Urdu poet, short story writer, lyricist and film writer, Aziz Qaisi is known for films such as Rakhi Aur Hathkadi (1972), Ankur (1974), Dayavan (1988), Indrajeet (1991), and Dushman Duniya Ka (1996). Books that he authored include Aaina-dar-Aaina, Gird-bad, and the popular novel Dusre Kinare Tak. An intelligent poet of the modernist mode, he was known to strike a balance in his compositions, also respecting classical traditions. He penned the lyrics of songs such as Khuli khuli zulfon ko baandh bhi lo from Banarasi Thug (1962), Oonch neech beech kaisi adbhut bhari khaani from Oonch Neech Beech (1989), and Aaj phir tum pe pyar aaya hai from Dayavan.
He was born Aziz Muhammad Khan on July 1, 1931 in Hyderabad, the son of Mahmood Khan, a government servant. Possessing a passion for poetry from his childhood, he came to Mumbai in 1957. Becoming a part of the city’s literary scene, he was associated with the Progressive Writers’ Movement. Poems he had composed were published in magazines and newspapers, and some were also recited on radio.
Qaisi went on to enter films, writing for the Nitin Bose directorial Hum Kahan Ja Rahe Hain (1966) and penning the screenplay for Rakhi Aur Hathkadi (1972), followed by Bansi Birju (1972), and Ankur (1974). Not exactly enamoured with the film industry, he chose to takeup a job with the daily newspaper, Inqilab. However, his apparent mercurial nature did not see him continue in the position for long. He went on to be associated with several films, such as Bansi Birju (1972), which starred Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri, telling the story of Bansi and Birju who get married in their village.
He penned Kunwara Baap (1974), directed by and starring Mehmood. The film is based on Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921), and delivers a serious message about polio vaccination. He is, perhaps, most remembered for his dialogue writing in the film Ankur. While he wrote the script of Apne Apne (1987), he penned the dialogues and lyrics for Dayavan (1988), the screenplay for Indrajeet (1991), and the dialogue, story, and screenplay for Dushman Duniya Ka (1996). Apne Apne was produced and directed by Ramesh Behl under the Rose Movies banner. It starred Jeetendra, Hema Malini, and Rekha with music composed by R D Burman. Dayavan was a crime drama directed by Feroz Khan. A remake of the 1987 Tamil film Nayakan, it starred Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan and Madhuri Dixit, and was a box office success. Indrajeet was an action film directed by K V Raju, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Prada in lead roles. The film was a remake of the director’s Kannada film Bandha Muktha (1987). Qaisi’s Dushman Duniya Ka was a drama film directed by Mehmood. It starred Jeetendra, Sumalatha and others, with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan putting in special appearances.
Regarded as an important poet who made a key contribution to Urdu poetry post 1947 and introduced new trends, Aziz Qaisi’s poems were published in three collections. Known primarily as a poet who composed ghazals and nazms, he also wrote prose, his works have been translated into English as well as other Indian languages. His work has been part of various anthologies of Indian and Urdu literature.
Aziz Qaisi passed away on 30 September, 1992.