- After working in the industry primarily as lyricist for some years, he made his directorial debut with Mere Apne (1971).
- A winner of 20 Filmfare Awards, eleven of which he won as Best Lyricist.
- Winner of five National Film Awards.
- Has been awarded both the Dabasaheb Phalke Award and the Sahitya Akademi, the highest honours in filming and literature in India.
- Appointed chancellor of the Assam University in 2013.