wiki:K A Abbas

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Khwaja Ahmad Abbas

Hindi-Urdu director and scenarist mainly in the socialist-realist mode. Born in Panipat, Haryana; grandfather is the well-known poet Hali. Graduated from Aligarh Muslim University (1933). Journalist, novelist and short-story writer with prodigious output. Worked on National Call, a New Delhi paper (1933); started Aligarh Opinion when studying law (1934); obtained law degree in 1935; political correspondent and later film critic for nationalist Bombay Chronicle, Bombay (1935- 47) praising Dieterle, Capra and esp. Shantaram. Wrote Indian journalism’s longest- running weekly political column, Last Page (1941-86), in Chronicle and Blitz. Best-known fiction (Zafran Ke Phool situated in Kashmir, Inquilab on communal violence) places him in younger generation of Urdu and Hindi writers with Ali Sardar Jafri and Ismat Chughtai, whose work followed the PWA and drew sustenance from Nehruite socialism’s pre- Independence, anti-Fascist and anti-communal commitments. Founder member of IPTA’s all- India front (1943), to which he contributed two seminal plays: Yeh Amrit Hai and Zubeida. Entered film as publicist for Bombay Talkies (1936) to whom he sold his first screenplay, Naya Sansar (1941). First film, Dharti Ke Lal, made under IPTA’s banner and drew on Bijon Bhattacharya’s classic play Nabanna (1944), dealing with the Bengal famine of 1943. Set up production company Naya Sansar (1951), providing India’s most consistent representation of socialist-realist film (cf. Thoppil Bhasi and Utpal Dutt). Best work is in the scripts for his own films and for those of Raj Kapoor (Awara, 1951; Shri 420, 1955, both co-written with V.P. Sathe; Jagte Raho, 1956; Bobby, 1973) and Shantaram’s Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946; adapted from his own book, And One Did Not Come Back), which combined aspects of Soviet cinema (Pudovkin) and of Hollywood (e.g. Capra and Upton Sinclair), influencing a new generation of Hindi cineastes (Kapoor, Chetan Anand) and sparking new realist performance idioms (Balraj Sahni). His Munna, without songs or dances, and Shaher Aur Sapna, cheaply made on location in slums, were described as being influenced by neo-realism. Pardesi is the first Indian-Soviet co-production, co- directed by Vassili M. Pronin. The landmark Supreme Court censorship judgement about his Char Shaher Ek Kahani (aka A Tale of Four Cities) curtailed ‘arbitrary’ governmental pre- censorship powers on the grounds that the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to free speech. Published many books including I Am Not An Island and Mad Mad World of Indian Films (both 1977). Other important scripts: Neecha Nagar (1946); Mera Naam Joker (1970); Zindagi Zindagi (1972); Henna (1991). Abbas also brought a number of new talents into the film industry, such as Amitabh Bachchan in Saat Hindustani. Filmography:

1946: Dharti Ke Lal; 1947: Aaj Kal Aur Aaj 1952: Anhonee; Rahi/Two? Leaves And A Bud; 1954: Munna; 1957: Pardesi; 1959: Char Dil Char Raahein;

1960: Id Mubarak (Sh); 1961: Gir Game Sanctuary (Doc); 1962: Gyarah Hazaar Ladkiyan; 1963: Shaher Aur Sapna; Teen Gharaney; 1964: Hamara Ghar;


Aasmaan Mahal; Tomorrow Shall Be Better (Sh); 1967: Dharti Ki Pukaar (Sh); Bambai Raat Ki Bahon Mein; 1968: Char Shaher Ek Kahani (Doc); 1969: Saat Hindustani; 1971: Do Boond Pani; Lav Kush (Sh); 1972: Bharat Darshan (Doc); 1973: Kal Ki Baat (Sh); Juhu (TV-Sh); 1974: Faasla; 1975: Papa Miyan of Aligarh (Doc); 1976: Phir Bolo Aaye FILMOGRAPHY: 1967: Koyna Nagar (Doc); Sant Kabir (Doc); 1978: Dr Iqbal (Doc); 1979: 1969: Priya (Sh); Hides And Strings (Doc); The Naxalites; 1983: Hindustan Hamara (Sh); 1984: Nanga Fakir (TV); Mr. X (unfinished).

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