Abrar Alvi is regarded as the first modern writer of Hindi cinema. He is known as a screenwriter and dialogue writer. He has also directed a single movie in his career for filmmaker Guru Dutt — it’s the classic ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ released in 1962, which won President’s Silver Medal for best feature film in Hindi and Filmfare best director award. He lived most of his life as Guru Dutt’s resident writer.
Abrar Alvi became popular simply by using down-to-earth, matter-of-fact dialogues and realistic language. Whether it is the exuberant Aar Paar or the soulfully poetic Kaagaz Ke Phool Abrar Alvi is remembered for his films till date. Though he wrote dialogues and screenplays primarily for his close associate, Guru Dutt, Abrar Alvi is famous for some of the most memorable screenplays in Indian cinema.
Guru Dutt’s Mr. and Mrs. 55 was loosely based on ‘Modern Marriage’, a play written by Alvi. The film deals with the story of two young people who marry each other for convenience but later fall in love. Abrar Alvi’s dialogues and screenplay make for a sparkling comedy. The film’s greatest strength is its use of intelligent repartee, with each dialogue developing the plot and carrying the story forward.
Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa, an all-time classic, was once again based on Abrar Alvi’s story, “Kashmakash.” the only difference in the movie and the original story is that in the latter the hero was a painter. Abrar Alvi modified the story and presented the hero as a poet to suit the screenplay.
Guru Dutt credited Abrar Alvi with the direction of Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). It is based on a novel written by Bimal Mitra. This film explores the decline of the feudal landed family in Bengal. The film received the President’s Silver Medal and got Abrar Alvi the Filmfare Award for Best Direction in 1962. He also acted in Laila Majnu (1976) and 12 O’Clock (1958).
Abrar Alvi died due to a stomach complication on 18th November 2009 in Mumbai at the age of 82. He is still remembered for his simple and clear dialogues in Indian Cinema.