Kaifi Azmi – Rebel With a Cause

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Chalte Chalte yu hi koi mil gaya tha…..

Yeh duniya yeh mehfil……

Ab tumhare hawale watan saathiyo…..




These popular lyrics are in the tip of the tongue of every other Indian no matter how faint is their idea about Bollywood. Apart from this, how can one forget the popularity of these songs when it comes to staple game like Antakshari. So be it any person across generation, they all are familiar to such songs, thereby holding on to their significance even today. But it is true that in the act of humming such lyrics which people have almost imbibed in their mind, they have forgotten to appreciate the man who has given such divine, never to be forgotten lyrics.

Kaifi Azmi, the man of words, died on May 10th, 2002 leaving behind a repertoire of poetry in Urdu and songs which he had contributed to Hindi Cinema. He was survived by his wife Shaukat Kaifi(Indian actress), daughter-Shabana Azmi (Indian Actress) and son Baba Azmi (Cinematographer). At the age of eleven he recited his first ghazal Itna to zindagi mein kisi ki khalal pade in a Mushaira. Later he and his poetry became significant in many Mushairas and from there on time noted the making of a legend. He wrote several poems in Urdu revolving around the romantic spirit of a poet. His writings captured the eyes of the Progressive Writers’ Movement back in 1943. His involvement with Communist Party and Progressive Writers’ Movement awakened him to write socially conscious poetry. He made his poetry an instrument of bringing awareness and change in the society. Some of his famous poems include ‘Aurat,’ ‘Makaan’, ‘Daera,’ etc. Kaifiat includes his complete works of poetry. Eventually Azmi made his presence felt in the Indian Cinema. He wrote his first lyrics for the movie Budzil, and then with an accelerated pace came lot other movies where Azmi established himself as a noted lyricist. Today he is counted among those who had changed the trend of vocabulary in Hindi Cinema. AnupamaKaagaz ke Phool, , Haqueeqat, Kohra, Saat Hindustani, Baawarchi, Pakeezah, are some movies for which Azmi worked as a song writer and lyricist. Kuchh Dil ne Kaha from the movie Anupama, sung in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar is one among those evergreen numbers of Azmi, which continues to mesmerize listeners even today. Not only this, but he is also remembered for the script that he wrote for Heer Ranjha (1970).

Azmi was born in Mijwa, a small village in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh and had decided to spend the last twenty years of life there itself transforming the small village into a model village. He had established a NGO Mijwan Welfare Society which takes care of children and women through their various programmes. Along with his contribution in Politics, Azmi’s role in Indian literature holds much of importance. He was awarded with Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, Sahitya Akademi Award, to name a few. Records show that he was awarded doctorate from many universities, Vishwa Bharti University in Shanti Niketan being the most important one.

Apart from being a person of politics and literature, Azmi was a devoted father. Shabana Azmi in the website ‘Rebel With a Cause’ has confessed that when everybody  around her turned against her alliance with Javed Akhtar, it was her dad who had shown immense trust on her as well as on her choice. Shabana Azmi has also written about Javed Akhtar and her father both being  political animals and it was their conversation about politics that drove Shabana Azmi’s interest in the same. Azmi (Kaifi Azmi) shared a good relationship with not only his family but also with Javed Akhtar and he was proud of his son in law.

Azmi was known as the Rebel with a Cause (title of Kiafi Azmi’s official website) for trying to bring in changes in every other domain he had stepped into. There cannot be a better time to remember this Legend than on his death anniversary and take out some time from our life to appreciate him for his contribution to Indian society.

Passionate about watching movies and loves listening to songs.

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