Faridoon Shahryar is four years younger than me. I am 50 years old, he is 46. By the time I took my first steps in the print world by writing letters to the editors of English dailies in Patna and elsewhere, he was already having his poems published in magazines. literary journals in India and abroad.
While I sat down with a typist to have my missives typed – I later learned to type at a training institute which was of great help when I entered journalism – Faridoon sat down with a typist at Shamshad Market in Aligarh to have her poems typed before publishing them on publications in the UK and USA. It was the pre-internet era and many young people cannot believe it took 10 days for a letter to reach England.
Son of the famous Urdu poet Shahryar — his words in Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan and Gaman have won him wide acclaim — and English professor at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Najma Mahmood, Faridoon grew up in an intellectual atmosphere. vibrant. Abandoning the idea of becoming an engineer, he was admitted to BA (English Literature) and read almost anything he could get his hands on. While boys and girls his age on campus were glued to the TV, he isolated himself from the idiot box, devouring books with a dictionary, his constant companion. “I started to think in English. English has therefore never been a foreign language to me. I began to learn English idioms and metaphors in abundance as I read voraciously. Writing poetry came naturally to me, ”he tells me, sipping a cappuccino at a Coffee Day café in Mira Road, a suburb of Mumbai. By the age of 21, his poems had been published in literary journals with famous poets such as Kamala Das, Shiv K Kumar and Tabish Khair. But then writing poetry alone cannot support you. He had to find a job to earn bread and butter. As he liked to write in English, journalism was the right choice to turn to.
He had a good start as a journalist. A training course at the Times School of Journalism in Delhi is supposed to open doors for truly enterprising and hardworking students. His plays on culture, music and the arts have appeared in the featured pages of TOI. During an internship with the now long gone Nation & The World published from a floor of a beautiful bungalow in Nizamuddin West, New Delhi, I remember seeing Faridoon’s articles in the Sunday Review, the good weekly supplement of the Sunday Times of India. . Nation & The World had carried some of his poems as well and I envied him for that. I thought he was destined to reach the top of print media.
However, he developed a passion for cinema and was drawn to film journalism. This brought him to Mumbai where he then set up a hungama as Content Manager at Bollywood Hungama, a digital media entertainment platform. This catapulted him to enormous recognition. Moving with the movers and shakers of the tinsel town, the tall, handsome boy (the result of regular exercise) in the golf cap knows the industry like the back of his hand. Many stars appear on its abbreviated number (note: do not approach it for a contact of anyone or for a presentation request. You will be disappointed).
Being on the Faridoon show is a privilege and a ticket to instant publicity that no star or starlet, director, music director or lyricist can afford to miss. His work has taken him to the four corners of the planet – Busan today, Bali tomorrow, Bangkok the day after. It has won so many awards and quotes from film and entertainment organizations in India and abroad that I once joked, “Faridoon, you have to have a separate house to keep all these awards and quotes.
That he has just released ‘Dust of Sadness’ (Kavishala), his first collection of poetry, does not surprise me. He had to put out an anthology; the surprise is why it took so long for someone who started writing poetry so early (he wrote “Echo of Expectations” at 19 and says it has stood the test of time) . Example of these lines from the poem:
‘An echo of expectations,
In a dimly lit room
A shadow of dreams
To move again,
Lost in his reverie.
It’s a sin to wait,
The speechless cries.
The elegant book is divided into two parts. The first section entitled “Innocence… in search of maturity” contains poems written between 17 and 21 years of his life. The second section titled ‘Maturity… in search of escape includes poems written when he was between 37 and 42 years old. Written with great passion, the poems show empathy, his concern for the world. Creative minds find catharsis in their creations. By writing a poem, an essay, you feel a surge of creativity with a therapeutic impact. A poet is restless unless he has poured out his heart and taken the burdens, he removes his chest. Faridoon is no stranger to this syndrome.
Lately he’s started doing something a little unexpected on the part of a full-time reporter. He decided to record interviews with some of the living legends of Urdu literature. Before death took the literary Shamur Rahman Farooqui away from us, Faridoon had captured some of his thoughts on life and letters for posterity. He watches guest lectures and interviews countless times on YouTube before asking the captions his own questions. He used the same technique when interviewing figures like Iftikhar Aarif and Gopi Chand Narang. The result: immensely enjoyable interviews on videos. They will help future historians of Urdu literature read the minds of these great writers, poets and critics before they write their own books.
Age is on Faridoon’s side. As is his tireless enthusiasm for interacting with people with ideas. We expect more books from him. And not just collections of poetry. An insightful book, based on his own interactions with locals in Bollywood, is a bestseller for sure. He once wrote a ghost book for someone else and got paid handsomely. It’s time to write your own prose book.
Mohammed Wajihuddin, senior journalist, is associated with The Times of India, Mumbai. This piece was retrieved from his blog