Akhtar ul Iman (1915–1996) was a noted Urdu poet and screenwriter in Hindi cinema, who had major influence on modern Urdu nazm.
He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue in 1963 for Dharmputra and 1966 for Waqt. He was awarded the 1962 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, for his Poetry Collection, Yadein (Memories), by Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters,
He was born in Qila, Najibabad, in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh in 1915.
His initial education happened at Bijnor, where he came in contact with Khurshid ul Islam, poet and scholar, who taught at Aligarh Muslim University, and developed a long association with Ralph Russell), he graduated from the Anglo-Arabic College (Zakir Husain College), Delhi.
After graduating from Delhi University, he worked in Civil Supplies Department and All India Radio at Delhi. From 1945 after he moved to Mumbai (then Bombay), he started working for Hindi cinema as a script writer.
His poetry is highly individualistic and innovative. He stands apart from other poets of his time in his themes, style and language. He preferred nazm over more popular ghazal as a mean of poetic expression. Akhtar ul Iman's language is "coarse and unpoetic". He uses 'coarse" and mundane poetic expressions to make his message effective and realistic. His poetry strives to find out a balance between the conflicting or extreme choices faced by man. He chose free verse for his nazms to make his conversational style of expression more realistic.
He was strongly influenced by Meeraji and N M Rashid and is more closer and similar to them than other poets of his era. He was close friend of Meeraji and Meeraji lived with him till his death. They together formed Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Adab (Circle of friends of Poetry). Poets who belong to this circle wrote independent of the ideology and standards set by Progressive Writers' Movement, although they were few in numbers but contributed significantly and had major influence on later generations of poets. It was also a starting point of Modernisnm in Urdu.
He left behind a substantial legacy for new generation of poets to follow and exploring new trends and themes in modern Urdu poetry giving a new direction to the modern and contemporary Urdu nazm with emphasis on philosophical humanism.
He was the father-in-law of actor Amjad Khan.
He has written seven collections of poetry and his autobiography Is Aabad Kharabe Mein (URDU)-published by Urdu Academy, Delhi, India. His poetry collections are as below:
He has about seven collections of poetry to his credit.
- Tareek Sayyara (1943)
- Aabjoo (1959)
- Naya Ahang (1977)
- Sar-o-Samaan (1983)