By Surekha Vijh
My brother, Suryaroy Vijh, an icon in his own way, not only made his niche in the dreamland called Mumbai but also received the highest honor, the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award in 2011 for Lifetime Contribution to Radio, Films and Advertising.
Surya, who lived a life with generous vistas and full creative purpose, in his recent passing leaves behind a huge vacuum for his family and for his friends circle, with whom he had built an amazing bond.
Born in Lahore, just before partition, Surya hailed from a family of well-known pioneers, writers and speakers of Multan, and grew up around Delhi. He had a great command over Hindi, Urdu and English and scaled heights in many creative fields.
After his post-graduation in Hindi literature from Delhi University, he was influenced and encouraged by prominent literary figures like Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan and Dr Dharmavir Bharati and was in the Delhi coffee-house circle and met Nida Fajli and Ravindra Jain, who became lifetime friends. His talent was admired by Dr. Shreedhar Shastri and Dr. Mahendra Kartikeya of Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Prayag. Dr Kartikeya invited him to Mauritius with a group of other young writers. He wrote continuously and thus making a firm standing in literary fields.
The training in filmmaking and script-writing at the prestigious Film Institute of India Pune, with Shatrughan Sinha, Jalal Agha and many top technicians as his course-mates, brought him in the periphery of film-industry and in direct contact with filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak. A panorama of films from the world over further shaped his creative urge and talent.
Surya met stalwarts of the film industry including Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari, Sanjeev Kumar and others and had the chance to narrate his film scripts to them. He wrote the dialogues of a Jahnu Barua film and a Raj Tilak film, as well as the script of Kunwara Badan with Akhtar-ul-Iman.
Yet, there was not much money to be made so his struggle continued. He took up a job under SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment), an ISRO project. He wrote scores of scripts for children’s programs based on science and thus entered the field of advertising, which brought him name, fame and much needed financial security. Also, he was able to encourage many young writers into the fold and considered this as one of his biggest achievements.
One award he cherished most was for the creative use of media and another was for the anti-drug campaign. During this campaign he interacted with JRD Tata, Dr. Kurien, as well as from his own field, Alyque Padamsee, Bal Mundkur and Pt Vinod Sharma.
He continued to write poetry along with a demanding film and advertising career, His ghazals have a pictorial quality – rich imagery and soothing language which reflected many moods. Some of his shers have idiomatic quality:
Har koi pyaka hi muntazir hai agar,
To har rishtey ko alag naam mila kyun hai!
Aisa ahsaas, jis ki shakl ho na surat,
kashish uski bahut hai, chalo baahar chalein!
He learnt some aspects of ghazal from a teacher, Ibrahim Darvesh and by studying others. Some of his ghazals were picked up by his friend, maestro, Jagjit Singh.
Besides many articles and short stories, his published works include 3 poetry collections: Dopahar ke Saayey, Chitkabrey Punkh and Ek Vyakti Bheed Mein. He published one novel Ankurit Pathar and was working on his next novel.
Some of Suryaroy Vijh’s shairy:
Kuch hamari baat hai, kuch hai kahani aapki
Zindagi ki dopehar hai eik nishani aapki
(Something is mine, something is yours
in this afternoon of life, is our story …)
aaj kuch jab beete dino ka jod kar dekha hisaab,
sans to meri hi thi, par thi rawani aapki
(Today when I counted the past breath was mine, but the pulsation was yours.)
eik chota sa aasman hota hai sab ka
hathon se bun kar, aankhon ke sapne,
paanvon se banta chalne ka raasta
eik chota sa aasman hota hai sab ka
(Just a small sky, it is all we have
we weave with hands, the dreams in our eyes,
and pave our way to walk. A small sky, it is all we have.)
The writer, Surekha Vijh, is the youngest sister of Suryaroy Vijh.