LAHORE : The 26th death anniversary of legendary lyricist, poet and film-maker Saifuddin Saif was observed in cities across Pakistan on Friday, as fans, friends and family paid homage to the late artist and his services to the local entertainment industry. He passed away on July 12, 1993, and is buried at a graveyard near Model Town, Lahore.
Saif was born in the city of Amritsar in pre-Partition India on July 20, 1922. His early childhood years were spent in Amritsar, where he attended the prestigious MAO College. Unfortunately, he did not complete his education as he joined the Khaksaar Movement during his college days and was barred from sitting the board exams due to his political activism.
But fate had other plans. After leaving college, Saif began indulging his lifelong fondness for poetry. After Partition, he migrated to Lahore and began working as a dialogue writer and lyricist for Pakistani films. In 1954, the literary great established a film company of his own under the name of Rahnuma Films and thereby, ventured into full-fledged film-making.
“Actually, Saif started his showbiz career as a lyricist before Partition but none of the films he had worked on saw the light of day, for one reason or other. His career took off after he moved to Lahore,” lyricist Altaf Bajwa told The Express Tribune. “The first film Saif penned the songs for was Hichkolay in 1949. After that, he worked on the songs of Amanat in 1950 and then Naveli in 1952. But I’d say his first brush with commercial success came in 1953, when he wrote the songs for the two super hit films of that year: Ghulam and Mehbooba.”
According to Bajwa, it was the money Saif earned through these four films that he used to start Rahnuma Films with. “But if you ask me, his actual claim to fame will always be his poetry. All the big singers of Pakistan – including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Noor Jehan, Mahdi Hasan and many others – have lent their voices to Saif’s words,” he added.
Film-maker Altaf Hussain added that Saif’s death was a huge blow to the Pakistani entertainment industry. “He produced and directed Raat Ki Baat, Kartar Singh, Saath Lakh and many other projects. In fact, there was a time when his company Rahnuma Films was one of the most sought-after production houses in all of Lollywood, especially after the success of Kartar Singh,” he said.
Saif’ impressive roster of work includes a book titled Khan-e-Kamal wherein he had compiled all of his ghazals and poems. Other than this, he drafted the lyrics for numerous super hit films such as Shama Parwana, Anarkali, Qatil, Umrao Jaan Ada, Inteqaam, Suraiya Bhopali, Azra and Tehzeeb. His words are still celebrated by fans of classics like Jaltay Hein Armaan Mera Dil Rota Hai, Main Tera Sheher Chhor Jaunga, Aaye Mausam Rangeelay, Chal Hat Re Hawa, etc.
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