indian cinema heritage foundation

Wali Sahab

  • Real Name: Walli Mohammad Khan
  • Born: 1908 (Bihar, British India)
  • Died: 1977 (Lahore, Pakistan)

Writer, lyricist, producer, and director Wali Sahab is known for his directorial such as Dekho Jee (1947), Heer Ranjha (1948), Lady Doctor (1944), Padmini (1948), Putli (1950), and Zamane Ki Hawa (1952). He also produced Zamane Ki Hawa. Among the popular songs he penned were the bhajan Prabhu mori pariksha naahi kar sung by S D Batish, the ghazal Kis tarah bhoolega dil unka sung by Noor Jehan, the pop song Yeh kaun hansa kisne sitaron ko hansaya by Noor Jehan, the Geeta Dutt-rendered bhajans Hari om tatsat mithya sab, and More ghar shyam ghata nahin barsi. Other songs he penned the lyrics for include Akele mein woh ghabrate toh honge sung by Mohammed Rafi, and Bhool gaya path apna by S D Batish. 

Born in Bihar in old British India in 1908 as Walli Mohammad Khan, his family later moved to Panipat, Punjab, and then settled in Lahore, Punjab. Wali Sahab started writing poetry at a young age. He first started working for the Gramophone Company Of India in the early 1930s. In 1935, he decided to enter films, penning lyrics for songs. His first brush with fame occurred when famous music director Ghulam Haider composed a Naat (religious poem) written by him in 1937 in Lahore. The poem Paigham saba lai hai gulzar-e-nabi se was recorded with vocalist Shamshad Begum. This Naat achieved instant popularity. These were the pioneering times of sound recording after the era of silent films ended in India. 

Wali Sahab went on to pen the lyrics of songs for films such as Gul Bakavli (1939), Yamla Jat (1940), and Gaon Ki Gori (1945). Earning a name for himself, he ventured into producing and directing films. He helmed many films before migrating to Pakistan in 1955. In Pakistan, his first film as producer-director Guddi Gudda (1956) was in the Punjabi language. It became a huge success. After this, Sahab made a few more films in Pakistan before he was curbed by ill-health. His younger brother, Nazim Panipati, was also a well-known lyricist of film songs. 

Wali Sahab passed away in 1977 in Lahore, Pakistan.