Akmal – A Punjabi Dalip Kumar
With a very short film career, he touched the heights of fame in the history of Pakistani filmdom. After Sudhir he was the second most loved one Punjabi artist whose name was guarantee of any Punjabi film. His persona, dashing personality, looks of typical Ghabroo of Punjab supplemented with unique style of dialogues delivery made him a most suitable film hero of Punjabi cinema of Pakistan. One of his films Malangi is the movie which was whenever released did a box office business. He died once he was young and one can imagine the height of his popularity that many years after his demise his films remained the favorite choice of film gores. Indeed a symbolic hero of Punjabi cinema of Pakistan.
On 11 November 1929, a child was born in old walled city of Lahore and was named Muhamamd Asif Khan. The striking baby soon became the blue eyed of the family, his parents had a humble source of income thus were not been able to give him good educational platform. So as teenager he deviated towards the activities which were conducted by his age fellows at that time which included kite flying and pigeon keeping.
Asif Khan was once getting out of his teenage bracket he started realizing his charming and attractive personality. Following his elder brother M. Ajmal’s footsteps who was a renowned actor of that time, to become an actor that to Leading as Heor became Asif Khan’s top most phantasy. At that time stepping into the magic world of moving image was not that easy as to ensure acceptance for film makers and film gores was a difficult venture. So instead of getting into the field of acting he was able to enter the industry as
makeup man through his brother M. Ajmal who was at that time a recognized artist of film industry. Soon he achieved the expertise of makeup techniques which were the requirement of cinematographers and artists themselves. Asif Khan was able to make his recognition as makeup artists. But during this period he never elapse his ultimate aim of becoming an actor so whenever he found opportunity he tried to get some role in films as artist. Soon Director Luqman gave him very tiny chance of appearance in his film Mehbooba but it went unnoticed. But Asif Khan never lost hope and kept on trying for other chances of film entry. He approached film director Anwar Kamal Pasha and requested for the chance. The experienced eyes of Anwar Kamal Pasha picked up the appearance and devotion of Asif Khan so gave him small role in his next film Qatil. After the release of film Qatil, Asif Khan was able to get entry as an extra boy in films like Dulla Bhatti and Khyber Mail.
Akmal as Actor
Asif Khan’s appearance in so far films was restricted to very small roles in films. During same point of time Asif Khan was picked by former film director Muzaffar Tahir who decided to cast him in his next Punjabi film Jabroo against Yasmin. During making of this film Muzaffar Tahir received very discouraging response but he remained determined and completed the film while utilizing his utmost expertise. On the other hand Asif Khan who renamed himself as Akmal Khan did his best in all fields of his performance. Regarding Jabroo, an inexperienced and new comer film unit did a great job with the film Jabroo which met box office success. The film was made by Syed Faqir Salah u din from Gambit (Sind) who selected a makeup man and second grade film heroine Yasmin and carried out all outdoor shooting of the film which was based on the subject of freedom fighter’s movement against British rule. It was a unique subject which was not presented before in film media. Director Muzaffar Tahir the brother of actress Muanwar Sultana came from Bombay but being a new in the film line like musician Ashiq Hussain did a great job. On completion once this film was released on July 6, 1956 it hit the box office success in complete circuit.
After the success of Jabroo, it opened the doors of success for Akmal who also established his position as lead solo actor. He was started casting in movies one after the other but mostly Punjabi because Akmal dialogues delivery in Punjabi was very natural and full of fluency. During dialogues delivery his face expressions were up to the mark and once his wide eyes used to come on the screen close frame even it used to convey his meaning. After Jabroo next he was casted in mostly Punjabi films. Since that era was of Urdu films and great stars like Santosh Kumar, Aslam Pervez, Habib, Darpan, Sudhir were appearing as established lead heros so in their presence, survival of fresh face was not impossible but it was comparatively difficult. But Akaml was able to reserve his place in Urdu films as well. Shamim Ara was lead actress, at that point of time her two films were released named Alam Ara and Mazloom. Nayyar sultana debut her film career with Mazloom and she appeared as younger sister of Akmal in the film. It may be of coincidence that Nayyar Sultana’s first Punjabi film was Behrupia in which again she appeared as sister of Akmal. It is also worth mentioning that that in Behrupia, Mazhar Shah performed against Akmal as villain and it worked so well that in their coming films their pair gave a wonderful piece of their performance and this partnership was lasted till demise of Akmal. This pairing idea was floated by the director of film Mr. Aslam Irani. On the other hand character of Akmal as Peero became talk of the town. Before the release of Behrupia, in 1957, he appeared in a secondary role in Palkaan but in Choorian he was paired with Laila and its success gave very strong boost to the career of Akmal. That’s way … the director of Choorian casted Akmal in his films as well like Zamindar, Pedagir and Dushman but in these films he hired Firdous against Akmal in lead role.
Akmal used to give powerful performance against seasoned villain Mazhar Shah, their pair became a public demand but with this Akmal also had a strong grip while picturing songs especially romantic songs. Background playback singing of renowned singer Masood Rana used to be very fit on Akmal. Masculine looks, his height and wonderful dressing of Akmal made him a symbolic GHABROO of Punjab. According to former lyricist and writer Hazin Qadri, he used to write the character of films while keeping in view the dashing persona of Akmal who afterward performed those characters so well with deep versatility. It was his performance that he was casted against very emotional performer like Muhammad Ali in film Khandan which was an Urdu film mores o Akmal did young to old character very impressively. Not only the positive heroic character, Akmal also appeared as villain in Baghawat as a cruel Roman and then in Inayat Hussain Bhatti’s Waris Shah.
Due to his exuberance performance indian versatile actor Dalip Kumar honored Akmal as “Dalip Kumar of Pakistani Films”. As regard to his heroines, Akmal was paired with Firdous, Shiren, Rani, Bahar, Meena Shori, Husan, Shamim Ara, Laila, Nasira, Neelo, Mussarat Nazir. For the first time Naghma appeared as extra in Rani Khan but afterward she performed as heroine with Akmal in film Choudhry which was debut film of Naghma as heroine. But their paired was confirmed after the release of Hath Jori which lasted for long time.
After sudden demise of Akmal, there were many films which were under production so they were completed with bit modifications and camera angels. These films are mentioned below, however, in films in which his role was picturized compatively less were completed by casting other actors like Ejaz in Miza Jutt, Habib in Do Mutiyaran and other actors like Sudhir , Yousaf Khan etc.
|Akmal was younger brother of seasoned actor M. Ajmal.|
|Initially Akmal got married within family and was blessed with son named Shehbaz Akmal and six daughters. One of his daughter was married with renowned film editor Z. A. Zulfi.|
|During making of Heer Sial, Akmal emotionally came very close to the heroine of film Firdous. Soon Akmal and Firdous were having a torrid love affair which turned into their marriage. But soon after this they started developing matrimonial issues which ended up in their divorce.|
Demise of the Artist
Akmal was at his prime but termination of his second matrimonial life affected his life and career both. As he was emotionally involved so he to disremember his scarcity Akmal landed in the world of tranquilization and with the passage of each day he increased the frequency of liquor. This over dozing affected his health and on 9 June 1967 he was admitted in Sir Gangaram Hospital Lahore due to enteric fever. But on 11 June 1967 he died at the age of 38 years due to liver failure. Although insiders claimed that there was more to his death than just death as promulgated but it remained myth ever after. His funeral prayers were offered by a large number of his fans and persons related to Pakistan filmdom. He was buried in Muslim Town graveyard, Lahore.
Total films – 58
Urdu Films – 7
Punjabi Films – 51
Films completed / released after the death of Akmal:-
Unreleased Films of Akmal:-
- Kaliyan Rataan
- Very Good
- Sajra Piyar
- Choudvein Da Chan
Here is list of Akmal’s films:-
Latest News / Events
Akmal‘s death anniversary was observed on 19 March 2017 which was attended by a large number of his fans. This anniversary is being hold by his son Shahbaz Akmal, former actor Afzal Khan and others at his grave. Now this was held in Nagina cinema Lahore which was attended by renowned actress Naghma and film distributor Choudhry Ejaz Kamran.
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