So you think you can act?

Maha Amin May 17, 2010

KARACHI: Over the course of time, one has seen several Pakistani singers-turned-actors including the late Noorjehan, Arif Lohar, Adnan Sami Khan, Sajjad Ali and Fawad Afzal Khan.

This phenomenon is not only seen in Pakistan but all over the globe with famous singers such as Elvis Presley, Will Smith, Mariah Carey and Beyonce making it big in the acting business.


Noorjehan was the adopted stage name of Allah Wasai born September 21, 1926. Noorjehan is one of the most iconic singers of the subcontinent and was titled Malikae- Tarranum. She began singing when she was about five years oldand received training in classical singing under an ustad. Noorjehan was pushed by her parents to follow in their footsteps and become a singer.

Noorjehan began her acting career with Pind Di Kurhi in 1935 and played the role of Heer in Heer-Sayyal (1937). She went on to act in several films with her last being Mirza Sahibaan in 1947.

Arif Lohar

Arif Lohar was born in 1959 and has been awarded the Pride of Performance award by the Government of Pakistan. He is making his debut as an actor in a Syed Noor film called Jugni (also the title of one of his most famous songs). He told The Express Tribune last week, “Yes, I have been cast in the lead role and the film is expected to release around Eid-ul-Azha this year.”

Adnan Sami Khan

Adnan Sami Khan was encouraged by Asha Bhosle to pursue music as a career. Sami released his first sole album in the early 1990s nd in 1994 composed music for his first film, Sargam. The film was directed by Syed Noor. This was also Sami’s acting debut where he played the lead with his then-wife Zeba Bakhtiar.

Sajjad Ali

Sajjad Ali was born in 1966 in Karachi and gained celebrity stardom in the early 1980s as a semi-classical singer. He released his first classical album in 1979 and made his television debut in “Aap Janab”. Ali also tried his hand in the film industry and directed his first telefilm Love Letter in 1989 and performed as an actor and singer in Munda Tera Deewana directed by Zahoor Husain Gillani.

Fawad Afzal Khan

Fawad Afzal Khan is the lead singer for the Pakistani rock band Entity Paradigm (which split up and reunited last year). Khan has acted in several television productions and debuted as a film actor in Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye.

Ali Zafar

Ali Zafar is a musician, model, painter and actor. Zafar graduated from the National College of Arts in 2002 and released his first album Huqa Pani in Pakistan in 2003 and internationally in 2005. Zafar plays the lead role in Tere Bin Laden, an upcoming Bollywood film, which is expected to release globally on July 16, 2010.

Atif Aslam

Most popularly known for his crooning voice and powerful vocal belting technique, Atif Aslam has had a number of hit songs such as “Aadat”, “Tere Bin” and “Pehli Nazar Mein”. Aslam was a member of Jal but soon branched out on his and released his first solo album Jal Pari in 2004. Currently, the singer is working in Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming film Bol, which also stars VJ Mahira Khan.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 18th, 2010