Google Doodle celebrates Kaifi Azmi - the man who brought Urdu literature to Hindi cinema

  • Today, Google Doodle is honouring an Indian poet Kaifi Azmi to mark his 101st birth anniversary.
  • Azmi brought urdu literature to Indian cinema with motion pictures.
  • He published his first set of poetry named Jhankar in 1943.
Today, Google Doodle is honouring Indian poet Kaifi Azmi — the man who brought Urdu literature to Indian cinema. The doodle marks his 101st birth anniversary.

Though he is popularly known as Kaifi Azmi, his full name is Sayyid Athar Hussein Rizvi. At the age of 11, he composed his first poem. Needless to say, he grew up to become one of India’s most renowned and cherished poets of the 20th century. He has an array of ghazals, nazms and mushairas to his name.

In 1942, when India was still under British rule, Azmi answered Mahatma Gandhi’s call to Quit India. He left his hometown in Uttar Pradesh and moved to Bombay to write for an Urdu newspaper. A year on, he published his first set of poetry named Jhankar.

The man who wore pyjamas all day

Arts also run in his family. His daughter Shabana Azmi is a popular actress and and his son Baba Azmi is a well-known cinematographer. A young Shabana however had her qualms about her father’s profession and had lied to her friends that he did some vague ‘business.’

“He didn’t go to ‘office’ or wear the normal trousers and shirt like other ‘respectable’ fathers but chose to wear a white cotton kurta-pyjama 24 hours of the day. He did not speak English and worse still, I didn’t call him ‘Daddy’ like other children, but some strange sounding ‘Abba’!,” she recalled.

To everyone else though, Kaifi Azmi was known as a passionate social activist. He was also a member of Progressive Writers’ Association. The association worked on implementing socio-economic reform via writings and poetry.

In one of his early writeups — ‘Aurat’ — he spoke for women empowerment and equality. He later founded an NGO that worked to improve the lives of women in rural India.

Azmi was also a famous film lyricist who wrote songs like Heer Ranjha, Kaghaz ke Phool in mainstream hindi movies. He was awarded three Filmfare awards for Garam Hawa, Padma Shri Award for Literature and Education, and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2002 — which is the highest literary honour in India.

Azmi passed away in 2002.

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