Wednesday, March 16, 2016

REMEMBERING KHWAJA AHMED ABBAS


                                                                       

“ ME JAA CHUKAA HUUN PHIR BHI TERI MEHFILON MEIN HUUN “


K A ABBAS (1914- 1987)

Yes he is K A Abbas . Lonely , left out by people ( whom he helped to grow ) at the fag end of his life. Cooking his own food in a small flat that he acquired after he lost everything in his production venture ” Chaar Dil Chaar Raahein “ (1959) . Many betrayals visited him and made him to suffer but he never opened his mouth . At heart , he remained a child . Simple, without malice , sensitive and forgiving but emotional to the core; That was K A Abbas . Any scene that touched him brought tears to his eyes .Any story that he heard made him pensive . Those who worked with him were often touched by his childlike simplicity .

A small, simple , ground-floor flat , a small Table , Some chairs and books . Here in this room , sitting on his chair and sometimes sitting on the mattress below, he wrote some master pieces for Indian Cinema. He wrote short stories , Books , Plays , columns and articles for many News papers . On the simple white washed walls of his room , a visitor would see  photographs of Abbas with Khrushchev, Tito, Nasser or Nehru.  And here ,he would be seen cooking his own food or making Tea  for the guests that visited him .
                                                                   

Actor Tinu Anand ( son of inder Raj Anand ), who treated him like his father would drop in and be by his side during those critical days . Inder Raj Anand  was always  dear friend  to Abbas .
                                                                         

He was the man who gave first break to Amitabh Bachan in Saat Hindustani (1969) . Amitabh once clarified this issue in an interview . And before allowing him to report for shooting , Abbas spoke over telephone to his father Dr Harivansh Rai Bachan to confirm that Amitabh had not run away from his home. Dr Harivansh Rai Bachan was a personal friend of Abbas .

His wife died at a young age . He had a daughter. He helped his friends and relatives in whatever way he could. He would make it a point to attend marriage functions and other events of his friends and relatives . A present on Walima or Gift on Birthdays would always come from his side .

He remained connected to IPTA , never joined any political party or group but remained steadfast in his commitment to Socialism and Democracy .

Great Grandson of well known urdu poet Altaf Hussain Hali from Panipat, K A Abbas was doyen of paralell cinema.The man who wrote Naya Sansar  for Himanshu Rai and the man who gave a new lease of life to Raj kapoor ( His life long friend ) after the Great showman landed  himself  in severe financial Mess with his Autobiographical venture “ Mera Naam Joker “. For his friend he compromised with his story and script and wrote a playful teen-romance Bobby. And that turned out to be a superhit ! Raj Kapoor not only paid all his debts but also earned enough for his newer Projects.

For his friend Raj kapoor , He also wrote many successful films like Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Jagte Raho(1956), Boot Polish etc.. RK banner’s Henna (1991), which was directed by Randhir Kapoor, was also based on one his stories. In fact , he also wrote the beginning and end of Raj Kapoor’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili, a fact that not many people know.

In 1953 he made Rahi (1953), a story by Mulk Raj Anand, depicting the plight of workers in tea-plantation estates. His next film, Munna, (1954) so impressed Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister, that he expressed a wish to meet the child actor of the film, Master Romi. Some other films of Abbas come to my mind at the moment . I can recall Shehar Aur Sapna (1963) that won the National Film Award ,Bombay Raat ki Bahoon Mein , Asmaan Mahal and Do Boond Pani (1972).

And for 35 years , he wrote the last page of Bombay’s popular English Tabloid BLITZ. As a matter of fact , this tabloid had ever widening readership on account  of the last page that Abbas wrote  . He wrote it in his unique  humanistic and beautiful style.

I still remember his short story Abaabeel ( Swallow ) and the central Character Rahim Khan . I believe I read the story sometime around 1985. He was as brilliant as Ernest Hemingway .

 Abbas was a Kashmir lover. He had so many close friends and admirers  in Kashmir both in literary and political fields .
                                                                   
   ( 1947..K A Abbas in kashmir with  Navtej singh ,Som Nath Zutshi and Rajinder Singh Bedi )

So Long so much . More some other time.

I end this post with some couplets of Ahmed Faraaz ,

Aey Yaar e Khush Dayaar Tujhe Kyaa khabar Ki me
Kab se Udaasiyon ke Ghane Jangalon Mein Huun
Tu Loot kar Bhi Ahle Tamanna Ko Khush Nahin
Me luut Ke Bhi Vafaa ke Unheen Kaafilon Mein Huun…”

( Autar Mota )








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