Muzaffar Ali Wiki, Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More


Muzaffar Ali is an Indian Filmmaker, fashion designer, poet, artist, cultural revivalist, and social worker. He is best known for the Hindi films Gaman (1978) and Umrao Jaan (1981). Ali has accomplished much in many fields including publicity, tourism, film production, fashion, and writing.


Muzaffar Ali was born on Saturday, 21 October 1944 (age 78 years; as of 2022)  in Lucknow, United Provinces, British India (now Uttar Pradesh, India). His zodiac sign is Libra. He was the eldest son of Raja Syed Sajid Husain Ali, the ruling prince of Kotwara, Awadh. He attended La Martinière, a private educational institution for the elite class in Lucknow. In 1966 he graduated from Aligarh Muslim University in Geology, Botany and Chemistry. Before entering the film industry he worked in advertising. He has also worked as a communication specialist for Air India.

Childhood picture of Muzaffar Ali

Childhood picture of Muzaffar Ali

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5’8

Hair Colour: Black

Eye Colour: Brown

Family & Caste

Muzaffar Ali belongs to a royal Muslim Rajput family in Kotwara, Uttar Pradesh.

Parents & Siblings

Ali’s father, Raja Syed Sajid Husain of Kotwara, was a royal prince who contributed to the Indian freedom movement. He did an MA from Edinburgh and was a member of the Scottish Parliament in the 1920s before joining Indian politics. He served as an MLA from Kotwara for almost 17 years before and after independence. He led an informal association called the Indian Humanist Union, whose members gathered once a month at Qaisar Bagh, Lucknow, for tea gatherings to engage in conversations about transformative ideas for the world. [1]Open. His mother’s name was Bittan and his stepmother was Selma Hanımsultan, who was an Ottoman princess, the daughter of Rauf Hayri Bey and Hatice Sultan.

Muzaffar Ali's parents

Muzaffar Ali’s parents

In 1942, Ali’s father married Kaniz Hyder, who was the daughter of Nawab Mohammad Hasan Khan of Muradabad and was living in exile in Bilhera House with his sister, the rani of Bilhera.

Raja Sajid Husain and Rani Kaniz Hyder

Raja Sajid Husain and Rani Kaniz Hyder

Ali, the oldest of the three siblings, also has a half-sister from his Turkish stepmother, Kenzie Murad. His younger brother was Manjhu Miañ, and the youngest was Guddu Miañ.

Muzaffar Ali, his half-sister Kenize Murad and father Raja S Sajid Husain with Jawaharlal Nehru

Wife & Children

Ali’s first marriage was with art historian Geeti Sen. They have a son, Murad Ali, who is multi-disciplined much like his father and has acted in films such as Is Raat ki Subah Nahin and Dil to Pagal Hai. He has also tried his hands on poetry and music. After divorcing Geeti, he married the Left-wing leader and trade union activist Subhashini. Ali has admitted having “Leftist sympathies” during his time in Calcutta (now Kolkata) that made him connect with Subhashini. She has also worked as a designer of the costumes for Umrao Jaan. Their son, Shaad Ali, is the director of hit films such as Saathiya (2002) and Bunty Aur Babli (2005).

Muzaffar Ali with his son Shaad Ali and grandson Imaan

Ali met designer and architect Meera Ali on the set of a film and eventually got married on 13 May 1990. They both teamed up to create a niche of sorts when it came to ethnic cloth designing with a unique Kotwara touch. They have a daughter, Sama, who is also showing an inclination for design. [2]The Telegraph

Muzaffar Ali (centre) and Meera Ali (standing left) with daughter Sama (seated left), son Shaad, daughter-in-law Aarti Patkar (seated right), and grandson Imaan.

Other Relatives

Raja Syed Raza Husain was his great-grandfather.

Muzaffar Ali's great grandfather Raja Syed Raza Husain

Muzaffar Ali’s great-grandfather Raja Syed Raza Husain


Ali was married twice before he met his third wife Meera Ali, whom he courted and married after six months. He met his first wife Geeti Sen during his Air India days and his second wife Subhashini Ali, daughter of Colo­nel Prem Sehgal and Captain Lakshmi Sehgal of the Indian National Army, on the sets of his biggest hit Umrao Jaan.

Muzaffar Ali with Meera Ali


Muzaffar Ali autograph


Film & Television

Ali had a successful career as a filmmaker. In 1966, Ali worked for the advertising firm MacLaren McCann and met Satyajit Ray, in which Satyajit used to work as an Art Director. After a short time working at Advertising and Sales Promotion Co. where he handled tourism publicity in Delhi, he moved to Mumbai, to work with Air India in the Publicity Department. In Calcutta, Ali was influenced by the famous poet and close friend, Subhas Mukhopadhyaya, and it was here that his mind opened to the idea of using film as a medium of social comment and artistic expression. His first film as a director was Gamam (1978), and his next film Umrao Jaan (1981) was his biggest hit.

Poster Of The Film- Gaman (1978)

In 1982, Ali also ventured into the field of documentary and short films, mainly centred on Awadh, craft, culture, exploitation of women and Sufism. He went on to produce Aagaman (1982), Anjuman (1986), and Jaanisaar (2015). He also directed and starred in the Hindi TV series Jaan-e-Alaam (1986).

Painting & Fashion

Ali has always been an artist. Ali has always taken a keen interest in art, and he has exhibited his paintings in exhibitions all over India. His work portrays an enchanting blend of captivating Sufi melodies, elegantly attired women in black, and horses.  After setting up a studio in Delhi, Ali began his journey as an artist. More than 100 of his artworks are spread through 11 sections of the beautiful heritage building, which was once the house of the maharaja of Bikaner and is now a cultural centre in India Gate hexagon.

Muzaffar Ali’s debut show on non-film art ventures in Delhi.

Muzaffar Ali at his art exhibition in Delhi

After creating an impact globally with his work, Ali turned back to his roots in Kotwara and Lucknow. He launched a couture line named Kotwara with the help of his wife Meera; his couture line is dedicated to celebrating art and fostering the traditional handicrafts of Awadh, and promoting Sufism.

Muzaffar Ali’s Kotwara brand logo


In 2004, he instituted the Rumi Foundation to promote Global Oneness. The foundation organises Sufi festivals including the World Sufi Music Festival and Jahan-e-Khusaru in Delhi. In an effort to promote tourism and culture in Lucknow, he instituted the Wajid Ali Shah Festival, which celebrates poetry and performing arts.


  • National Film Award – Special Mention (feature film) – Gaman (1978)
  •  7th International Film Festival, New Delhi for Gaman and Silver Peacock. (1978)
  • Filmfare Best Director Award for Gaman (1978)
  • National Film Festival Special Commendation of the Jury for Gaman (1978)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Director – Umrao Jaan (1981)
  • West Bengal Film Journalists Association. Best Director Award for Umrao Jaan (1983)
  • Yash Bharati (Pride of India) awarded by the Government of Uttar Pradesh (1996)

    Muzaffar Ali receiving the Yash Bharati Award

    Muzaffar Ali receiving the Yash Bharati Award

  • Withrow Chair Award, Deepsprings College, California, USA (2001)
  • Padma Shri (2005)
  • Rajeev Gandhi National Sadhbhavana Award (2014)

    Muzzafar Ali receiving the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award

    Muzzafar Ali receiving the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award (2014)

Car Collection

  • 1928 Isotta Franschini

    1928 Isotta Franschini

    1928 Isotta Franschini

  • Jag VII
  • Jog
  • Jaguar Mark V

    Muzaffar Ali with his Jaguar Mark V

    Muzaffar Ali with his Jaguar Mark V

  • Lagonda Le Mans replica
  • Mercedes-Benz W120/W121

    Mercedes-Benz W120/W121

    Mercedes-Benz W120/W121


  • Ali was directing a film titled Husn E Jaana with Rubaina Khan but later decided to shelve the film. He released the songs of his unreleased film Husn E Jaana as a private album in 1996.
  • In 1984, he was planning a film titled Manzar with Zeenat Aman that got shelved. It was later restarted as Zooni with Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia; however, the film was not released.
  • In 2022, Ali launched his autobiographical book titled ‘Zikr: In the Light and Shade of Time’ describing his early days and journey.

    Zikr- In the Light and Shade of Time

  • Muzaffar Ali along with his wife Meera Ali opened up their homestead in Gurgaon and set up a tent restaurant “Maashra”. It offers a fine dining experience with the royal cuisine of Awadh. [3]The Times Of India

    Muzaffar Ali’s Maashra

  •  In 2008, there was a slight tussle between Ali and film director Rituparno Gosh due to the looks of actor Amitabh Bachchan in the film ‘The Last Lear’. Ali felt the look was a copy of his own style; however, Rituparno denied the allegations and maintained that the look was an inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore.
  • Muzaffar Ali is a black belt in karate.
  • Ali is extremely fond of horses and owns one named Barrack. His love for horses is also reflected in his artwork. In an interview with The Times Of India, he said,

My love for horses began from childhood stories of the battlefield of “Karbala” to the ornate Duldul to the horses I saw on my travels to the many films on horses.” [4]The Times Of India

  • In 1983, the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi appointed Muzaffar Ali to a National Committee for software development for the newly opened satellite TV in India and in 2003, he was appointed as a member of the Prasar Bharati board.
  • Ali is an active member of INTACH, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, of which he was also a member of the Governing Council.
  • While working with Air India, Ali set up a department promoting international conferences in India. This included conceptualizing and setting up an international conference centre and hotel in Srinagar, Kashmir(now Centaur Lake View Hotel and the government-owned Sher-e-Kashmir Conference Centre). He is one of the Board of Governors there.

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