Saawan Kumar began his career as the producer of the 1967 Sanjeev Kumar starer film Naunihal. The film received the Presidential mention at the National Awards. His directorial debut was with the film Gomti Ke Kinare (1972), which was Meena Kumari's last film, and released posthumously.  He is also a prolific lyricist and has written songs for most of his produced and directed films. Apart from this, he has written the lyrics of songs from movies produced and directed by other film-makers. Among these are "Sabak", the 1973 movie starring Shatrughan Sinha and Poonam and featuring the popular song "Barkha Rani Zara Jamke Barso". He penned some songs from the film Kaho Naa. . . Pyaar Hai and all the songs from the 2004 film Dev. He has also written lyrics of some very popular song of his own movie such as "Zindagi Pyar Ka Geet Hai" Souten, "Hum Bhool Gaye" Souten Ki Beti, "Yeh Dil Bewafa Se Wafa" Bewaffa Se Waffa all sung by Lata Mangeshkar.