Whenever history of Pakistan Film Industry will be read, the name of Legendry actor Talish would always be included amongst the pioneers of the industry. He was a renowned personality and finest actor of the Pakistani cinema. Talish started his career as radio broadcaster and once he learned the magic of appropriate dialogues delivery he tilted towards radio dramas / documentaries. Subsequently, this trait led him towards his entry into filmdom.
Talish’s ancestors moved to India from Iran. He was born as Agha Ali Abbas Qazalbazh in Ludhiana, East Punjab (India) in December 1st, 1925. Basically being from Iran his mother tongue was Persian and got his basic education from Merath and graduation from Mithra (India). After his graduation he was selected as civil gazette officer and moved to Bombay. As regard to his artistic career is concerned, during his stay there at Bombay he started as drama radio artist from All India Radio Bombay. In 1945, after gaining some experience young Agha Ali Abbas moved to Bombay film industry in affection with acting. There he managed to meet with famous writer and poet Krishan Chandar through Sahir Ludhianvi. At that point of time National Cine Studios had just announced production of a new film Saraye Ke Bahir and Krishan Chandar was engaged as writer and director of the film. Shobhna Simerth and Prem Adeeb were playing the lead role in the Saraye Ke Bahir, so on the request of Krishan Chandar, Ali Abbas (by then who had adopted Talish as his showbiz name) was also appeared for the selection audition and finally he was selected out of thirty five candidates. He was employed on five hundred rupees per month. In Saraye Ke Bahir he was finalized with actress Rehana as side romantic pair in the film. (Here it is worth mentioning that his film Saraye Ke Bahir is still preserved and restored in Great Classic Film Library of France.) During the same period Talish also played the lead role with actress Sabita Devi in film Samrat Ashok which was made under the banner of Bombay Cinetone. After in appearing in these two films he was in the process of establishing himself in the cine world when India was divided and Pakistan came into being.
Career as Lead Actor
Talish also migrated to Pakistan and landed in Lahore but when he saw the ambiguous disappointing situation of Lahore purely from point of view of film making and indistinct condition he again shifted to Peshawar and afterward joined Radio Pakistan Peshawar as staff artist in Drama Section and resume his career as broadcaster so remained linked with art creativity field. During his stay in radio Pakistan he kept on transfered from Peshawar to Azad Kashmir, Rawalpindi and finally to Lahore in 1950. At Lahore, Laila Mandar film studio located at Ferozpur road was allotted to Zaman Khan and Shafi Ejaz so they renovated and renamed it Screen and Sound Studio.
Tassadaq Hussain a paint dealer took a loan of three lakh rupees from Central Cooperative Bank for uplift of the said studio. So the first film project took over by the studio was Punjabi film Nath which was directed by Shafi Ejaz. Hafeez Jahan the heroine of the film had just arrived from Bombay after doing film Sanwaria at Filmistan studio Bombay, here it is worth mentioning that she was niece of former actress Reneka Devi (Begum Khursheed Mirza). Sadiq Ali commonly known as Prince of Minerva played an important role in the film.
During the same time Talish was also visiting Lahore film studios and finally managed to induct his name in the cast of the Nath as his debut film in Pakistan. Nath was released on 23 October 1952 in Qaiser Cinema Lahore and in first week it was declared a flop film but it established Talish as an actor. Meantime Talish left his radio service and adopted his career as film actor as full time profession. So basing upon that character he was included in the cast of Jheel Kanarey which was directed by Nizam Nakhuda and Sudhir and Gulshan Ara played the lead role, he also played a central character in Darbar e Habib directed by Haziq as film’s hero with Yasmin.
Due to balanced pitched vocal he was also inducted in the Film Unit of Government of Pakistan as commentator and gave a very successful playback commentary on the documentary made on Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan’s demise.
Muhammad Saghir and M. A. Jafferi belonged to Dehli where they were employed at Jagat Talkies, after migrating from India they established S.J. Pictures, primarily for Indian film distribution. Subsequently, they produced their first religious preaching film Toheed which was Khurshid Qais’s first film as musician and Talish played the lead role with Nayyar Sultana and film was released on June 29, 1958. Talish’s acting career was recognized in its true colors after the release of Punjabi film Jabroo in which Akmal had started his career as actor.
As Character Actor
Talish was second hero in Guddi Gudda with Musarrat Nazir and Sudhir but factually one of his character of a drunk role especially the Saif ud Din Saif’song Yaho mujhey muaf rakho, main nashey mein hon which was sung by Saleem Raz in film Saat Lakh (1957) truly increased his popularity graph. He played yet another memorable role of Police Inspector in Ashfaq Malik’s Baghi and then he played some extraordinary roles in Pakistani films. His remarkable role in Neend of poor but honorable father of unlucky daughter who was raped by a characterless industrialist bland, Talish depicted the situation of father in embarrassment, humiliation and totally ruffled in a very befitting manner. Likewise his character in Lakhon Mein Aik of friend of Hindu whose daughter Shakuntla (role played by Shamim Ara) was kept under his custody due to the violence and once she was young he returned her to his actual Hindu father was awesome. Director Khalil Kaisar and writer Riaz Shahid’s film Shaheed released on January 5, 1962 was one of the best role on silver screen. The film was based on theme of Palestine, the highlight was its everlasting hit song Us bewafa ka shehr hai, penned by renowned poet Munir Niazi. Then there was no looking back he gave one after another good character in his four and fifty hundred films, until his demise.
Now it’s the third generation of Agha Talish in the field of showbiz, his son Ahson Talish started his showbiz career in 1985 as an actor and started as a director following the death of Agha Talish and established Production Company after his father’s name, Agha Talish Productions in 1998. By now he has directed many serials and further polished himself as a director. Raza Abbas Talish (grandson of Agha Talish) the third Talish in line is also being trained in the field of Film & TV in NCA Lahore.
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Honors and Awards
During his long span of acting career, Agha Talish have worked in more than 825 (as per the record of his son Ahson Talish) films. Likewise he was awarded with numerous honors and awards which includes:
- Super Performer Golden Star Award
- Presidential Award on his best comedy role in Rahguzar released on January 22, 1960
- Presidential National Award for Rahguzar and Farangi as Best Assistant Actor
- Pride of Performance
- Nigar Awards are mentioned below (Best assistant actor award):
- Soheli 1960
- Shaheed 1962
- Anchal 1962
- Kaneez 1965
- Zeenat 1975
- Dhee Rani 1985
- Akhri Mujra 1994
- Special Niagar Award for his best services as actor 1992
Demise of the Artist
In 1996, Agha Talish developed some old age ailments which included liver and lungs disturbances especially related to his breathing which gradually deteriorated with passage of time. In 1998, state of his health got alarming, finally the living legend Agha Ali Abbas Qazalbazh took his last breath on February 19, 1998, at the time of his demise he was seventy three years old and burried at a graveyard of Lahore.
Filmography of Talish
To view Talish’s filmography, please go here.
Latest News / Events
Sixteenth death anniversary of Agha Talish, may Almighty bless his soul and rest the departed soul in eternal peace. (Ameen)
A correction from Ahson Talish
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