Habib Jalib was one of the most, if not the most, committed Urdu poet. Someone who lived for the masses and died for the masses. He was not one of those pseudo intellectual, progressive verse wielders who lamented the fate of the proletariat and downtrodden class and gulped alcohol and roamed’ around the city in plush Mercedes Benz. Rather, albeit ironically, he remained a bit of a recluse and kept on churning out potent verse after verse, touching upon the essential and sensitive issues of social disparity. Doing so, he never tried to tone down his voice. In fact, he was always vociferous, always belligerent, always battering at the doors of those who pull the strings: aisey dastoor ko, subh e be noor ko, main nahin manta, main nahin manta. However, here we’re going to discuss Habib Jalib’s lyric writing that he did for Pakistani film industry.
Jaiib sahib used both chief genres of Urdu poetry, ghazal and nazm, for Pakistani movies. He started off by scribbling a few songs for the film Miss 56, made in Karachi. Afterwards, following the industry, he shifted to Lahore. One of his early remarkable nazms, Jaagney walo jago magar khamosh raho was recorded for the flick, Khamosh Raho.
The Jalib filmi ghazals that became really famous were Loag dekhein na tamasha meri ruswai ka (film: Maan, bahu our beta: singer: Noor Jehan), Na shaakh hi rahi baqi na aashiana (film: Maan, bahu our beta; singer. Noor Jehan), Aey sham e gham bata ke sahar kitni dour hai, and Ab our paraishan dil e nashad na kerna (film: Maan, bahu our beta: singer: Mehdi Hassan).
The films for which he wrote a variety of songs were Khamosh Raho, Zarqa, Kon kisai Ka, Ye Amn, Qaidi, Bharosa, Paraee Aag, Seema, Do Rastey, Naag Mini, Mausiqaar, Zakhmi, Samaj and Insaan.
The famous music composers who sought Habib Jalib sahib’s talent for their movies included the likes of Khwaja Khurshid Anwer, Rasheed Atrey, Nisar Bazmi, Master Inayat, Khalil Ahmed, Muslahuddin and A Hameed.
For those who may not be familiar with Jalib sahib’s commercial efforts, and only recognize him as a literary poet, the song Raqs zanjeer pahan ker bhi kia jata hai from the film Zarqa might ring a bell. It was perhaps the most popular revolutionary song ever recorded in the history of Pakistani films.