A Pioneer Lead Role Comedian
Film started with action comedy during silent era but after talkie film in 1932 more emphasis was laid to drama dialogues delivery and comedy was restricted to a small portion of the drama to break the dramatic tempo of film sequence. Although presence of comedy was necessary but story of the film used to roam around over the lead hero and mostly comedian appeared as his friend or colleague. But in late 60s a comedian came in cinematic world and changed the concept of the comedian …. Yes it was Zarif, subsequently for whom writer started writing film plots while keeping in view his character. Just after release of his film Patay Khan he became the necessity of each film specifically Punjabi film. Unfortunately we lost him when he was hardly 36 years of age but undoubtedly he brought the un-noticed comedian into a lead character and left a legacy which was matched by none but his real brother Munawar Zarif.
Mr. Abdul Haq a resident of Gujranwala city who was addressed as Sufi Jee was Ticket Inspector in Railway department. Who had close inclination towards art and creativity, used to enjoy a respect amongst his colleagues and was famous for his grip over timely and reactive remarks. He and his wife Barkat Bibi were blessed with son June 1, 1926 to whom he named Muhammad Siddique. Being in Railway, posting from one city to other city was a routine so he was posted to Lahore where young Muhammad Siddique who also had love towards performing art and had good grip over his dialogues delivery started watching films and tried to copy the performance of actors and also fantasized himself to be an actor.
Before creation of Pakistan, Muhammad Siddique who renamed himself as Zarif got a chance to appear in Punjabi film Dil Diyan lagiyan as comedian. Afterward, in Pakistan his debut film was Do Kinaray released on May 2, 1950,
in which although his character was very small but as comedian he was able to introduce himself to film gores. In 1952, 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. Talish also 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 and boosted the image of Zarif. After Nath, Zarif appeared in Jheel Kanaray which was directed by Nizam Na Khuda and released on July 31, 1955 under the banner of Mumtaz Mahal Pictures. Jallan was his next film which was released on September 2, 1955 and that film was directed by A. Hameed.
By this time Zarif was picked by the film producers as comedian so his next film was Patay Khan which was made under Modern Age films and released on November 18, 1955. Patay Khan was the successful films of the year, which was produced by an absolutely new film unit headed by M. A. Rashid who was not having any previous experience or he never remained under study any of the film director. But Rashid got the top class cast of that time, new musician Akhtar Hussain, new writer Hazin Qadri and with the financial assistance of Bayazid of Multan and indeed directed a beautiful piece of art. It is worth mentioning that renowned former singer Zubaida Khanum also appeared in this film for the first time and acted against Zarif. Patay Khan indeed gave a strong boost to the career of Zarif who touched the height of his popularity. Then onward he became necessity for any next film.
Patay Khan indeed gave a strong boost to the career of Zarif who touched the height of his popularity. Then onward he became necessity for any next film. In Yakkey Wali, he performed the character of Mama Jee who used to hold a court in which his decisions for different cases are exemplary, crafted by Zarif with collaboration of film director. In his subsequent films he became the center of film gores like Pawwan, Wehshi, Gulnaar, Anar Kali , Toofan, Pardeisan, Peengan, Palkaan, Kachiyan Kaliyan, Miss 56, Jatti, Rani Khan, Chhoti Begum, Sohni Kumharan, Shera, Rani Khan, Thandi Sarak, Naji and Behrupia. Above of all his characters, his appearance in Kartar Singh was superb. In said film he played the character of Hindu herbal village doctor who is good with every one and his famous dialogue “Khuda kare ke na khasta” was the height of his character. His quick responsive and timely dialogue delivery without moving his body was the glaring credential on his film career. During his film career he appeared in almost fifty six films in totality in which there were thirty three in Urdu and twenty three were in Punjabi language. Last time he appeared in M.J. Rana’s Jamalo which was released in 5 October, 1962 two years after his demise.
Zarif as Singer
Other than acting Zarif had very melodious voice so he sang few songs for different films which were loved by film gores. Some of his songs are:-
Zarif got married in very young age, it was his struggling time when he was blessed with son on May 15, 1953 named Masood Zarif. Masood Zarif afterward also followed steps of his father and joined showbiz, mostly related with stage as Pappu Zarif. Unfortunately like his father Pappu Zarfi died at very young age on November 24, 2006.
After the demise of Zarif, his four bothers also joined the cinematic world as comedians and these are:-
- Munawar Zarif
- Munir Zarif
- Rasheed Zarif
- Majeed Zarif
- Zarif’s nephew Faisal Munawar Zarif son of Munawar Zarif also joined the cinematic field but was not able to achieve the attention of film gores probably they were expecting the acting standard of his father Munwar Zarif out of him. So afterward he not only left the film industry but also Pakistan and got settled in UK. The only son of Legendary Pakistani actor Munawar Zarif, Faisal Munwar Zarif died on August 20, 2019. He died due to heart attack at Moracco where he went with his family after performing Umra. He appeared in two films, Puttar Munawar Zarif Da and Puttar Jeerey Blade da but could not achieved the heights like his father Munwar Zarif.
Demise of the Artist
Zarif started taking hard drinks in his struggling days which became addiction during his prime era of popularity. And this addiction caused him multiple diseases and finally he died with lungs ailment at the age of 36 on October 30, 1960.
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