Qateel Shifai

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Qateel Shifai (real name Aurangzeb) (24 December 1919 - 11 July 2001) (Urdu: قتیل شفا ئی‎) was a Pakistani Urdu poet of controversial reputation and work.[1]

Background[change | change source]

Qateel Shifai was born in Haripur, Hazara Division, British India (now Pakistan). He adopted 'Qateel Shifai' as his pen name in 1938. Due to his father's early death, Qateel was forced to quit his education. Being unsuccessful in his business he decided to move to Rawalpindi, where he started working for a transport company. In 1946, he was called to Lahore to work as the assistant editor of the monthly 'Adab-e-Latif', a literary magazine.

Early career and controversy[change | change source]

In January 1947, Qateel was asked to help write the songs of a film by a Lahore-based film producer. The first film he helped penned the lyrics for was "Teri Yaad". After that there was no looking back and initially, after working for some time as assistant lyricist to some of the famous poets/lyricists of the time (c.1947-48 to 1956-57), he eventually became a regular full-time film lyricist. Shifai wrote several collections of his poetry but is best known for being a film lyricist. During the 1970s and 1980s, quite some controversy developed regarding his 'misappropriation' of a couple of old poems,[2] which had been adapted as film lyrics/songs in the movie Gumnaam (1954). It was later proved that this song, ' Tu lakh chale ri gori thum thum ke', was not Shifai's work[3] and he had to retract his earlier claim and also remove it from a proposed collection of poems and songs he had planned to publish.

Later career[change | change source]

Later on after the late 1980s, Shifai settled down to a full-time career in the film industry and also produced new volumes of poems and songs, which were considered good. A few of these were also awarded literary prizes. However, even then, the rumors and criticism of his work and talent never wholly died out and he remained a somewhat dubious figure until the end of his career.

Shifai died in Lahore in July 2001.

Filmography[change | change source]

  • Bade Dilwala (1999) (lyricist)
  • Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan (1999) (lyricist)
  • Auzaar (1997) (lyricist)
  • Tamanna (1996) (as Qatil Shafai)
  • Naajayaz (1995) (lyricist) (as Qatil Shafai)
  • Naaraz(1994) (as Qatil Shafai)
  • Waqt hamara hai (as Qatil Shafai)
  • Sir (1993) (lyricist) (as Qateel Shafai)
  • Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993)(lyricist) (as Qateel Shafai)
  • Tahqiqaat (1993) (lyricist) (as Cratil Sipahi)
  • Painter Babu (1983) (lyricist)
  • Shireen Farhad (1975) (lyricist)
  • Naila (1965) (lyricist)
  • Intezar (1956) (assistant lyricist)
  • Gumnaam (1954) (assisted Hakim Ahmad Shuja as junior lyricist)
  • Gulnaar (1953) (asst lyricist)
  • Teri Yaad (1948) (asst lyricist) - (English: Memories) (International: English title)

References[change | change source]

  1. Prof Dr M Sadiq, A History of Urdu literature, Karachi:Oxford University Press, 1964, and rev ed 1984, ISBN 0-19-577265-2
  2. By the elder poet Hakim Ahmad Shuja, who had already published these in a collection in 1932; See Sadiq, above
  3. Prof Gilani Kamran, Interview, The Frontier Post, Lahore and Peshawar, 30 September 1988