Thursday, March 6, 2014





“ I was a fan of his style of writing and had started reading his books from a very young age of 14 years or so . I was also deeply influenced by his story Annadata . Later I became sub editor of an urdu journal owned by Shri Shyam Sunder Parwaaz . It so happened that Shyam ji went to Krishan ji along with his journal and sought a story for publication . The journal had my photograph and while going through it , Krishan ji asked Shyam sunder ji “ Who is she ? Does she write also ? Fine Take this story and when I come to Lucknow , introduce me to this girl.”

And not lucknow, I saw krishen Chander at Town Hall Aligarh where he was being felicitated . I was called upon to present a vote of thanks . I spoke frankly about the influence of his style on many writers and young minds in the country apart from presenting the Vote of thanks . I also analyzed some of his stories in a positive frame .
And then after a few days Ali sardar Jafri rang me up and said “What have you said to Krishan?” - I explained that it was my first and genuine reaction. He then told me that Krishan wanted to come over for tea..

After that incident Krishan ji invited me to his younger brother’s wedding. We met again and I asked him about one of his books that i wasn’t able to find at any of the shops. Krishanji said “What would you do with it? My books are not different from me.” I replied “But still I wait for your books” and Krishan quipped “A day will come when you will wait for me!” I couldn’t sense the exact meaning of his words and replied, “Sure, if you will be bringing your books along. And Finally I married Krishan Chander in 1957 at Nainital.

He was so down to earth that it was hard to guess his stature as a writer when he was sitting with his friends. He had no trace of vanity in him. Krishan ji wasn’t a very good conversationalist. I used to tell him- You are a miser when it comes to conversations because you know that if you will talk more you will have less to write.” Krishan ji, replied, “I don’t want to be a miser when I talk to you.”

               ( Salmaji with Sahir Ludhanavi  and Mohinder Nath Brother of Krishen Chander )

"I would be quite amused by his dedication towards his writing. I remember once he kept writing something in his room for very long and I got curious. I picked up a stool and peeked only to get horrified. I had never seen that face of his. It was ablaze with hatred and torment. The story which Krishan ji was writing when I saw him was Aadhe Ghante Ka Khuda. That hatred which I saw on his face was that of the character. Such was his process of writing that he would go through all the pain and anguish that was being inflicted and suffered by his characters. Krishan Ji always said “Every character of mine goes through my own self (Har Kirdaar Mujh Par Se Guzarta Hai)!”

He wrote about two dozen films but he was more of a screenplay and dialogue writer. Films like Mamta, Manchali, Sharafat, Do Chor and Hamrahi brought him success.
His stories were full of socialism but what I find is that the audience of our films is escapist in nature. They might love a piece of writing which delves into exploitation and reality but when they go to a cinema hall they want to forget all such sorrows for a period of time. Krishan ji was by large a literary writer and gave it much more importance than films. His calling was a persisting urge to write. He would say “I am an animal who just knows to write. If I won’t write, I won’t survive.”

Films are designed keeping the market value in mind and they hardly encourage literature.What could an Industry where Aarzoo Lucknowi’s songs and Premchand’s stories not find any takers offer to Krishanji? I can say it with utmost belief from my experience that the Indian Film Industry has a deep rooted aversion towards literature.

I shall tell you a strange incident .When krishan ji was awarded Soviet Land Nehru Award along with Harivansh Rai Bachchan ,Pandit Ji ( Jawahar lal Nehru ) was also there who had, incidentally, read his Novel Ek Gadhe Ki Sarguzasht. This book is a satire on the functioning of the bureaucracy and criticizes state’s China centric policies and Pandit ji was not very happy with it. In the gathering, Pandit ji warmly greeted Bachchan, Teji Bachchan and me but ignored the presence of Krishan ji . Krishan ji also did not get up to shake hands with Pandit ji. Then suddenly Aruna Asaf Ali saw this and asked, “Why Jawahar? You don’t know Krishan?” Nehru replied without looking at Krishan ji “Yes, I do. He is the one who wrote that donkey thing.” But it was Nehru’s way to register his displeasure and there was never any personal animosity between him and Krishan Chander. ”

( Autar Mota 06.03.2014)


This brief post is based on  interviews of Salma ji and  Journalist Shafiq Ahmed appearing in a video and text  uploaded by Film writers Association, Andheri Mumbai . I remain thankful to all of  them . My grateful Thanks to Shri Arif Naqvi  for the photograph.  )

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  1. Very touching. I request Arif Naqvi to provide more glimpses of his interview with Salmaji.

  2. I was working in Bombay Secretariat 1965 in Protocol Cell I had no official quarter and was residing in Parel as PG in the flat of one typist(who got the big flat out of turn by CM V.P. Naik's grace) who worked in Maharashtra CM's office during day time and in the night he typed translated stories of Krishan Chander for Illustarted Weekly and other magazines. There were no computers and no online dictionaries. The typist used to wake me up and he used to ask me what the word was when confused. To return typed stories he used to go to Krisha Chander's residence in Khar (between Bandra and Santacuz)every evening and tell many things to me about KC as to what a gem of man Krishan Chander was. I could read many of his translated stories before they were published by sheer good luck.

  3. Thanks Dr Krantikumar for this wonderful anecdote.Krishen Chander was really a Great writer .


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