Wahiduddin Ziauddin Ahmed, better known aPrem SangeetPrem Sangeets W Z Ahmed was an established personality in the film industry in Bombay and Pune, before going on to direct films in Pakistan where he settled post-Partition. W Z Ahmed was born in Gujarat in 1916, to a father who was a police officer in Gujarat, British India. He started off penning dialogues for Kumkum The Dancer (1940) and Raj Nartaki (1941). He went on to produce and direct Ek Raat (1942), (1943), Man Ki Jeet (1944), Prithviraj Samyukta (1946), and Meera Bai (1947). Owner of Pune’s Shalimar Pictures, as well as another studio in Madras, Ahmed was known to employ famous poets and writers of the Progressive Writers Association, such as Josh Malihabadi and Ramanand Sagar.
Settling in Pakistan post Partition, he made two films, Roohi (1954) and Wada (1957); his third film Wafa Ki Ada remained incomplete. Interestingly, Roohi was the first film to be banned in Pakistan on the grounds that it promoted class hatred; the ban was later revoked in 1954. It also created ripples as it portrayed a rich married woman having an affair with a young, unmarried man.
Wada won him the Nigar Award for Best Director. The film had songs penned by noted Pakistani film lyricist Saifuddin Saif with music scored by Rashid Attre. However, Ahmed’s cinematic career did not develop well in Pakistan though he did establish W Z Studios in Lahore, some years after Partition. He spent many years of his life pursuing the ideal of a filmmakers’ cooperative.
Ahmed was reportedly also at the forefront of a campaign against the screening of Indian films in Pakistan, known as the Jaal agitation, after a Dev Anand-starrer of the same name that had been imported out of East Pakistan’s quota—a limited number of Indian films were allowed into Pakistan until then—and then brought over to West Pakistan. The protest had led to his arrest along with that of other protestors in Lahore.
On the personal front, W Z Ahmed’s brothers included Z A Ahmed, a prominent communist politician in Uttar Pradesh, and Zafaruddin Ahmed, who was Deputy Inspector of Police in Karachi.
W Z Ahmed married twice, initially to actress Neena and then with television actress Samina Ahmed. His only son Fariduddin Ahmed, better known as Farid Ahmed, was a talented filmmaker in Pakistan, who passed away prematurely. Ahmed also had a daughter, Afia Rabbani.
W Z Ahmed remained a prominent cultural figure in Pakistan. A man of diverse interests and immense knowledge, he was known to be an excellent story-writer and a director with a vision and skill to mould actors according to his requirement.
W Z Ahmed passed away on 15 April, 2007.