Jangju hero of Pakistan
Sudhir commonly known as Lala Sudhir is one of the best versatile and multitalented actor of Pakistan film industry. Initially Sudhir got popularity as romantic / soft image hero but subsequently as he belonged to Pathan family, succeeded in developing his jingoistic, patriotic and warrior heroic image, that’s why he un-debatable called as Jangju hero of Pakistan filmdom. Although Nasir Khan was the first hero of Pakistan Film Industry but after his departure to Bombay, Sudhir became factual first hero of Pakistan filmdom after playing his role in Hichkolay as hero. The fame, popularity and affection he achieved in film industry and from his fans, probably no one else got that status and standing. It was that affection that he was called Lala (elder Brother) Sudhir by his colleagues, junior artists and general public.
Shah Zaman Khan Afridi, his actual name was born there at Sheranwala Gate Lahore in 25 January 1922. His father Muhammad Aslam Khan Afridi was patriotic pathan Muslim like his father, who migrated from Afghanistan to Peshawar for his livelihood but basically he was against the British occupation in Sub-continent so he used to attend and participate in any activity/movement against British rule. During one of these militant movements he was arrested and consequently was hanged on the orders of British court. After his hang, his remaining family moved from Peshawar to Lahore. Sudhir got his basic education from Muslim High School Lahore. In Mazang, Lahore Ilyas Kashmiri who was two years younger to Sudhir was his street mate and because of common habits and nature they became very good friends. Ilyas Kashmiri being younger, Sudhir used to call him as Munna, although in lateral part due to respect and elderly, rest of the film world called him as Taya Ilyas Kashmiri but he remained Munna for Sudhir throughout his life. Sudhir being emotional fell into a bad company and even he was found involved in some criminal bandit activities. He organized a gang of tramps and became their head, Miani Sahib Graveyard used to be their hideout. Then once he met a sofi named Majno in the shrine of Peer Bodi Shah who not only snubbed him from his immoral activities also guided him the right path. Sudhir was impressed and left those activities and started concentrating towards his future. So soon after, he proceeded to Bombay, India to meet his maternal uncle who was in Navy.
Sudhir right from his childhood was inclined towards performing art particularly acting and films. As a young man he was having attractive masculine personality which was fit and meeting all the pre-requisites of a film hero. Sudhir’s uncle was well familiar with his hidden desire so he spoke to his mate Mr. A. J. Kardar who was also very interested in showbiz. On meeting A.J. Kardar took Sudhir to some of the film studios of Bombay where his brother Mr. A. R. Rashid a renowned film director was busy in some film shooting. After seeing the masculine personality of the Sudhir, he offered him a role in one of his film. But at that time Sudhir made an apology due to his family background and returned to Lahore. Once he met actor Nazir Baidi who also suggested him to join film industry. But again Sudhir refused by saying that his family will never allow him to act in film being fanatic religious minded. But Baidi suggested him to change his name that would fulfill his dream and at the same time his family would never come to know about his acting career. That logic changed Sudhir’s mind and he started acting in films. Soon his uncle came to know about his acting he went into shock and he snubbed Sudhir, per-forcely he left the house and camped at the shrine of Daat Sahib where production manager of renewed Aslam Irani took him to film studios.
In the film studios, soon after famous Director Naranjan discovered the potential and aptitude of twenty three years old young man and casted him as hero in his film Faraz which was Shah Zaman’s first movie, Ragni played as heroin against him in this film, it was released in 1947 (Pre-partition). During the shooting Naranjan suggested him to change his name from Shah Zaman to Sudhir as it was already in his mind so he agreed to and that’s how Shah Zaman became Sudhir, at that time perhaps no one had even thought that this name is going to be the guaranty for the success of any film in coming times.
When Pakistan came into being, he made his first entry in film Hachkolay with Najma as heroin. The film which was directed by Daud Chand was released on 26 March 1949 as Pakistan’s second film after her creation.
Career as Actor
1952 – 1955
His next film Dopatta was released in 1952 with Ajay Kumar and Noor Jahan, it was directed by Sabtain Fazli and the music of the film became very popular in whole subcontinent which was composed by Feroz NazamiIn 1953 he performed with Shamsi and Gulshan Ara in Tarrap and Deewar respectively, but his movie Gumnam with Sabiha Khanum proved to be a milestone for his film career. The film got a great success due to the dynamic performance of Sudhir, its music specially the famous song of Iqbal Bano “ Too Lakh Chaley ri gori thum thum key payal main geet hain”. Sudhir’s next movie Sassi, in which again Sabiha Khanum played as Sassi, directed by Daud Chand and music composed by Baba G A Chishti was another best film of his career.
Sudhir’s Film 1945 – 1955
|Khizan Ke Baad|
1956 – 1959
Initially Sudhir got successes in romantic and social movies but the release of Pakistan’s first action movie Baghi made him a action and Jangju hero.Mussarat Nazir played as heroin in Baghi which was also released in China and it became a great success there as well so much so that Sudhir, Mussarat Nazir alongwith Ashfaq Ahmed visited China on their invitation. Baghi was inspired by Burt Lancaster’s Apache, in which Sudhir played the main role of a loyalist who fights against British rule in sub continent. The film brought a turning point in film career of many artists like Sudhir himself became a macho man of the silver screen, gave firm platform to Mussarat Nazir and Sabiha Khanum, established Allaudin as the typical villain and gave a huge financial boost to Ashfaq Malik the producer of film that he became owner of A.M. Studios. The so called successor of Sudhir, Sultan Rahi debut his film career as an extra in the same very film i.e. Baghi
On the other hand he did his first Punjabi film Bulbul with Asha Posely, Nazar and Zeenat, released in 1955 but Dulla Bhatti proved to be a first super hit film of his career. It was directed by S.M. Dar and music was composed by G A Chishti. The success of film Mahi Munda with Mussarat Nazir made Sudhir Pakistan’s number one male hero of that time. Then came the memorable film Yakke Wali which became the first Pakistani Golden Jubilee film and it also proved a successful turning point of film career of Mussarat Nazir, Nazar, Zareef and Ilyas Kashmiri. It is a common saying here at film studios that the Bari studio Lahore was constructed out of the income of Mahi Munda and Yakke Wali whereas Dulla Bhatti paid a vital role in establishment of Evernew studio. This is one of the great tributes to Sudhir that Pakistan’s only two leading film studios were established out of the income of his movies.
|Dulla Bhatti||Mahi Munda||Chhoti Begum||Mirza Sahiba_1956||Pawwan|
|Daata||Yakke Wali||Nooraan||Aankh ka Nasha||Murad|
|Jan-e-Bahar||Anar Kali||Jatti||Aakhri Nishan|
|Society||Yar Beli||Kartar Singh||Jhoomar||Gulshan|
1960 – 1969
After the success of above mentioned movies then there was no looking back and Sudhir gave us a wonderful and memorable films of Pakistan film industry one after another. Jatti, Chacha Khamkha, Kartar Singh, Dachi, Maja Ji, Abba Ji, Geedar, Phannay Khan, Maidan, Chan Makhna, Pagri sambal Jata, Waryam, Nizam, Maan Puttar, Sheran dey puta sher, Charda Suraj, Putar da piyar, Thah, Jani dushman, Nishan, Ghunghroo, Yar Badsha, Khun Paseena, Sultana Daku, Dukh Sajna de, Man moji, Do chor, Jadoo, Baghi te Farangi are some of hit movies on his credential. Success of these films indeed made Sudhir undoubtedly a legend actor not only during his era rather for rest of the time. His contributions towards the upkeep of image of true and brave Pakistani.
|Aik Thi Maa||Sahil|
|Ajab Khan||Gul Bakauli||Ghalib|
|Kala Pani||Baghawat||Neelam||Chacha Khamkha|
|Farangi||Ghaddar||Baghi Sepahi||Khyber Pass||Dachi||Mama Jee|
|Jee Dar||Phaney Khan||Mann Mouji||Sar -e- Aam|
|Josh||Koh e Noor||Qabila||Anparh||Majhe Di Jatti|
|Shola Aur Shabnum||Chattan||Hakumat||Kafir||Jani Dushman||Mangetar|
|Mafroor||Ik Hi Rasta||Har Fun Mola||Main Zinda Hun||Chheen Ley Azadi|
|Chan Makhna||Meidan||Pagri Sanbhal Jatta||Jag Beeti||Pind Di Kuri|
|Hakeem Jee||Jang -e-Azadi||Khoon -e- Nahaq||Shabistan||Sheran De Puttar Sher|
|Waryam||Bhaian Di Jori||Okha Jatt||Tuadi Izzat Da Sawal Ae|
1970 – 1987
In 70s he performed in huge budget movies with popular heroes of that time like Ann Data, Sorat aur Seerat and General Bakhat Khan.
In 1960 he made his own production / distribution house by the name of Sudhir Films, in which he made and directed several movies ie Nashan and Dushman ki Talah etc, details at Sudhir Filmography. In Dushman Ki Talash he introduced his son Zaman Khan but he was unable to keep a track of the footstep of his father. He had produced Baghawat, Aankh ka Nashah, Sahil, Nishan, Main zinda hun and Da Dushman Talash. Subsequently another two films Maan Puttar and Lottery which proved the last success of his terminating film career.
Honor and Awards
During his entire film career Sudhir never worked for any award or prize rather he worked for the betterment of film industry. His biggest award he had was the love of film gores for him and his films as only his name used to be the success of film. However, in 1981 Sudhir was awarded with the Nigar award to honor his 30 years successful film career. Here is the list of honors which Sudhri was awarded during his film career:-
In his career, Sudhir received three Nigar awards
Lala Sudhir, so far proved the most profitable actor for the producers purely from film business point of view. Establishment of two major film studios were on the credential of Sudhir. The story will start with the release of Dulla Bhatti on 6th January 1956. It was released by Evernew Pictures and directed by famous film journalist S.M. Dar, melodious music of the film became one of the major factor in its success. From business point of view it achieved the heights, it is to be said that Agha G.A.Gul had purchased fifty acres of land and inaugurated Evernew Studios out of the income of Dulla Bhatti. At the same time studio of Muslim Town was renamed as Old Evernew Studios. During the agitation of Jaal Movement (a movement started against the import of Indian films) Bari Malik promised to spend the whole income of movie on the welfare and uplift of film industry if he was allowed to release said film. So he produced Mahi Munda, directed by M.J.Rana which proved a Super hit film of 1956 so out of the income of Mahi Munda, Bari Malik procured seventy actress of land in between Evernew Studios and Shahnoor Studios and laid the stone of Bari Studio. Yakke Wali by Bari Malik was released on February 22nd 1957 and it proved to be a Super hit film of the year 1957 and did a box office business as it was not only the Golden Jubilee film but it was Pakistan’s first film that completed fifty week s plus constantly at one cinema that was Capital Cinema Lahore. More so, it is said that Bari Malik the producer of the film, got built the Bari Studios of Lahore from the income of Yakke Wali.
Lala Sudhir spent a showbiz life without any scandal or any outrage stories. He led a very neat and clean life like of a Pathan image. He was respected by his colleagues without gender distinction, on the same time to whom he loved he also got married with them, he married four time in his life with detail as under:-
As per his family tradition, Sudhir for the first time got married with Jameela Begum at his young age, it was purely a arranged marriage within his own family circle.
Iqbal Begum Loyalpuri
During the film shooting of Hichkoley, Sudhir inclined toward a radio singer Iqbal Begum Loyalpuri, who was performing as playback singer for the film Hichkoley and her song Kaho ye kis ne ankh milayi, jawani jhoom jhoom lehrai became very popular song of that time. Finally Sudhir got married with Iqbal Begum but after sometime they got separated.
In 1956, during the film shooting of Pawwan, Sudhir fell in love with the heroine of the film Shimmi and finally they got married and their marriage remained intact throughout their life. Shimmi was the younger sister of film actress Salma Mumtaz, she started her film career as a child star from Pakistan’s third feature film Shahida which was released in March 18, 1949. In Shahida, Shimmi played the role of the younger sister of Shamim, the heroine of the film. As mentioned earlier, Shimmi is still mother of the children of Sudhir even after his death.
In mid 60s Sudhir was paired with Zeba in some of the films and during shootings of the films they came close with each other. So finally Zeba was forth lady with whom Lala Sudhir got married but it was not a long lasting marriage as it ended up just after one year of their matrimonial partnership.
In his life Sudhir launched his son Zaman Khan in his own film Dushman Ki Talash, which was directed by Diljeet Mirza and this film was released in Urdu and Pashto languages on November 12th, 1978. Dushman Ki Talash was a big cast film and most of the leading artists of that time like Babra Sharif, Najma, Rohi Bano, Sabiha Khanum, Adeeb, Mustafa Qureshi, Ilyas Kashmiri, Talish, Mumtaz, Najma Mehboob, Aslam Pervez, Afzal Ahmed, Saqi, Nanha appeared in the film and performed very well but due to poor story plot and direction weaknesses, film didn’t do well. Since the film was not that successful as it was anticipated, resultantly, the film career of his son Zaman Khan was almost culminated as far as Urdu films were concerned however as this film was also released in Pashto so he was able to established some place in Pashto films and appeared in twenty Pashto films.
Demise of the Legend Artist
In the later part of his life, due to lukewarm attitude of personalities of film world he was so disappointed that he stopped attending the film gatherings and functions even he avoided visiting the film studios where sometimes earlier he remained as uncrowned king of filmdom for a considerable period. And finally in a same state of mind this renowned memorable legend hero died on 19 January 1997 at Lahore, but his name will be remembered with golden words ever in the film history of Pakistan.
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