Akhtar ul Iman

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Akhtar ul Iman (Urdu: اختر الایمان ‎)
Born Akhtar
12 November 1915
Quila, Dist. Garhwal, Uttarkhand
Died 9 March 1996
Cause of death
Heart failure[citation needed]
Resting place
Bandra Qabristan, Mumbai
Bandra East
Residence Mumbai
Nationality Indian
Education Master of Arts in Urdu Literature[citation needed]
Alma mater Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University
Occupation poet, screenwriter
Employer Freelance and B.R. Films assigned cine writer (1960–1980)
Known for Urdu Nazm, poet screenwriter and playwright
Home town Najibabad,Bijnore
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Sultana Iman
Children One son and three daughters: Ramish Iman, Shehla Khan, Asma Husain, and Rakhshinda Khan
Relatives Sons-in law: Amjad Khan, Fahim Khan, Husain Ehtisham
Signature AkhtarAutograph.jpg

Akhtar ul Iman (1915–1996) was a noted Urdu poet and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who had a major influence on modern Urdu nazm.[1][2]

He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue in 1963 for Dharmputra and 1966 for Waqt. He was awarded the 1962 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, for his Poetry Collection, Yadein (Memories), by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Qila, Najibabad, in the Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh in 1915.

He gained his initial education at Bijnor, where he came in contact with poet and scholar Khurshid ul Islam – who taught at Aligarh Muslim University – and developed a long association with Ralph Russell. He graduated from the (Zakir Husain College) in Delhi.[4]


After receiving a Master of Arts in Urdu Literature from Delhi University, he worked in the Civil Supplies Department[vague] and All India Radio in Delhi. From 1945 after he moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), he started working for Hindi cinema as a script writer.[citation needed]

His poetry is highly individualistic and innovative.[neutrality is disputed] He stands apart from other poets of his time in his themes, style, language.[neutrality is disputed] He preferred nazm over more popular ghazal as a mean of poetic expression. Akhtar ul Iman's language is "coarse and unpoetic".[this quote needs a citation] He uses "coarse" and mundane poetic expressions to make his message effective and realistic.[5] His poetry strives to find out a balance between the conflicting or extreme choices faced by man.[citation needed] He chose free verse for his nazms to make his conversational style of expression more realistic.[citation needed]

He was strongly influenced by Meeraji and N. M. Rashid and is more similar to them than other poets of his era. He was close friend of Meeraji, who lived with him until his death. Together they formed the Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Adab ("Circle of friends of Poetry").[citation needed] Poets who belong to this circle wrote independently of the ideology and standards set by the Progressive Writers' Movement. Although they were few in numbers they contributed significantly and had a major influence on later generations of poets.[citation needed] It was also a starting point of Modernisnm in Urdu.[citation needed]

He left behind a substantial legacy for new generation of poets to follow which explores new trends and themes in modern Urdu poetry giving a new direction to the modern and contemporary Urdu nazm with emphasis on philosophical humanism.[6]

He was the father-in-law of actor Amjad Khan.



Iss Aabad Kharabe Mein (Urdu)-published by Urdu Academy, Delhi, India. Autobiography of a famous Urdu writer of India.


He has published seven collections:

  • Tareek Sayyara (1943)
  • Gardyab (1946)
  • Aabjoo (1959)
  • Yaden (1961)
  • Bint-e-Lamhaat (1969)
  • Naya Ahang (1977)
  • Sar-o-Samaan (1983)


  • Sabrang (1948): a one-verse play.

Translation and compilation by others[edit]

  • Zamistan Sard Mehrika (Urdu)- Last Poetic Collection of an unforgettable Urdu poet. Compiled and edited by Sultana Iman and Bedar Bakht.
  • Query of the Road – Selected Poems of Akhtar-ul-Iman with Extensive Commentary by Baidar Bakht

Indian cinema[edit]

His contribution to Hindi cinema is significant, keeping in mind the number of landmark and hit movies he has contributed as a script writer (dialogue, story and screenplay).[citation needed] His first landmark movie was Kanoon, which became a big hit despite the fact that it had no songs or comedy sequences.[citation needed] This achievement remains unparalleled in Hindi cinema.[citation needed] Other important movies to which he contributed as a script writer were Dharmputra (1961) – for which he received a filmfare award – Gumrah, Waqt, Patther ke Sanam, and Daagh.

The one movie which has his lyrics is Bikhare Moti.


Literary awards

and Numerous other literary awards.


  • Vijay (1988) – writer
  • Chor Police (1983) – writer
  • Lahu Pukarega (1980) – director
  • Do Musafir (1978) – writer
  • Chandi Sona (1977) – writer
  • Zameer (1975) – writer
  • 36 Ghante (1974) – writer
  • Roti (1974) – writer
  • Naya Nasha (1973) – writer
  • Bada Kabutar (1973) – writer
  • Daag (1973) – writer
  • Dhund (1973) – writer
  • Joshila (1973) – writer
  • Kunwara Badan (1973) – writer
  • Dastaan (1972) – writer
  • Joroo Ka Ghulam (1972) – writer
  • Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) – writer
  • Chirag (1969) – writer
  • Ittefaq (1969) – writer
  • Aadmi (1968) – writer
  • Hamraaz (1967) – writer
  • Patthar Ke Sanam (1967) – writer
  • Gaban (1966) – writer
  • Mera Saaya (1966) – writer
  • Phool Aur Patthar (1966) – writer
  • Bhoot Bungla (1965) – writer
  • Waqt (1965) – writer
  • Shabnam (1964) – writer
  • Yaadein (1964) – writer
  • Aaj Aur Kal (1963) – writer
  • Akeli Mat Jaiyo (1963) – writer
  • Gumrah (1963) – writer
  • Neeli Aankhen (1962) – writer
  • Dharmputra (1961) – writer
  • Flat No. 9 (1961) – writer
  • Barood (1960) – writer
  • Kalpana (1960) – writer
  • Kanoon (1960) – writer
  • Nirdosh (1950) – writer
  • Actress (1948) – writer
  • Jharna (1948) – writer

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian literature vol. 1 By various pages 120–121
  2. ^ Akhtar ul-Iman An anthology of modern Urdu poetry, by Rafey Habib. Publisher: Modern Language Association (MLA), 2003. ISBN 0-87352-797-6. p. 109.
  3. ^ Sahitya Akademi Award – Urdu Sahitya Akademi Award Official listings.
  4. ^ Alumni Zakir Husain College Official website.
  5. ^ Modern Indian Literature: An Anthology, by K. M. George, various, Sahitya Akademi
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian literature vol. 1
  7. ^ Awards IMDB

External links[edit]