rishta online logo
Bazme Adab
Google   Site  
Bookmark and Share 
Share on Facebook
Qamar Jalalabadi
--: Biography of Qamar Jalalabadi :--


He was born in a Punjabi family in 1917 in Amritsar, in a small town called Jalalabad, and was named Om Prakash. Right from the tender age of seven he starting writing poetry in Urdu. There was no encouragement from home, but a wandering minstrel poet named Amar met him in his hometown and encouraged him  to write, recognizing his immense talent and potential. He also gave him the ‘takhallus’ of ‘Qamar’  which means moon, and Jalalabadi was added for effect because Qamarji hailed from that town. It was the general trend in those days for writers to name themselves after the towns they hailed from. 
After completing his matriculation from Amritsar, Qamarji embarked on his journalistic career journey by writing for Lahore based newspapers like Daily Milap, DailyPratap, Nirala, Star Sahakar. The lure of the Film industry brought him  to Pune in the the early Forties. In 1942, he wrote lyrics for his first film
Zameendar which was a Pancholi Pictures production and the songs of this film were very well received, especially the song sung by Shamshad Begum “Duniya me garibonko aaraam nahi milta….rote hain to hasne ka paigaam nahi milta…." which also had a line or two written by writer and poet Behzaad  Lucknowi.

Thereafter he shifted to Mumbai with family and thus began an eventful career in the glorious film industry which went on for nearly  4 decades. His songs were elusive wordplays that made you ponder deeply, looking  for the hidden depths that were left upon the listener to uncover. Although he  wrote what the need of the moment dictated, his gentle personality seeped  through his lyrics. Potent love, deep excruciating pain and longing, ecstasy  beyond comprehension, also hurt and humiliation that one faces in life 

through  no fault; in other words every itsy bitsy emotion a lover or beloved goes  through in the tryst to acquire true love, were portrayed in his effervescent  songs. Golden voices of the legendary singers like NoorJehan, G.MDurrani,  Zeenath Begum, Manju, Amirbai Karnatqi and many others added mesmeric glitz to  Qamarji’s deeply meaningful songs; alongwith eclectic singers like Mohd. Rafi,  Talat Mahmood, Geeta Roy, Suraiya, Shamshad Begum, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Asha  Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar and the Nightingale of India Lata Mangeshkar.

 Not many  people may know that the immortal composer S.D Burman had also rendered a comic  song penned by Qamarji in the film Eight Days in 1946.

The song was tuned by S.D  Burman and the ticklish wordings were as follows…“O babu babu re dil ko bachana   bachana, tere dilka banega nishaana…….”. Music composer Sardar Malik had  rendered a few soulful songs in his heydays, and Qamarji had written several  ballads for him. One memorable song was from the film Renuka in 1947 “sunti nahi  duniya kabhi fariyaad kissi ki, Dil rota raha aati rahi yaad kissiki….”. The  regal Beauty of her times Naseem Banu sang a heart-wrenching ghazal penned by  Qamarji “Dil kis liye rota hai...pyar ki duniya me, aisa hi hota hai” for the  film Mulaquat in 1947.  Dancing legend Sitara Devi emoted a few of Qamarji’s  songs in the film Chand In 1944 and in this film she played a cameo role as the  slim and svelte second leading lady alongwith the charming Begum Para and  dashing hero Prem Adib. Chand was one of the earliest of Qamarji’s successful  and memorable films.

As a  lyricist he handled anything from the ridiculous to the sublime with equal deftness. On one hand he wrote mesmeric duets like “sun mere sajana dekhoji mujhko bhool na jana…” sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi (film: Aansoo 1953) and on the other hand he penned comic relief songs like “aaj pahli taarik hai” endured with full throttle gusto by Kishore Kumar (film: Pehli Tarikh-1954). This song turned into veritable anthem and was played on Radio Ceylon on the first if every month for decades, and it probably still is. The  film Howrah Bridge (1954) sky-rocketed his career as lyricist to unpredescented heights. Songs like “mera naam Chin Chin Chu” (Geeta Dutt) and “aaiye meherbaan,  baithiye janejaan….” (Asha Bhonsle) are still as breathtaking as ever, and are  remembered far and wide for their rollicking tunes by Maestro Music composer O.P  Nayyar as well as for the succulent lyrics. It is a sad thought though that very  few people know who the writer of these songs is.

In his  personal life he was a highly principled personality who had his own unique  rules and beliefs. He began each day with prayers that comprised of loud chanting of excerpts from The Bhagwad Geeta, The Holy Koran as well as The Bible. He was deeply into transcendental meditation, and was mostly embedded in his writing for most part of the day. A true Karma yogi as well, who took care of his ailing parents as long as they lived, nurtured his brothers and sisters, even gave up a bungalow in Khar in his heydays to one of his married sisters to  save her from a difficult marriage, and shifted to simpler accommodation in Juhu  with family. He was a benevolent and kind father and fought against all odds to  provide for his seven children, and he managed to give us all a pretty decent  life and put us all through college. His relationship with his wife was unique  in the sense that my mother Smt. Leelawati was the traditional housewife, but  also a friend and philosopher to my Father. They shared a rare bond of  togetherness, he preferred to sit at home and chat with her over a cuppa,  discussing every topic under the sun, instead of blowing his time in some mehfil  with friends with a drink in hand.

He had  several friends and hundreds of fans whom he lovingly called his “pankhe”. His  fan mail came in various languages; Hindi, English, Urdu and many regional languages as well. I remember how meticulously he replied to all his fan mail and judiciously sent an autographed photo as well. Some of his favorite people were poet Qateel Shifai, Ameen Sayani, Kalyanji and Anandji, the elusive O.P Nayyar who visited him some time before Qamarji’s demise, Music Composer S.D Batish, C.L Kavish, D.D Kashyap and many more. From his past associations he remembered G.Damle of Prabhat Film Company, Dattaram Pai of Filmistan, Babubhai Mitra, Husnlal Bhagatram and S.Mukherji the most as they had been a part of his   initial glorious days as a lyricist. It is impossible to equate a man’s lifetime  in words. In his long career span he worked for several Film Companies like;  Prabhat Film Company, Pancholi Pictures, Filmistan Ltd., Famous Pictures, Minerva Movietone, Prakash Pictures, Wadia Films Ltd., Filmkar Ltd., Sippy Films, N.C Sippy Films, Shri Shakti Films, Mitra Productions and many more.

He was  one of the founder Members of prestigious organizations like FILM WRITERS   ASSOCIATION & IPRS in Mumbai. The music Composers he worked with were; Ghulaam Haider, G.Damle, Pt.Amarnath, Khemchand Prakash, Husnlal Bhagatram, S.D.  Burman, Anil Biswas, Shyam Sunder, Sajjad Hussain, C.Ramchandra, Madan Mohan,  Sudhir Phadke, S.D. Batish, Sardar Malik, Ravi, Avinash Vyas and in the latter  phase of his career with O.P Nayyar, Kalyanji Anandji, Sonik Omi, Uttam Singh  and Laxmikant Pyarelal as well. Most music lovers may not be aware that Qamarji  was a polished and highly acclaimed Adabi Shayar as well, and had graced  innumerable Mushairas and symposiums related to Urdu Poetry all over India. Some  gems of his Shairy are available for all the  die-hard fans of Vintage music and mystical Poetry.

By:  Subhashini Swar Shivpuri (Daughter)

You are Visitor Number : 2201