Ilyas Kashmiri, the famous film actor of the film industry was born on 24 December 1925 at Muhalla Dara Shikoh, near Revali Cinema, in Lahore. His father Noor Din who belonged to a religious family. But when Ilyas Kashmiri was a young boy he felt his outlook was smart enough to get attraction. So he started watching films and used to fantasize himself as film hero. But his family was religious and he knew that they would never allow him to work in films. But he was diehard to be an actor. So one day he moved to Bambay to work in films but he pretended that he was moving there for some job. In Bombay he met Sohrab Modi’s brother Rustam Modi who had given him a small role in his film Gul Bakauli in Bombay. After that he played the main role in two movies Malika and Abida. In Malika the heroine of film was Shobhna Simrat who was grandmother of Indian actress Kajol, while Sowarn Lata played the role of his heroine in the film Abida.
Career after Partition
In 1947, after the formation of Pakistan, Ilyas Kashmiri started his Pakistani career from Punjabi film Mundri which was released on November 28, 1950 and its director Duad Chand. In film Qismat, he played the role of elder brother of Santosh Kumar and his character name was Taya which became so popular that everyone from Pakistan Film Industry used to called him as Taya with respect till his death. In 1956, he played the role of villain in film Mahi Munda which was directed by M.J. Rana gave him a new turn in his film career as villain. In Yakke Wali, he again played negative role that confirmed him a seasoned villain. He was becoming first choice of the film producers and directors to be casted in negative role as villain due to performance and excellent masculine outlook.
Subsequently he did films in lead role like Murad (1957) and Shera (1959) but he got recognition as villain, afterward it turned into negative character actor roles. In 70s he again appeared in main lead role like Banarsi Thug in 1973, Gama B.A., Ustad Shagird, and Ayash (1976). Ilyas kashmiri acted in almost 547 films, most of which were made in Punjabi language.
As Film Producer
Mostly Ilyas Kashmiri was casted in Punjabi film and that to a negative role whereas it was his hidden desire to play a difficult role in some Urdu film. But due to his image and body outlook producers were hesitant so desperately he decided to produce a film for his own satisfaction. He named his production as Ishq Par Zor Nahi and included lead stars of that time which included Jamila Razzaq, Mussarat Nazir, Aslam Pervez, Neelo, Lehri, Asad Jafri and Talish. Sharif Nayyar had established a good repute in the field of direction so Ilyas Kashmiri hired him for direction of his film who not only agreed but also written the story of the film Ishq Par Nor Nahi as well.
Film was released on February 26, 1963 and proved a big hit of the year. Film’s song “Dil Deta Hai Ro Ro Dohai, Kissi Se Koi Piyar Na Kare” remained at the top of youth’s choice and became everlasting song. Ishq Par Zor Nahi did a good buziness and in film his role and acting performance was well appreciated.
During his thirty’s he got married with Parveen to whom subsequently he was blessed with two sons named Moazam Ilyas and Asim Ilyas.
Bari Malik was the producer of film Mahi Munda and on his recommendation Ilyas Kashmiri played the negative role in the film as he was reluctant. After release of the Mahi Munda it success tied the friendship of Bari Malik and Ilyas Kashmiri as fast friends. Which remained alive till their lives. One can imagine their friendship which was turned into relationship when Bari Malik‘s daughter got married to the son of Ilyas Kashmiri.
Demise of the Artist
In his later life Ilyas Kashmiri developed health issues, a few years before his death, due to suffering from diabetes and other complexities stemming out of it, his left leg was amputated as it developed gangrene which made him bed-ridden afterward. Finally on December 12, 2007 at about 12:45pm he died at home where no family member of the late artiste was present except his servant Tahir and sister-in-law, Farida. His two sons Moazam and Asim were abroad so after their arrival his funeral prayers were offered after two days of his death. During this period his body was kept in a Defence hospital’s morgue. It is added here that entire expenditure of Kashmiri’s treatment when he was admitted to Itefaq Hospital was borne by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he was buried in Lahore.
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