Motion Pictures Archive of Pakistan



A villain of its own style

Life is the second name of constant and rigorous struggle it is debatable that why for someone success lies in next door step and for others it may comes after spending lives. Few personalities who started from the scratch and reached at the heights of success of their respective field but still they kept on working day and night till their end like Sultan Rahi specially if we gave the example of such personalities in the world of Pakistan filmdom. Zafar Ahemd Butt was also one of those who started from the scratch, Zafar Ahemd Butt (also addressed as Jafra by his close ones) who subsequently became one of the leading villain and character actor (mostly in Punjabi films) of Pakistan film industry as Sawan.




Early Life

Zafar Ahmed Butt belonged to a Kashmiri family of District Sialkot. Due to his family financial situation he was unable to continue with his education so at very early age he joined British Indian Army during World War-ll and during his army career remained posted on different war zones including Middle East. Throughout the World War-ll he fully participated in the war wherever he was posted till its end in 1945. In next year he was discharged form army and returned to his hometown Sialkot. After retirement he made a Tanga (horse coach) for his livelihood as in those days it used be the most common and easy profession being very communal, cheap and main available mode of transport, moreover it was the most earning job as well. In Sialkot, there were two Tanga Stands named Adda Shahbaz Khan and Adda Pasroorian located Southern and Northern part of the city, respectively. Zafar Ahmed Butt who was still Jafra was the resident of area closer to Adda Pasroorian so mostly he used to move around while dealing with passengers at this stand. 


Some Facts….Sawan

Real Name:

Zafar Ahmed Butt

Addressed Name:


Birth Date:

1920 (anticipated)

Birth Place:


Father’s Name:



Below middle

Years active:

1956 – 1998

Date of Death:

July 6, 1998


He became popular due to his appearance as having dark black thick curly hairs, strong wrestler body with the white and fair complexion being Kashimiri having white beautiful white horse in his tanga within the resident of that area.



Early Career 

Zaffar Ahmed Butt was not satisfied with his way of life at Sialkot so for better living he moved to Karachi in 1950 and got himself settled in Ranchor Line (now known as Gazorabad) which was located on right hand while going to Pona High Tower, a bit ahead of Hassan Ali Hoti Market. There was a hotel named Bismilla Hotel on the ground floor of this building, he used to live in a flat room with Abdul Rehman on the top of this hotel. After reaching Karachi he started his work as building mason worker subsequently he had worked as white wash and painter as well. In short he never felt any hesitation in doing any petty job for his earning. There was Milk and Lassi shop run by a shopkeeper from Sialkot situated at outer of a coil hardware building before the construction of Qaiser cinema, so Zafar Ahmed Butt during his leisure time used to come here very frequently as being Sialkoti and spent hours and hours there on the benches of said shop. In those days, Eros cinema was located just opposite of this hotel so Zafar developed friendship with the staff of that cinema. Now most of his time used to be spent there in the cinema so with the passage of time he started petty jobs there in the said cinema including sale of black tickets by utilizing his wrestler built personality. Soon he became popular in cinema and Karachi cinematic community mainly because of his musculine appealing personality.. 



Career as Actor

Because of his personality and being in cinema line everyone started boosting him to join film line as an actor. Zafar liked this idea and started working for its implications while visiting film studios and meeting film making related personalities. Finally Zafar Ahmed Butt was able to get himself inducted in the cast of film Karnama and right from the first film he was renamed as Sawan, in the same film popular ramp of that time Kalwati also was playing the main role but film took lot of time in its making and then its released. Meantime some journalist suggested Zafar Butt that as he was having a body appearance and accent that was more suitable for Punjabi films therefore go to Lahore film industry and check his luck there as in those days Lahore was main station for producing the Punjabi films. Zaffar Butt who was now Sawan liked this idea and soon after moved to Lahore and as luck would have it was able to get a minor role in Agha Hussaini’s film Sola Aaney. 


On the release of film Sola Aaney, Sawan was very excited and indeed was able to pick by the film gores so he was offered a bit strong role in Souraj Mukh, on its release this film established him as an actor and then there was no looking back. He appeared in constantly in a sound villain and then character roles especially in Punjabi Films like Wali Ehed, Anparh, Gonga, Lachhi, Khazanchi, Zaildar, Meri Ghairat Teri Izat, Pind Daleran Da, Baba Dina, So Din Chor Da, Charda Souraj, Khan Chacha, Jigri Yar, Yar Dost, Nizam Lohar, Sahil, Punj Darya, Mera Veer, Mera Babal, Neeli Bar, Harfun Moula, Jani Dushman, Burma Road, Khon e Nahaq, Pagri Sanbhal Jatta, Anwara (Khalifa Saeed’s this film proved him as matured character actor), Akbara, Sikandara, Challenge, Sajan Piyara, Gehra Daagh, Shero, Kubra Ashiq, Ishq Mera Naa, Wichhora, Morcha, Budha Sher, Zulam Kade Nai Phal da, Dharti De Lal, Jigar Da Tukra, Saza e Mout, Langotia, Bagro etc until the decline of Punjabi cinema till end nineties. 


It is interesting to know that although Sawan played lead roles in many movies but he was never considered to be taken as a lead hero in any of the film throughout his career. His debut big super hit was Tees Mar Khan released in 1963 in which he played a powerful villain role. This gave him a sort of breakthrough for other films as villain like Lai Lag, Malangi, Doli, Bharia Mela, Nizam Lohar, Chan Makhna, Sajjan Pyara, Panj Darya. During this period Sawan was tested to be casted in lead title role in film Goonga which was clicked as hit film so he was also given the same title roles in film like Jigri Yaar, Jani Dushman and Anwara which was released in1970 and it was a super hit musical film. In 1972, his lead character in film Khan Chacha was well appreciated by film gores. So once Aslam Dar wanted to hire him for his new Punjabi film Basheera, Sawan demanded a huge amount of the character which was not accepted by Dar so he hired another actor Sultan Rahi who has given one odd good films like Babal etc. After the release of Basheera where it gave a heights of popularity to Sultan Rahi, fixed the career of Sawan to perform minor roles in the film afterward.



Demise of the Artist

During his last spell of life with his age he was almost without any permanent work which affected his health as well so finally he died on July 6, 1998.


(innaMay Allah rest the departed soul in eternal peace) 



Sawan’s Filmography

For filmography of Sawan, go to Filmography page


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