature and Popular Cinema. Routledge. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-415-44741-6.
  6. ^ Zaheer, Sajjad; Azfar, Amina (2006). The Light. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-547155-5.
  7. ^ Majrooh Sultanpuri Profile urdupoetry.com website, Retrieved 11 May 2018
  8. ^ a b Kabir, Nasreen Munni Kabir (1996). Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-563849-2.
  9. ^ "K L saigal -shahjehan-1946-majrooh sultanpuri". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b "The Lyrical Leftist: Remembering Majrooh Sultanpuri at 100". The Wire.
  11. ^ R. D. Burman
  12. ^ Marshall Windmiller (2011). Communism in India. University of California Press. pp. 229, 270–274. GGKEY:NSY99CAKNFU.
  13. ^ "Film songs of Majrooh Sultanpuri". saregama.com. Retrieved 11 May 2018.

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