Bollywood songs can’t be called ‘shayri’: Urdu scholar

Kolkata, Jan 11 (IANS) Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, one of India’s leading Urdu scholars and poet, says the lyrics of Bollywood films can in no way be called shayri or Urdu poetry even if they do incorporate Urdu words.

“In some old films there were bits of shayri, but the new ones are in no way shayris…,” he said.
“The songs in films leave nothing to the imagination…to be interpreted by the audience…they are like reports. They are not poems, which basically give people a lot to think about.”
Speaking at a session of the ongoing Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival here Friday, Faruqi asserted though the volume of work produced in Urdu has gone up, the quality of a majority of them is “deplorable”.
“Now there are so many journals…as many as 500 to 600 journals are there…but the quality is very poor,” lamented Faruqi, who received the prestigious Saraswati Samman in 1996 for his contribution to Urdu literature.
Echoing him, acclaimed Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi said Hindi literature was passing through a similar situation.
Faruqui also highlighted how the world wide web had helped in spreading Urdu, but he is not sure how much of the work available online is good.
Another issue, according to the critic, is the restriction of the study of the subject to specific courses.
“People read what’s there in their syllabus…nothing beyond that,” he said.