HYDERABAD: Just like Sindhi cinema that is no longer in existence, the star who took it to its pinnacle in the 1960s and 70s, breathed his last on Thursday. Mushtaq Malano, known by his stage name Mushtaq Changezi, died of a cardiac arrest.
The star acted in the lead role of about 60 Sindhi movies in his career spanning more than 30 years. He was at one point married to the Punjabi and Sindhi movie superstar, the late Chakori.
“He entered the industry at a time when the newly introduced cinema screens posed a dispiriting challenge to Sindhi films,” recalls Naseer Mirza, an expert on art and music and the regional director of Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad.
Changezi stumbled into playing the part of the protagonist in the movies and went on to outshine his co-stars. “He had actually gone for an audition in 1960 for the role of a comedian in the late Hassan Shaikh’s film Shehru Feroze. But his photogenic looks impressed the director who made him the hero,” says Mirza.
Chandoki, Nuri Jam Tamachi, Sodho Put Sindh Jo, Pyar Taan Sadqe and Pyar Kayo Singhar are among his best known films. In most of them, he co-starred with the late Chakori. “It was the Pyar kyo Singhar in 1971 when they both played the lead roles. They got married and produced many hits,” Shahbaz Durrani, a contemporary, recollects.
However, with that marriage began his downfall, and, hence that of Sindhi cinema, Durrani feels. “He made a big mistake. He took his wife to Lahore where she was unexpectedly cast by film director Javed Fazil in his debut ‘Goonj’. She never returned.”
Since then Durrani always found his friend, who later remarried, downcast. “He was even put in a lock-up when he tried to force Chakori to return. Mustafa Qureshi helped him out and sent him back to Hyderabad.”
According to Muhammad Hussain Qadri, another renowned face of the regional cinema, theatre and dramas, Changezi was for Sindhi movies what Dilip Kumar was for Hindi films. “Just as Pashto films have not produced a second Badar Munir, the same is true for him,” he said.
A protégé, Yousuf Sanai, shed light on the altruistic character of the late actor. “He reared me as a son and taught me acting,” he said. Sanai met his mentor the first time during a shoot in Karachi. He went on to work with Changezi in supporting roles.
Changezi also wrote and directed films. After his retirement from the screen, he acted in dramas. A hero in the prime of his life, he played the supporting role of a lawyer in Imdad Shah Rashdi’s Sindhi drama ‘Aukha Pandh’. But things were never quite the same.
In the three to four years before his death, Changezi engaged himself in a radio program, Katchehri, on Radio Pakistan. His co-host was Hussain Kazi for the programme, which has been on air since the founding of Radio Pakistan itself. “He would create ideas. Attend regularly. And could capture the public interest,” Kazi said.
Changezi had complained of chest pains and was taken to Red Crescent Hospital. According to his son Ahtasham Changezi the money for his father’s first heart surgery was given by Benazir Bhutto in her last government.
He is survived by his wife and three sons. He was laid to rest in Tando Jahania graveyard.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2012.