Jan Nisar Akhtar (18 February 1914 – 19 August 1976) was an 20th century Indian poet of Urdu ghazals and nazms, and a part of the Progressive Writers Movement, who was also a lyricist for Bollywood. His career spanned four decades during which he worked with music composers including C. Ramchandra, O.P. Nayyar, N Dutta and Khayyam and wrote 151 songs. Notable among them were songs from his breakthrough film, AR Kardar"s Yasmin (1955), Aankhon hi Aankhon Mein in Guru Dutt"s CID (1956), Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye in Prem Parbat (1974) and Aaja re in Noorie (1979) and his last song, Ae Dil-e-naadaan, in Kamal Amrohi"s Razia Sultan (1983).
His poetry works include Nazr-e-Butaan, Salaasil, Javidaan, Pichali Pehar, Ghar Angan and Khaak-e-dil. The latter ("The Ashes of Heart") was a poetry collection for which he was awarded the 1976 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu by Sahitya Akademi, India"s National Academy of Letters.
He married Safia Akhtar, a teacher and writer in 1943, who in turn was the sister of Majaz, a romantic revolutionary poet. When Jan Nisar moved to Bombay to try his luck as a film lyricist, she stayed back with their children. She died of protracted cancer on 17 January 1953. Thereafter Jan Nisar got married again on 17 September 1956, to Khadija Talat. "Tumhare Naam", a collection of letters from 1 October 1943 to 29 December 1953 penned by Safia Akhtar, were first published in 1955 in two volumes under the title, "Harf-e-Aashna" and "Zer-e-Lab", this Hindi translation, was by Professor Asghar Wajahat, former Head of the Hindi Department, Jamia Millia Islamia was released in 2004.
Baap Re Baap (1955)
Black Cat (1956)
Rustom Sohrab (1963)
Prem Parvat (1974)
Shankar Hussain (1977)
Razia Sultan (1983)
Producer : Bahu Begum (1967)
Khak-e-dil, Publisher: Nagara Tabaat, 1973.
Hindustan Hamara, Volume 1 & 2. 1965, 1974.
Harf-e-ashna: Khatoot (Letters)
Ja-Nisar Akhtar ki Shairi: Urdu Hindi me yakja, tr. by Amar Dihlavi. Publisher Star, 1983.
Kuliyat-e-Jan Nisar Akhtar. Publisher: Al-Muslim, 1992.
Hamara Hindustan (anthology), Rajkamal Publications, 2006.
Nigahon Ke Saaye, ed. Vijay Akela, Rajkamal Publications, 2006. ISBN 81-267-1265-1.