Film-writer, lyricist, and publicity campaign designer Akhtar Romani was active in Hindi films in the 50s, 60s and 70s. He penned songs for films such as Noor-e-Yaman (1956), Hatimtai (1956), Hurricane Express (1961), Johar Mehmood In Goa (1964), Insaaf (1966), Gunehgar (1967), Hasina Maan Jayegi (1968), and Gehra Raaz (1971). Among the songs he penned are Chale the saath milke and Bekhudi me sanam uth gaye jo kadam from Haseena Maan Jayegi (1969), Ae dilruba kal ki baat kal ke saath gayi from Anjam (1968), Pyar kiya hai to pyar nibhana from Pyar Ki Baazi (1967), Sapna dekha raat ke jaise from Raat Andheri Thi (1967), Aaja re aaja piya tadpe jiya tere pyaar me from Fauladi Mukka (1965), Paravaradigaar e aalam teraa hi hai sahaaraa from Hatimtai (1956), Ye tune kya kaha and Ye tune kya kaha from Insaaf (1966), and Ye bhigi bhigi raat from Doctor Z (1959). Films he penned dialogue for include Rickshawala (1973), Kachhe Dhaage (1973), Ajnabee (1974), and Kabeela (1976). He also penned the screenplay for Chunaoti (1979).
A contemporary of personalities like Vijay Anand (director), Mahendra Kapoor (playback singer) and Ameen Sayani (radio and stage legend) from his days at St Xavier’s College, Bombay, Romani had a keen interest in the stage. He also represented his college in the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Inter-Collegiate Drama Competition. His penchant for the Urdu language and poetry saw him enter the field of lyric writing for Hindi films in the mid-1950s, soon after completing his college education.
When his college mate Ameen Sayani became a household name as the writer and voice of the popular film song show Binaca Geetmala, and also started producing radio advertising campaigns for Radio Ceylon to promote Hindi films, Romani joined him as a writer. Sayani’s first venture in the film publicity production was Hatimtai in 1956 which featured a hit song by Romani. He worked with Sayani for nearly 15 years. In the late 60s, Romani moved on to penning dialogues for big films such as Do Raaste (1969), Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971), Ajnabee (1974), Mehbooba (1976), Kabeela (1976), and Chunauti (1980). He also penned the screenplay of Chunauti. Directed by Satpal, the film starred Feroz Khan, Dharmendra, and Neetu Singh. Simultaneously, Romani continued with radio as an independent freelance producer, for a few years.
In the course of his career in Hindi films, Romani worked with Raj Khosla on films such as the action drama Mera Gaon Mera Desh starring Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna and Asha Parekh; the hit actioner Kuchche Dhaage (1973) starring Vinod Khanna, Moushumi Chatterjee and Kabir Bedi; and the drama Kabeela starring Feroz Khan, Rekha, Premnath and Bindu. Romani also worked on Shakti Samanta films including Mehbooba which was a hit romantic drama based on the theme of reincarnation, starring Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini and Prem Chopra. He also penned the dialogues for Samanta’s hit Ajanabee, starring Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman.
Romani’s flair for the Urdu language saw him make a significant contribution to penning ghazals, which is considered one of the most appealing forms of Urdu poetry. He penned memorable poems in this genre, sung by various exponents, including the title track of Lalit Gurwara's album, Mein Ghazal Hoon (I am Ghazal), which had music composed by Anup Jalota, and released in 1986.
Akhtar Romani passed away on 14 July, 2015.