LAHORE: Lollywood legend and one of Pakistani cinema’s greatest heroes, Mohammad Ali passed away on March 19, 2006. As yesterday marked his 13th death anniversary, the ‘Shahenshah-e-Jazbaat’ (The Emperor of Emotions) was celebrated in an intimate ceremony attended by his contemporaries, students and renowned film personalities alike.
Having gained fame in the golden era of the 1960s, the artist ruled showbiz for more than three decades. Therefore, in a career spanning over 30 years, Ali churned out multiple blockbuster films, eventually owning the spot amongst the 25 best actors of the Asian film industry.
Ali was a versatile actor. He starred in more than 250 Urdu and Punjabi films and appeared in a wide variety of roles – romantic, villainous and comical. He kicked off his acting career in 1962 with the film Chiragh Jalta Raha but his breakthrough was from the 1964 hits Khamosh Raho and Khandan. He almost always played the role of a hero (94 films), starting from 1963’s Shararat to Aaj Ki Raat in 1983.
“The era of Mohammad Ali was the golden period of Lollywood. He was amongst the people who did a lot for the local film industry. He was talented and known for his solid acting. For others, Ali was a source of guidance. He worked with big actors and actresses of his time and never let anyone down,” senior film director Altaf Hussain told The Express Tribune.
He worked with leading stars of his time including Madam Noor Jehan, Shamim Ara, Sultan Rahi and Waheed Murad. Not to forget, he was also married to one of the most renowned heroines of the time, Zeba. And, together they were one of Lollywood’s most sought-after couples.
Born on April 1, 1931, Ali and his family moved to Pakistan following Partition. He lived in Karachi for a few years and soon shifted to Lahore, claiming he saw a bright future for his work in the Walled City. “Mohammad Ali was a beautiful personality. Every heroine wished to work with him. He shifted to Lahore because it was the hub of film-making at the time. He was a noble man who helped everyone around him. For this reason, Mohammad Ali’s name still makes the film industry proud,” stated actor Durdana Rahman.
A 10-time Nigar award winner, Ali was also presented the Pride of Performance Award in 1984. “Mohammad Ali did a lot of charity work for the welfare of the artist community. He established the Ali Zaib foundation while he was at the peak of his career and always supported poor actors. Today, we all remember him fondly, miss him and pray for him every day,” mentioned actor Shiba Butt.
Later, he also received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for his contributions to film. Besides this, he also won the Bolan Award, National Academy Award, Noshad Award in India and Al Nasr Award in Dubai. Ali passed away in Lahore following a sudden heart attack.
Edited by Manaal Khurram
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