Saturday, April 6, 2013



              Photo :L to R Fali Mistry , Agha jaani Kashmiri and Actor Joy Mukerji 



An Autobiography in urdu  by Agha jaani Kashmiri ( 1908-1998 )…

The attractive title to the Book comes from Ghalib’s popular couplet  “Gham-e-hasti  kaa ‘Asad’ kis se ho juz marg ilaaj………..shammaa har rang mein jalti  hai sahar hone tak”.

This is the story of a handsome  poet , actor and successful    story ,  screenplay  and dialogue  writer of yesterdays popularly known as Agha Jaani kashmiri. Truthful and frank , the book takes us back to Awadh where the writer grew in a highly cultured kashmiri shia  family. The family traces its  roots to their great grand father from Kashmir  who   moved to Lucknow during the rule of Nawab Asaf Ud Daula ( 1775-1798 ). These shias from Kashmir settled themselves  in mohallas of shahganj and  Peer Bukhara in Lucknow. Once  away from their motherland , they meticulously ensured best  available education for their  children. Though nothing kashmiri ( In terms of Language or tradition ) is left with  the shias of kashmiri origin , they proudly  suffix kashmiri tag to their names  .

You are taken to Wazirganj locality   where Agha jaani spent his childhood and youth.  You come to know that     Agha jaani  was a shaagird of Arzoo Lucknavi a well known poet from Lucknow .

In the early 1930s, Agha jani Kashmiri was just one amongst hundreds of writers , poets , actors ,lyricists , musicians , directors ,  producers ,photographers etc.etc.  who were involved in the foundation laying of the MEGA CINEMA  that is coming from India at the moment. 


You also come to know how Syed Wajid Hussain Rizvi became Agha jaani Kashmiri. A handsome boy running away from his home to join the shooting of  the film  Shaan e Subah  in Rangoon ( Burma ) and then  shifting to Calcutta   (where he  stayed with  Noted actor and his first cousin Nawaab kashmiri  )to act in several films of that period   and finally landing in Mumbai and knocking the doors of Bombay talkies  to meet Hemanshu Rai . Hemanshu  Rai  listened to  some of his stories and poems and  then immediately asked him to write the story and screen play for  “VACHAN  “ his Movie under launch. This movie was directed by  Franz Osten a German director on the rolls of Bombay Talkies  .

Thereafter this young writer wrote stories , dialogues and screen plays for several successful films. Films like Anmol Ghadi ,  Aurat ,Taqdeer , Mujhe Jeene Do ( Sunil Datt ) ,   Yeh raastay hain Pyaar Ke ,  Ziddi ( Dialogues ),Love in Tokyo ( Joy Mukerjee ), Junglee( Shammi Kapoor ) ,Khilona ( Sanjeev Kumar ) and many more successful films of yesterdays. In all he wrote story/ screenplay or dialogues for about 70 films .

Bombay of early fifties also provided him an opportunity to meet scores of urdu poets , writers and actors some of whom became his close friends. Evening sessions with scotch  flowing in the company of   Ali sardar jafri, Majrooh , Rajinder krishen  and sometimes Josh Malihabaadi  coming from Pakistan  .Sometimes when these parties were organized along with their families  ,  Begum Akhtar  too joined to  sing   Ghalib  , Daag and Mir . Agha Sahib liked  begum singing :

 “ Na sochaa na samjhaa Na seekhaa Na Jaanaa
Mujhay Aaa gayaa Khud ba Khud Dil lagaana ”

Later he bought a  spacious  flat  for his family   located on  fourth floor of a building    KEKI COURT overlooking Arbian sea   .
Agha jaani revived the grand old living style of Lucknow in Mumbai. His wife Khursheed kashmiri and sons Zuhair Kashmiri and sarwar Kashmiri lived with him.The children later moved to Canada. In early seventies , the children   insisted their parents to join them in Canada . Zuhair is a brilliant Journalist and has varied  literary interests  .Agha Jaani and his wife died in Canada in 1998 and 1996 respectively  . Zuhair  has even made one hour documentary on his father with the help from  an independent TV channel of Canada . He shot the documentary in Lucknow  and Mumbai with interviews from Joy Mukerji and Shammi kapoor alongside video footage from some movies scripted by Agha Jaani. 
In his TV interview with Renee Lobo about his documentary  ,Zuhair kashmiri  informs that  his dad was always well dressed and frank and forthright in his dealings .
( Above.. Photograph of Zuhair kashmiri.Born in Bombay, ZUHAIR   began his writing career as a reporter at the Indian Express and is presently  a well known journalist in Canada and USA.)

 Many leading actors of his time  including Ashok Kumar , Devika Rani , Sunil Dutt ,Dilip Kumar , Raj Kapoor , Nimmi and Suraiya held him in high esteem .Joy Mukerji was always grateful to Agha sahib as he learnt many things from him. Shammi kapoor too liked his scripts and  dialogues as these brought him fame  and popularity .
Zuhair informs us that he is translating  his father’s Memoirs to English . He goes on to add that  his father  had desired that the  following couplet be inscribed to the  Tombstone of his grave ;

Zamana bade Shauq se sunn rahaa thhaa
Hum Hi so Gaye dastaan Kehtay Kehtay
( The world kept listening with rapt attention ,
Alas ! It was me who fell asleep while narrating the  tale)

(Autar Mota    06-04-2013…)

 (Many Many Thanks to Brilliant Zuhair Kashmiri for the photographs and other details )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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