A tribute to the ‘King of Emotions’
Karachi: In Pakistan’s small film industry, there are but a few actors and actresses who are recognised for their brilliant work and the undying interest they elicit in audiences.
The Pakistani film industry may now have a completely different and fresh lot of performing artists who act in films released by the hundreds every year, but the country has not forgotten, and will never forget the actors of the golden era of cinema.
The older Pakistani film has set the standards for Pakistani cinema-art appreciators, familiarising audiences with typical acting sequences and typical situational songs.
One of the most renowned artists in this context is Mohammad Ali. The famous Mohammad Ali has always been referred to by his full name, and his signature hairstyle comes to mind when one pictures him acting out a scene. Always the hero, he played roles much closer to his real character than to anything else, because the hero in Mohammad Ali was gallant, peace-loving, reserved, mature, considerate and humane.
Karachi’s Arts Council has begun a special week dedicated to one of the greatest and most popular actors Pakistan has ever known. The film festival is to play Mohammad Ali’s films every night to enable fans to enjoy his performances yet again. This event was inaugurated on Sunday, June 17.
The speakers at the inaugural function held at the Arts Council’s gardens spoke about the art and persona of Mohammad Ali, who is one of the three greats of the Pakistani film industry. Legends Waheed Murad and Nadeem are the other two actors who share this honour.
The ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan presided over the function.
In his keynote speech as chief guest, Nadeem Baig, another starring hero of those times, termed the late Mohammad Ali a great ambassador of Pakistani culture. Baig added that he earned laurels for himself and the country wherever he went.
“He was innocent and humane, yet handsome and debonair, and belonged to a rare breed of artists in our country,” said Baig.
Poet Himayat Ali Shair said that Mohammad Ali earned fame and honour across the border in India and the rest of the world as well, which is a commendable achievement considering the size of our film industry. Others who spoke included Salamat Ali Khan, Amin Yousuf, Pervez Mazhar and Syed Ahmed Shah.
Referring to Ali’s first film, “Chiragh Jalta Raha” (1962), it was said that the lamp (chiragh) that the late star lit decades ago was still burning and encouraging others.
Muhammad Ali, popularly known as the “king of emotions” passed away at the age of 75 due to multiple organ failure. He, who dominated the film world for several decades, passed away at his Firdous Market residence. He had been suffering from a kidney problem and had been on dialysis in his last few months.
On Sunday, the day of this death, he woke up and had a cup of tea after which he suddenly collapsed.
Muhammad Ali is survived by his wife, actress Zeba. The couple did not have any children but Zeba has a daughter from a previous marriage.
Born in the Rohtak district of Haryana state in India in 1931, Mohammad Ali and his family later migrated to Multan and finally to Hyderabad (Sindh). He began his professional career from Radio Pakistan Hyderabad.
Interestingly, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Muhammad Ali’s home in the 1970s.
Also, he was a popular delegate at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 1979. Asked by an Indian journalist at a press conference at the IFFI if the Punjabi films in Pakistan, known for their vigorous dances and music, promoted an anti-India campaign, he replied with an answer that is remembered even today: “The culture of both our nations dictates that we do not malign and do not abuse each other.”
Muhammad Ali accepted the role of a villain in the famous director-writer-poet Fazal Ahmed Karim Fazli’s film “Chiragh jalta raha”, which was not only his first villainous role in a movie but also the first film for Zeba, Deeba, Kamal Irani, and director Fazli.
“Chiragh jalta raha” was premiered by Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah on March 9, 1962 at the Nishat Cinema, M.A. Jinnah Road, Karachi. The movie brought laurels for Muhammad Ali. He then appeared as a villain in director Munawwar Rasheed’s film “Bahadur”, director Iqbal Yusuf’s film “Daal mein kala”, and director Javed Hashmi’s film “Dil ne tujhay maan liya”.
The late director Rafiq Rizvibapu’s films “Shararat” and “Khamosh raho” (1964) were the first two films in which he appeared as a hero. He was later cast as hero in innumerable super hit movies. Moreover, he produced numerous movies as well.
Muhammad Ali served as the Cultural Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government. He was also associated with the construction business for many years.
Source: The News