Renowned poet and lyricist Kaifi Azmi died on Friday morning after a long illness at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai.
Azmi, 87, is survived by wife Shaukat, actress daughter Shabana and son Baba Azmi.
Born Akhtar Hussain Rizvi, in Mijwan, in Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh district in 1915, Azmi penned his first poem at the age of 11. At 19, he joined the Communist Party of India as an active party worker.
He arrived in Mumbai in 1943, when the Communist Party of India opened its head office in the city. He edited Mazdoor Mohalla and worked with Quami Jung (both Urdu newspapers). That year, he also published Jhankar, his first collection of verses.
In 1948, Azmi started his career as a lyricist with Shaid Latif's Buzdil with the song Rote rote guzar gayi raat re.
He went on to write songs for Kaagaz Ke Phool (Waqt ne kiya kya hasin sitam, Dekhi zamane ki yaari); Shama; Pakeezah (Chalte chalte yun hi koi mil gaya tha); Haqeeqat (Kar chale hum fida jaan-o-tan saathiyo, ab tumhaare hawaale watan saathiyo), Heer Ranjha (Ye duniya ye mehfil); Aakhri Khat (Baharon mera jiwan sanwaaro); Kohraa (Ye nayan dare dare); Arth (Tum itna jo muskura rahi ho), Anupama (Dhire dhire machal aye dile beqarar).
Azmi also wrote dialogues for Shyam Benegal's Manthan and M S Sathyu's Garam Hawa. His contributions to Indian literature span works such as Jhankar, Akhr-E-Shab, Awara Sajde and Sarmaya. He has been acclaimed and awarded for the preservation of Urdu poetry. His worked voiced his deep social concerns and secular sentiments.
Azmi was conferred the Doctorate in Literature from Vishwa Bharati University, the Yuva Bharati from the Uttar Pradesh Government, the Lotus Award, Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, Qainat Award and Sant Dhyaneshwar Award from the Maharashtra State Urdu Academy. The UP Government also named a road from Sultanpur to Phoolpur as the Kaifi Azmi Highway, in his honour.
His daughter, renowned actress, social activist and Rajya Sabha MP Shabana Azmi and her husband poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar were not available for comment at the time of going to press. Son Baba Azmi is a renowned cinematographer whose works include films such as Shekar Kapur's Mr India, N Chandra's Tezaab, Boney Kapoor's Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Prem, and Inder Kumar's Dil and Ishq. Baba's wife Tanvi is a reputed actress in her own right as well.
Azmi had expressed a wish to be buried at Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. He is likely to be buried in Mumbai at 5 pm on Friday.
Tell us what you think of this report