Transition: Film industry loses iconic songwriter

Riazur Rehman Saghar wrote songs for over a thousand films during his decades-long career.

Sher Khan June 03, 2013
Riazur Rehman Saghar. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Esteemed songwriter Riazur Rehman Saghar passed away in Lahore on Saturday night at the age of 72, losing battle to cancer.

The iconic songwriter died at a time when the Pakistani music industry is struggling and film industry is on last throes.

Saghar gave words to Pakistani film music for many decades. His prowess as songwriter was so great that anything he wrote was surely to be a hit. His songs featured in over 1,000 movies.

Saghar had written singles for Adnan Sami Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hadiqa Kiyani and Farieha Pervez.

He had been suffering from cancer for some time, but it did not stop him from continually providing hit singles and working on his poetry. Just last year, his song Koi Dil Mein which was sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and composed by Sahir Ali Bagga had won Best Music Talent award at the London South Asian Film Festival in 2012.

His career was marked with many successes and he had direct hand in making some of Pakistan’s biggest musical stars and hit tracks. For instance, he is generally seen as the person who had made Adnan Sami Khan a success. With over a couple of thousands songs, he had a wide-variety of talents and in Urdu Saghar seemed to be one of the best romantic poets to have come along in a long time.

Aside from that, he had worked with many other artists such as Hadiqa Kiani and Fariha Parvez whose 2002 albums were written by Saghar. He also holds the honour of writing two of the most popular film songs in recent times ‘Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki’ which featured in Punjabi film ‘Virsa’.

Leading music director and singer Sahir Ali Bagga was working on two films with Saghar. He said that cancer had not slowed Saghar down. Only two months ago Saghar was in Karachi working with the lyricists. Film industry has lost a valuable asset with the transition of Saghar, he said.

“It was unlikely that person like Saghar would ever be replaced, he was an institution,” Bagga said.

“He could write all types of songs but he was remembered more for his ability to write beautiful romantic lyrics.”

Saghar also was relatively popular columnist in the Urdu newspaper Nawai-e-Waqt. He also wrote several travelogues regarding his experiences abroad.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2013.

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Optimist | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend

A legend! . Tens of millions (if not hundreds) loved his songs. They are popular songs. I am surprised that not even one person has commented!

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