Jaan Nisar


Popular As: Jan Nisar Akhtar
Birth: 8th February 1914
Death: 28th August 1976
First Film: Shikayat
Last Film: -
Work Span: 1948-1975

Jan Nisar Akhtar was born on 8th February 1914 in Khairabad, Sitapur, UP. He came from a family of people that encouraged learning and education. Independent thinking and intellectualism were treated as solid virtues in his family. When yound, he took over the religious leadership of a dargah, a responsibility that was inherited by him. He also inherited his writing abilities from several generations of his ancestors, including finally from his father, the Urdu poet Muztar Khairabadi. In that way, Jan Nisar had a genetic start into 'adab' and Urdu poetry and thought.

He matriculated from Gwalior and then went over to Aligarh to study further. from there he graduated in Arts in 1937, and coonsistent with his family's expectations, post graduated two years later. Then he went back to Gwalior and became a lecturer at Victoria College. His writing and shair-o-shairi continued on the side. around this time he got married.

These were the time sof revolutionary thought, and Jan Nisar , alonhgwith other like Sibt-e-Hasan, Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jaffry etc., did lots of work for the communist party and its ideology.He was a strong believer in the good that communism could do for India. But that view was not shared by the government and put out a witch-hunt for the 'fellow travellers' as communists were called. As such Jan Nisar became a wanted man in Bhopal. He had no option but to go underground. When this began to stifle him, he escaped to Bombay. He left his wife and two sons behind.

He got his first writing break in Shikayat in 1948, in which he joined hands with J Nakshab to write songs for music director Rashid Attrey who later went to Pakistan. This was a forgettable start, and after this Jan Nisar did some more forgettable numbers. Then he somehow got to write one song for Anarkali in 1953. This was the only song that was composed by Basant Prakash that was put into the films. Basant was the younger brother of Khemchand Prakash. That song was 'Aye Jaan-e-wafa..duniya ki nazar ishq ke kadmon pe jhuka de...' rendered by Geeta Dutt in the film. This song was a tiny start in his success story. At least now composers and producers knew that he had a literary talent. Around this time his wife died, but he did not go get his sons to Bombay. Instead he put them in the care of his in-laws in Lucknow. Jan Naisar went on to remarry, and this second wife did not get along with her stepsons. This act of his created a bad scene between the writer and his sons. The father and son were hardly on speaking terms. So much so that when, his elder son, Javed Akhtar was getting married the first time, he invited all of his father's friends, except the father himself! In fact the son never forgave his father till the latter was dead.

After Anarkali, Jan Nisar got many films like, Danka, Baraati, Dhoop Chhaon, Baap Re Baap, Chhoo Mantar, and so on. He did many films with maestro O.P. Nayyar. Later in '70s he wrote songs in Noorie, Prem Parbat and Shankar Hussain. even for Naushad in Aaina and Chambal Ki Rani. Earlier he had written lyrics for Naushad in Sohrab Modi's shelved project Pukar, which would bring Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor together again, and for which two songs had been written, composed and recorded. Jan Nisar wrote many books, in addition to his film work. These include Pichhle Pahar, Khaak-e-Dil and Ghar Aangan. Before he passed away, he gave his latest book to his son Javed and wrote in it, "Jab hum na rahenge to bahut yaad karoge". He died on 28th August 1976.

Some of the memorable songs he wrote are, aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein...' (CID), 'Ghareeb Jaan Ke Humko Na Yun Mita...' (Chhoomantar), 'Mud Mud Humko Dekhta...' (Raagini), ' Main Tumhin Se Poochhti Hoon...' (Black Cat), ' Piay Piya Piya Mora Jiya Pukare...' (Baap re Baap), 'Apna To Zamane Mein Itna Hi Fasana Hai...' (Naya Andaaz), ' Bechain Nazar Betaab Jigar...' (Yaasmin), 'Meri Neendon Mein Tum...' (Naya Andaaz), 'Aye Dilruba Nazrein Mila...' (Rustam sohrab), 'Ye Dil Aur Unki Nigahon Ke Saaye...' (Prem Parbat), ' Aap Yun Faaslon Se gujarte Rahe...' (Shankar Hussain), ' Ashaar Mere Yun To Zamane Ke Liye Hain.." (Non film Song), etc.

Contributed by Mr. Manek Premchand
Author: Yesterday's Melodies Today's Memories

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