Motion Pictures Archive of Pakistan




A Genius and Versatile Comedian

Undoubtedly, he was genius comedian, versatile and loved one artist of Pakistani filmdom. Nanha’s performance in stage, TV and movies was always up to the mark specially he remained hard demand throughout his magnificent movie career. It is hard to believe he created enough characters to keep us interested many years later. His sense of humor with absolute timings will remain glaring aspect of his performing career. Movies of his peak time are mostly a concerted effort by any stretch of the imagination. The direction is almost gushing in its admiration. Over and above, Nanha’s convincing performance upholds the sentimentality of the time..

Early Life

Dr. Muhammad Shafi a resident of Sahiwal (old Montgomery) was blessed with son on 8 August 1944 to whom he named as Muhamamd Rafi Khawar. Being a healthy boy in his childhood was called as Nanha. After prelimnary education, Rafi Khawar was graduated from the field of commerce education and landed in Bank service on completion of his education at Lahore in early 60s.


Early Career

Since his childhood Rafi Khawar had very jovial behavior with his mates, cracking jokes and Jugat bazi was in his nature which led him to move towards performing art. So Khawar used to illuminate the musical functions and get-together with his comedy items and jokes. Consequently which pushed him to theater where he took a keen interest in stage plays and made his presence felt as a comedian in stage shows specially with play like Aao Noukri Karen

Some Facts…..Nanha

Real Name:

Muhammad Rafi Khawar

Addressed as:


Birth Date:

8 August 1944  

Birth Place:




Father’s Name:

Dr. Muhammad Shafi  


Sons of Nanha:-

Ali Khawar

Naqi Khawar

Razi Khawar

TV Show:

 Alaf Noon
First Film: 

Watan Ka Sepahi

 Last Film:

Pasoori Badsha 

Years active:


Demise Date:

2 June 1986


As TV Actor

Beside theater he also regularly took part in Radio Pakistan’s programs. In 1964, a comedy program Dum Baaz Dum Saaz used to be broadcast from the Radio Pakistan’s Lahore station. In that program, a clever, selfish person always took advantage of his foolish partner and exploited him. During same period a drama writer Kamal Ahmed Rizvi, took interest in the script of Dum Baaz Dum Saaz Long story short, Rizvi gathered a superb team of dedicated artists, and launched a weekly comedy show named Alif Noon. That’s how radio programme Dum Baaz Dum Saaz led to the creation of Alif Noon in 1965, from the Lahore television station. Kamal Ahmed Rizvi wrote the script for ‘Alif Noon’ and he also filled in the role of Allan or the clever guy. On the other hand due to appearance of Rafi Khawar in his real life was an embodiment of innocence. Moreover, the public used to smile whenever they looked at his innocent face. He appeared very funny even when he sat still. Hence, Khawar was the perfect choice for the role of Nanha in Alif Noon or the foolish guy, who was exploited by the crook Allan. Just after the telecast of first episode of Alif Noon it attained so much popularity, that it became the greatest comedy program in the forty-one year history of Pakistani television..


As Film Actor

Nanha in his first film Watan Ka Sepahi

Well before the nationwide popularity of Alif Noon, Nanha had a very strong desire to be a film actor but had no reference into the world of filmdom. So he approached Yasin Gorija who was then very reputed film journalist. Yasin had once worked with film iconic director Shabab Keranvi in film magazine Director so Yasin took Nanha to him for a chance in films. Gope was an Indian fatty actor of that era and virtually Nanha had close resemblance to Gope so Yasin introduced Nanah to Shabab Keranvi as Gope. Presumably, Shabab Keranvi was not in receiving mood at that time so he refused to give any chance to Nanha by declaring him as a wrestler and suggested him to try his luck in a wrestling ring which indeed dejected Nanha.    As luck would have it, the story took a strange twist in 1965. Director Shabab Keranvi was overwhelmed by Nanha’s acting prowess in Alif Noon so one day he inquired from Yasin Gorija if Nanha was the same person who was introduced to him as Gope in the past. Upon confirmation Shabab Keranvi requested Gorija to immediately bring Nanha to his office. This time Kiranvi wasted no time and signed Nanha for his next film Watan Ka Sepahi. Thus, Nanha debuted in the film Watan Ka Sepahi in 1966 and then he never looked back. 

Early in the career, Nanha used to play minor roles in films as in the presence of Munawwar Zareef and Rangeela it was difficult for him to make place for himself in filmdom. Although he played significant roles in films like Shabab Keiranvi’s 1967 golden jubilee film Insaniyat, Badla (1968), Dhee Rani (1969) and Att Khuda Da Veir (1970), Ansoo (1971), Parde Mein Rehne Do (1972) and Ali Sufiyan Afaqi’s Aas (1973) but he was unable to get the lead role of film.
The situation remain the same until his powerful performance in film Ziddi (1973) and later on with the Urdu film Noukar (1975) when he was started casting in very powerful characters of the film. After release of Noukar, he began to be paired more frequently in comic roles with Tammana Begum in Urdu movies, playing the role of a father, grandfather or servant. He then landed a chance to play the male lead in Tehka Pehlwan (1979) the same year his film Dubai Chalo directed by Haidar Choudhry became a super-hit.
Despite the dominance of Sultan Rahi and action films, the mostly comic act of Nannah and Ali Ejaz (Dubai Chalo fame) gained immense popularity in the first half of the ’80s, and were seen in more than fifty films in the main lead. Not only the comedy, it is hard to believe that Nanha created enough characters to keep us interested twenty years later. Occasionally, Nanha played his part with the sobriety no other comedian could have imagined. Talking of his films, movies like ‘Aawaz’, was followed by another spate of outstanding films like Lajawab, Sungdil and Dillan De Saudey. Nanha lent his artistic talents wholesomely to Pakistani cinema likedirector Dada Nazar-ul-Islam’s Love story.


Personal Life

Nanha with his wife

Nanha with his sons

Nanha was very loving, caring and sensitive by nature. During his career he achieved name, fame and respect even beyond his imagination but in person, Nanha astonished his coworkers with peculiar behaviors. Like throughout his life he remained frightened from air travelling, river & sea beaches and sight of blood. On the other hand perfumes were his weakness, always fond of good fragrance. Being artist, possessed very kind heart and sensitive nature. He got married had loving spouse with three sons named Ali Khawar, Naqi Khawar and Razi Khawar.



Honors and Awards

Nanha secured following Nigar awards:







Nigar Award

Best Comedian



Nigar Award

Best Comedian



Nigar Award

Best Comedian

Love Story



Demise of the Artist

Nanha with Nazli

During his prime era when he used to be casted as lead character of the films with Ali Ejaz, mostly he was paired with dancer cum actress Nazli who was sailing through the post vertex point of her career but never played any lead solo role of films. Once she saw being casting regularly with Nanha, she tried to strengthen her ties with him to secure her film career. On the other hand innocent Nannah became romantically involved with Nazli. She also of some what responded positively and both of them were often seen together in public. The best proof of their love on film can be seen in the song Vekh meri baanh tap di mundia, Aakhian rehndiyan mast mast, Mera kar le koi bandobast, and also in Ve yari tori na, Ve mukh methon moree na (Tehka Pehlwan).

Nanha’s grave at Lahore

According to an inside source, money was never an issue with Nannah during his love affair with Nazli. His celebrity status was at an all-time high and he was delivering hits one after the other. He even forced his producers to cast Nazli with him in all his films. Nazli made the most of the opportunity and both were coming close to closer with passage of each day. Unfortunately in this episode of his life, Nanha failed to recognize the major flaws in his blind or one sided romance, first of all, there was no juncture for such a gimmick in his working life. Second their age/status and motive’s difference.
But after Nannah started delivering flops and fell on hard times financially, Nazli started to lose interest in him as well. Nazli’s rejection cost him his life. Nanha allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with a shotgun in Lahore on June 2, 1986. A witness, producer Jamshaid Zafar, narrates that there was a pool of blood in the room and it was a truly horrific scene, something that appeared to be right out of a mystery crime film. However, the actual circumstances leading to Nannah’s death remain a mystery to this day. Our very dear Nanha was buried beside his mother in Karim Block Graveyard, Allama Iqbal Town Lahore.


(innaMay Allah rest the departed soul in eternal peace)





In his career Nanah appeared in 391 films, details is as under:-


  • Total films – 391
  • Urdu Films – 166
  • Punjabi Films – 221
  • Pashto Films – 3
  • Sindhi Films – 1
  • First Film – Watan Ka Sepahi
  • Last Film – Pasoori Badshah


For detailed filmography, proceed here




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