Urdu poet, ghazal writer, radio announcer, and Hindi film lyricist, Ahmed (also spelt Ahmad) Wasi is known for films such as Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), Heera Moti (1979), Kanoon Aur Mujrim (1981), and Yatra (2006). Inspired by the famous lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, he started in the film industry with popular music director O P Nayyar. He is also known for his well-appreciated collections of poetry, ghazals and nazms.
Born on 8 October 1942, he hailed from the town of Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh. After graduating from Lucknow University, he pursued a few short term courses and simultaneously started his studies in law. In his twenties, he joined the Vividh Bharati service of All India Radio as a radio announcer. He presented the programme Hello Farmaish in 1963. His proficiency in Urdu literature, combined with a keen interest in Hindi music, saw him grow in popularity as an announcer.
With a gift for penning poetry, he also wrote nazms and ghazals for Urdu magazines. One of his most popular ghazals includes Shaakh se toot ke girne ki sazaa do muhjko, ek patta hi to hoon kyon na hawa do muhko. His talent came to the notice of the musical artist Murli Manohar Swaroop. Thereafter, he began a parallel career in music. His ghazals went on to be rendered by popular artists for HMV.
His foray into the film industry came with the film Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974). When filmmaker S Ali Raza was directing the film, music director O P Nayyar contacted him for writing a cabaret song for the film. He penned the song Aa ke dard jawaan hai which went on to be rendered in the erotic tones of Asha Bhosle. Bhosle would sing all the film’s songs, composed by both S H Bihari and Ahmed Wasi for this action film starring Sunil Dutt and Rekha in the lead roles.
He also wrote songs for the 1979 film Heera Moti, directed by Chand, with music by O P Nayyar. Starring Shatrughan Sinha, Reena Roy, and Danny Denzongpa, the plot revolved around a robbery bid for the precious crown of Lord Krishna in a temple. The songs of the film included Jai Krishna Hare, Jai Shyam Hare rendered by Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey; Zindagi lekar hatheli par deewane aa gaye sung by Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, and Dilraj Kaur; Honth hain tere do lal heere by Mohammed Rafi and Dilraj Kaur; and Main tujh ko maut de doon, Sau saal jiyo tum jaan meri, and Tum khud ko dekhte ho sada all rendered by Dilraj Kaur.
During this rewarding phase of his career, he penned songs like Shaam rangeen huee hai for the film Kanoon Aur Mujrim (1981) and Mere sharik e safar for the film Vali-E-Azam (1987). It was during this phase that his collection of poems in Urdu - Behta Paani was awarded by UP state Urdu academy in 1983.
With the dropping standards in film and ghazal music, he chose to largely withdraw from the scene, to concentrate on writing poetry and on his career as radio announcer. During a programme, his poetic genius was recognised by music director Khayyam, who offered him a song in Ek Hi Manzil (2000). Their successful collaboration also resulted in another success – the music album Asha Aur Khayyam.
In the realm of poetry and literature, he published collections of his poems such as Behta Paani, Jugnu Mere Sath Sath, Baadalon Ke Shaher, Titiliyan, and Tahreeren.
His popular ghazals include Dard thahre to zara dil se koi baat Karen, Pyare pyare yugon mein aae pyare pyare log, Gahraiyon se mujhko kisi ne nikal ke, and Khud ko chhune se dara karte hain. Nazms which he penned include Khwabon ki haqiqat (bachcha), Titliyan (jab aankhen band karta hun), Bada pyara mera hindostan hai (bada pyara mera hindostan hai), Hamd (ai khuda hai tu hi malik-e-do-jahan), and Kirnon ki shahzadi (nil-gagan ke sagar mein ye chand ki kashti dol rahi hai).
While his ghazal Dard thehre to was one of the earliest to be composed in the pop music genre, gaining popularity with the younger generation, he believed that the ghazal ought to be appreciated in its pure form. This saw him conducting workshops on the genre of ghazal for the youth.
He also wrote the script for a short documentary on Naushad called Naushad ki Awaaz which was screened at Ravindra Natya Mandir. He also wrote the title track for serials like Jab Apne Hue Paraye and Na-khuda. Besides hosting an episode of a Doordarshan production highlighting the importance of Urdu in today's world, he also featured as a judge in the ETV Urdu's hunt for budding poetic talent, and penned ghazals for the serial Bikhri Aas Nikhri Preet aired on Doordarshan.
Image courtesy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bQwClZ1F8Y