As an author his output has been prolific, his oeuvre spanning fiction as well as non-fiction, travelogue as well as children’s literature. He has written around 80 books till date, which have been translated into almost every Indian language.
Aabid Surti became an author by accident. When his first love broke due to family pressure, the teenaged Aabid had no one to confide in – so he began putting his story on paper. The story was published in Gujarati in 1965 as ' Tootela Farishta ' (Fallen Angels) and proved to be an unexpected success. This led to a demand for more books, which ended as a prolific output of more than 80 books including 45 novels, 10 short story collections and 7 plays!
In 1975, his fictional version of the Devil’s Bible titled ‘The Black Book’ created a nationwide controversy, even amidst critical acclaim. It was translated into 7 languages and voted ‘The Book of the Year’ in Kannada. The biographical novel ‘Musalman’ (Muslim) was the actual account of the author’s childhood in the poverty-ridden Dongri area of Mumbai, which was home to many underworld ganglords including Haji Mastan, Karim Lala and Dawood Ibrahim.
A collection of his short stories, titled ‘Teesri Aankh’, won the President’s Award in 1993.
With personal maturity, Aabid Surti’s writings have also become more socially conscious, reflecting the tumultuous times the country and the muslim community within it, is passing through. His last novel ‘Kathavachak’ (The Storyteller) is an unusual love story set against the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya and the deadly riots that followed.
Aabid is also an accomplished playwright. ‘He is Radha,’ a comedy about a boy trapped in a woman’s body, has had more than 50 successful performances in India. He has also written more than half a dozen other plays, most of which have been translated onto stage in Hindi and Gujarati.
However, even this varied expression does not exhaust Aabid Surti, who also finds time to write Urdu poetry, Hindi film scripts and children’s books.