Karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi. The famous song from the film Bazaar may not have been written by Sagar Sarhadi. But as, the famed writer and director of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Bazaar, breathed his last, there is much that he shall be remembered for.
Much before he was to wield the directorial baton in 1982 his writing prowess had caught the imagination of cinephiles. Beginning his career in cinema in early 1970, he also wrote dialogues for Basu Bhattacharya’s Anubhav. However, it was his association with Yash Chopra that proved to be the most fruitful. Iconic film Kabhi Kabhie not only firmed up his position as a successful screenplay writer, but also paved way for many more love sagas including Chandni and Silsila. Master of romance, though romanticism, as he said runs in my veins, he remained and died a bachelor.
Born as Ganga Sagar Talwar on May 11, 1933 in Baffa, Abbottabad, now in Pakistan, Partition may have uprooted him from his birthplace. Later he changed his name as a mark of love and respect for the place he belonged to. Unsurprisingly, his heartrending film Bazaar struck a chord as much among viewers in Pakistan as in India. The trigger for the film which poignantly portrayed the story of a Muslim girl being sold off to a man in Gulf came from a newspaper report about bride trade. It was the realistic cinematic treatment with lilting songs that won it much acclaim. Alas, his wish to make a sequel of Bazaar remained un-fulfilled. He did go on to direct a few more films such as Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Amruta Subhash starrer Chausar, which struggled for a release date.
The writer director who was nurtured and associated with the very best literary minds such as Kaifi Azmi, was dismayed with the quality of cinema and songs in his later years. But the ink in his pen remained as fresh, exuberant and in step with times. In 2000 he wrote dialogues for Hrithik Roshan’s launch-vehicle Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai. Many a superstar film such as Shah Rukh Khan starrer Deewana benefited from his writing acumen. Romance that he wove had a relatable feel.
A firm believer of Communism, the blockbusters for which he wrote may not have brought out the Marxist in him. But as a short-story writer and playwright his plays brimmed with the angst he felt and convictions that were born out of his beliefs. His plays on Bhagat Singh and Ashfaqullah Khan were performed widely by Mumbai IPTA. Why he even desired to make a film on Ashfaqullah.
But as Israelmore Ayivor said, “We live for our unfulfilled dreams when we are alive. Our fulfilled dreams live for us when we are gone!” he leaves behind much worth cherishing.