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Kaifi Azmi

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Shaukat Kaifi

May 10, 2002, Mumbai


Kaifi Azmi

Shabana Azmi, Baba Azmi

Kaifi Azmi prabookorgwebshowphotojpgid20021

14 January 1919 (
Azamgarh, United Provinces, British India (now in Uttar Pradesh, India)

poet, lyricist, songwriter

National Film Award for Best Lyrics

Heer Raanjha, Garm Hava, Naseem, Naina, Chhoti Bahu

Similar People
Shabana Azmi, Daagh Dehlvi, Mohammed Zahur Khayyam, Shaukat Kaifi, Madan Mohan

Kaifi Azmi | Rare Recording From All India Mushaira

Sayyid Akhtar Hussein Rizvi, known as Kaifi Azmi (14 January 1919 – 10 May 2002) was an Indian Urdu poet. He is remembered as the one who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures. Together with Pirzada Qasim, Jon Elia and others he participated in the most memorable mushairas of the twentieth century.


Kaifi Azmi Great revolutionary Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi Shahernama

aurat by kaifi azmi

Early life

Kaifi Azmi Kaifi Azmi Shayar

Azmi was born into a shia Muslim family in the village of Mizwaa(n) in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh, India.


Kaifi Azmi kaifiazmi1jpg

Azmi was married to Shaukhat Azmi. They have a daughter, Shabana Azmi (An Indian Actress of film, television and theatre) and a son, Baba Azmi (Indian Cinematographer).


Kaifi Azmi Kaifi Azmi Indiancinema Wiki

At age eleven, Azmi wrote his first ghazal Itna To Zindagi Mein Kisi Ki Khalal Pade and somehow managed to get himself invited to a mushaira and over there, he recited a ghazal, rather a couplet of the ghazal which was very much appreciated by the president of the mushaira, Mani Jaisi, but most of the people, including his father, thought he recited his elder brother's ghazal. When his elder brother denied it, his father and his clerk decided to test his poetic talent. They gave him one of the lines of a couplet and asked him to write a ghazal in the same meter and rhyme. Azmi accepted the challenge and completed a ghazal. This particular ghazal was to become a rage in undivided India and it was immortalised as it was sung by legendary ghazal singer, Begum Akhtar. Azmi abandoned his studies of Persian and Urdu during the Quit India agitations in 1942 and shortly thereafter became a full-time Marxist when he accepted membership of the Communist Party of India in 1943. During this period, the leading progressive writers of Lucknow noticed him. They were very impressed by his leadership qualities. They also saw in him a budding poet and extended all possible encouragement towards him. Consequently, Azmi started to win great acclaim as a poet and became a member of Progressive Writers' Movement of India. At the age of twenty-four, he started activities in the textile mill areas of Kanpur. As a full-time worker, he left his life of comfort, though he was the son of a zamindar. He was asked to shift his base to Bombay, work amongst the workers and start party work with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm and at the same time would attend mushairas in different parts of India. In Bombay, he joined Ali Sardar Jafri in writing for the party's paper, Qaumi Jung. In 1947, he visited Hyderabad to participate in a mushaira. There he met, fell in love with and married a woman named Shaukat Azmi. She later became a renowned actress in theatre and films. They had two children together, Shabana Azmi (b. 1950), a renowned actress of Indian cinema and Baba Azmi, a noted cameraman.


Like most of the Urdu poets, Azmi began as a ghazal writer, cramming his poetry with the repeated themes of love and romance in a style that was replete with clichés and metaphors. However, his association with the Progressive Writers' Movement and Communist Party made him embark on the path of socially conscious poetry. In his poetry, he highlights the exploitation of the subaltern masses and through them he conveys a message of the creation of a just social order by dismantling the existing one. Yet, his poetry cannot be called plain propaganda. It has its own merits; intensity of emotions, in particular, and the spirit of sympathy and compassion towards the disadvantaged section of society, are the hallmark of his poetry. His poems are also notable for their rich imagery and in this respect, his contribution to Urdu poetry can hardly be overstated. Azmi's first collection of poems, Jhankar was published in 1943. His important works including anthologies of poetry, were Aakhir-e-Shab, Sarmaya, Awaara Sajde, Kaifiyaat, Nai Gulistan, an anthology of articles he wrote for Urdu Blitz, Meri Awaaz Suno, a selection of his film lyrics, and the script of Heer Ranjha in Devanagari.

His best known poems are Aurat, Makaan,Daaera,Saanp, and Bahuroopni.


Azmi's work in films includes working as a lyricist, writer and actor. Azmi wrote his first lyrics for the film Buzdil, directed by Shaheed Latif and music by SD Burman, released in 1951. His early work as a writer was mainly for Nanubhai Vakil's films like Yahudi Ki Beti (1956), Parvin (1957), Miss Punjab Mail (1958) and Id Ka Chand (1958). While directors like Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Bimal Roy strove to create the "New Cinema", writers like Sahir Ludhianvi, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and Kaifi changed the tenor and vocabulary of the Hindi film song, creating a fresh new wave in Hindi film lyrics that lasted many years. [1] His greatest feat as a writer was Chetan Anand's Heer Raanjha (1970) wherein the entire dialogue of the film was in verse. It was a tremendous achievement and one of the greatest feats of Hindi film writing. Azmi also won great critical accolades for the script, dialogues and lyrics of M.S. Sathyu's Garam Hawa (1973), based on a story by Ismat Chughtai. Azmi also wrote the dialogues for Shyam Benegal's Manthan (1976) and Sathyu's Kanneshwara Rama (1977). As a lyricist and songwriter, though he wrote for numerous films, he will always be remembered for Guru Dutt's Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and Chetan Anand's Haqeeqat (1964), India's greatest war film. Some notables films for which he wrote lyrics include Kohra (1964), Anupama (1966), Uski Kahani (1966), Saat Hindustani (1969), Shola Aur Shabnam, Parwana (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Pakeezah (1972), Hanste Zakhm (1973), Arth (1982) and Razia Sultan (1983). For Naunihal (1967), he wrote the song "Meri Aawaz Suno Pyar ka Raaz Suno" (Hear my voice, hear the secret of love) sung by Mohammad Rafi. The song is picturised over the funeral procession of Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru. Years later, after Azmi's own death his daughter, Shabana Azmi mentioned finding comfort in verses from the song. He also played a memorable role of Naseem's grandfather in Naseem (1995). Azmi died on 10 May 2002 at around the age of eighty three. He was survived by his wife, daughter and son. His autobiography is included in a collection of his works, Aaj Ke Prashid Shayar: Kaifi Azmi.

In media

Azmi was the subject of a documentary film called Diksha (2015), directed by Raman Kumar. In 1997, he recited his own poems for Kaifiyaat, an audio book on his collected works.

Kaifi Aur Mein, a play based on his life, his works and the memoir of his wife, Shaukat Azmi – Yadon Ki Rahguzar (Down Memory Lane), was written and performed by Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, and performed in India as well as abroad in 2006.[2] Another play, directed by Rani Balbir, Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Hasin Sitam, based Kaifi Azmi's life and writings was staged in 2005, and received rave reviews.[3]


He was the recipient of Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award. Besides he was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Award and the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu for his collection Awaara Sajde, Special Award of Maharashtra Urdu Academy, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Lotus Award from the Afro-Asian Writers' Association, and President's Award for national integration. In 1998, Government of Maharashtra conferred the Jyaneshwara Award on him. He was also honoured with the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement.

In 2000, he was conferred the first Millennium Award by the Government of Delhi and the Delhi Urdu Academy. He has also been honoured with a doctorate from Vishva Bharati University, Santiniketan. [4]

Sahitya Akademi Award

  • 1975: Sahitya Akademi Award: Awara Sajde
  • 2002: Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (Immortals of Literature)
  • National Film Awards

  • 1970: National Film Award for Best Lyrics: Saat Hindustani
  • Famous Hindi film songs:

    1. Jeet hi lenge baazi hum tum----------Shola Aur Shabnam

    2. Jane kya dhoondti raheti hai---------Shola Aur Shabnam

    3. Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam--------Kaagaz Ke Phool

    4. Dekhi zamaane ki yaari---------------Kaagaz Ke Phool

    5. Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat--------------Kohra

    6. Ye nain dare dare--------------------Kohra

    7. O beqaraar dil-----------------------Kohra

    8. Zara si aahat hoti hai to------------Haqeeqat

    9. Kar chale hum fida-------------------Haqeeqat

    10. Maye ye soch kar us ke dar se-------Haqeeqat

    11. Pyaasi hirni ban ban----------------Do Dil

    12. Saara mora kajra--------------------Do Dil

    13. Tera husn rahe mera ishq rahe-------Do Dil

    14. Kuchh dil ne kaha-------------------Anupama

    15. Dheere dheere machal----------------Anupama

    16. Ya dil ki suno duniyawaalon---------Anupama

    17. Bahaaron mera jeevan bhi------------Aakhri Khat

    18. Aur kuchh der thaher----------------Aakhri Khat

    19. Mile na phool to kaanto se----------Anokhi Raat

    20. Meri awaaz suno---------------------Naunihal

    21. Tumhari zulf ke saaye me------------Naunihal

    22. Tum se bichhad ke chain kahan-------Maharaja

    23. Tum bin jeevan kaisa jeevan---------Bawarchi

    24. Ye duniya ye mehfil-----------------Heer Ranjha

    25. Do dil toote do dil haare-----------Heer Ranjha

    26. Milo na tum to hum ghabraaye--------Heer Ranjha

    27. Meri duniya me tum aai--------------Heer Ranjha

    28. Simti si sharmaai si----------------Parwana

    29. Jis din se maine tum ko dekha-------Parwana

    30. Ye raat hai pyaasi pyaasi-----------Chhoti Bahu

    31. Aaj socha to aansoo bhar aaye-------Haanste Zakham

    32. Betaab dil ki tamanna---------------Haanste Zakham

    33. Tum jo mil gaye ho------------------Haanste Zakham

    34. Hai tere saath meri wafa------------Hindustan Ki Kasam

    35. Har taraf ab ye hi afsaane hai------Hindustan Ki Kasam

    36. Hone lagi hai raat jawaan-----------Naina

    37. Jalta hai badan---------------------Razia Sultan

    38. Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho---------Arth

    39. Jhuki jhuki si nazar----------------Arth

    40. Koi ye kaise bataaye----------------Arth


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