K.A. Abbas was a director and scenarist, but he was also a journalist and while studying law, he set up the newspaper `Aligarh Opinion`. As a journalist, he was a political correspondent and film critic for the `Bombay Chronicle` and the author of "The Last Page` - a political column that ran from 1941-86, India`s longest lasting column! He was also the founder member of IPTA and contributed two plays - Yeh Amrit Hai and Zubeida. Abbas sold his first screenplay Naya Sansar to Bombay Talkies and in 1944 directed his first film Dharti Ke Lal, derived from Nabanna, Bijou Bhattacharya`s play on the 1943 Bengal famine.
In 1951, he launched his own production unit Naya Sansar, but his best scripts were the ones he wrote for R.K. Films (Awaara, Shri 420, Jagte Raho, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby and Henna) and for V. Shantaram
(Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, based on Abbas` own novel `And One Did Not Come Back`. The documentary Char Shaher Ki Kahani (1968) on the origins of 4 cities ran into censorship problems but was saved by the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutional right to free speech.