The Pakistani film industry was at its peak when glamour was not the backbone of movies from the past. At the time, popular Pakistani film actors were renowned for their outclass acting.
The film industry was very strong during the fifties sixties, seventies and eighties, with great performance to good storylines.
Famous Pakistani film actors had a huge following in neighbouring India and across the world.
In fact, many were born in a unified India and migrated to Pakistan post-partition.
With successful careers, many of the actors won many awards under different categories and genres. And then went onto to become role models for the future generation of actors.
DESIblitz brings you 20 best Pakistani actor made their mark in the film industry.
Sudhir is a famous Pakistani action hero of the past. He was born as Shah Zaman Khan Afridi in Lahore on January 25, 1921.
Both in films and outside the word of cinema, he was familiar to many as Lala Sudhir, particularly due to his Pathani and tribal connections.
He was one of the most appreciated Pakistani film actors, primarily for the characters he played.
Sudhir played many exceptional patriotic and action roles in films. Thus, for this reason, his name was behind the success of the films.
His first successful Pakistani film was Hichkolay (1949). After Hichkolay, he shot to fame with the film Dupatta (1952) directed by Sibtain Fazli. The ‘Queen of Melody’ Noor Jehan played the heroine opposite Sudhir in this film.
He celebrated a Golden Jubilee for his first Urdu film Sassi (1954). However, his big break came with the film Yakkaywali (1957), starring opposite actress and singer Musarrat Nazir.
His other popular movies include Kartar Singh (1959), Jeedar (1965) and Maa Puttar (1970). Sudhir sadly left this world on January 19, 1997.
Syed Musa Raza who became famous after adopting the name Santosh Kumar was born in Lahore, British India on December 25, 1925. He was the star of the Pakistani film industry during the fifties and sixties.
Appearing in romantic films, many fans fell in love with his acting. His first big screen Pakistan movie Beli came out in 1950.
He was the first actor to secure a Silver Jubilee for the film Do Aansoo (1950).
His other major hits include Bedari (1956), Mukhra (1958), Bluff Master (1963), Kaneez (1965), Sachaa Jhuta (1970) and Anjuman (1970).
He was also the actor, producer and director for the film Shaam Dhalay (1960). His leading lady in films Sabiha Khanum was his second wife.
His brother Darpan was also a famous actor of that time. Santosh passed away on June 11, 1982.
Syed Ishrat Abbas, one of the most famous Pakistani film actors of his time was also familiar as Darpan. He was born in 1928 during the British India period.
As a romantic hero of the golden age, his expressions were magical. His elder brother Santosh Kumar was also a popular film actor.
Amanat was his first movie that came out in 1950. His film Saheli (1960), also starring Shamim Ara was very successful.
He also played significant characters in big films such as Raat Ke Rahi (1960) and Naela (1965).
Payal Ki Jhankar (1966) was the last big film that he came in as a hero.
At the relatively young age of fifty-two, Darpan departed from this world on November 8, 1980.
Actor Habib-ur-Rehman who was fondly familiar as Habib was born in 1931. Despite acting being his main skill, he was also a successful producer and director too.
He was always busy shooting new films. He was one of the busiest actors from the sixties and seventies.
Habib enjoyed a successful acting career with hundreds of super hits. He was equally famous in Urdu and Punjabi cinema.
His first movie was Lakhat-e-Jigar that came out in 1956. But his first big break came courtesy of Aadmi (1958).
His role in Aadmi took him to a whole new level of fame. Viewers and producers began casting him in leading roles, as he became a star.
His famous Punjabi musical film Mouj Mela (1963) went onto achieve Golden Jubilee status.
His other popular Punjabi films include Dil Da Jani (1967), Chann Makhna (1968) and Do Pattar Annaran Dey (1972).
After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage, Habib died on February 25, 2016.
Famous as ‘Shahenshah-e-Jazbaat’ (Emperor of Emotions), Mohammad Ali was born in Rampur, British India on April 19, 1931.
His facial expressions and romanticism made him the first choice of every director.
He acted in more than 250 movies. As per a 2010 CNN survey, Ali was among the top 25 actors of Asia.
His career began from Radio Pakistan. Fatima Jinnah was a special guest at the premiere of his debut film Chiragh Jalta Raha (1962).
Mr X (1963) was his first movie as a leading Pakistani film hero. Actress Zeba appeared in most of his movies as they were married in real life too.
Under different categories, Ali won ten Nigar Awards for his films.
The movies include Khamosh Raho (1964). Kaneez (1965), Aag Ka Darya (1966), Saiqa (1968) Insaan Aur Aadmi (1970), Wehshi (1971), Aas (1973) Aaina Aur Soorat (1974), Haidar Ali (1978), Doorian (1984) and Bobby (1984).
Following a heart attack, Mohammad Ali passed away in Lahore on March 19, 2006.
Aslam Pervez was born Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam in Lahore on February 12, 1932.
He decided to join the Pakistani film industry in 1955. Many people recognise him for his role in the movie Patey Khan (1955). Noor Jahan was the lead female in the movie.
Pervez and Jehan, the perfect pairing, also did the 1959 classic Koel together.
Late in his career, he began playing villainous roles in films such as Saheli (1960), Insaan or Admi (1970), Baharo Phool Barsao (1972) and Miss Colombo (1984).
Describing Aslam as a gentleman, veteran actor Ghulam Mohiyuddin told Instep:
“He was called a Prince in the industry due to his amazing lifestyle.
“Despite a huge gap in age, he never made me feel junior to him. As a kid, I watched Koel in mid-sixties at Liberty Cinema.
“He was a hero in that film; I never imagined that I would be working with him as a lead.”
He won three Nigar awards under different categories during his lifetime.
On November 21, 1984, Aslam met his death following a car accident. His last move Khuddar came out in 1985. Aslam and his wife Surriya had four children, two daughters and two sons.
Famous Pakistani film hero, producer and director Ejaz Durrani was born in Jalalpur Jattan in 1935. He was the first Pakistani actor whose movie had a Diamond Jubilee.
Hameeda (1956) was the first film of his career. He became a star of the Punjabi screen after playing the role of Mirza in Mirza Jat (1967).
His role as Ranjha in the tragic Punjabi romance film Heer Ranjha (1970) made him into an overnight superstar. He was also the producer of this film.
Besides Punjabi cinema, he featured in many Urdu films too. As a hero, Kaliyar was the last movie of his career.
Between 1959-1979, Ejaz was married to actress-singer Noor Jehan. The couple had three daughters together.
He also had a brief marriage with his Heer Ranjha co-star Fidrdous.
Syed Kamal also familiar by his screen name Kamal was born in Meerut, British India on April 27, 1937.
Kamal was amongst the popular Pakistani film actors between the sixties and seventies. He did bear some resemblance to Bollywood legend, Raj Kapoor.
His film Tauba (1963) was his biggest hit at the box office. Other noteworthy films of his include Aashiana (1964), Aisa Bhi Hota Hai (1965), Behan Bhai (1968) and Road To Swat (1970).
He featured in the famous song ‘Yeh Ada Yeh Naaz Yeh Andaz Aap Ka’ from Road to Swat.
Kamal also won a Nigar Award for the film Behan Bhai. Other than films, he also acted in Pakistani dramas.
Kamal had some health issues in the last years of his life as he was a heart patient. He breathed his last on October 1, 2009.
Kamal who had one son and three daughters is a relative of Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Legendary actor Waheeda Murad was a perfect definition of a superhuman. Known as the chocolate hero, Murad was born in Sialkot on October 2, 1938.
His charming expressions earned him millions of fans across the world. He had a successful pairing and on-screen chemistry with actress Zeba.
At the age of twenty-one, his first movie was Saathi (1959), playing a cameo role in the film.
Armaan (1966) was one of the best hits of his career. His acting in the song ‘Koko Kori Na’ from the film was marvellous.
Some of the super hit films of his career include Andaleeb (1969), Anjuman (1970), Mastana Mahi (1971) and Jab Jab Phool Khile (1975).
Shabana (1976), featuring Murad, Babra Sharif and Shahid was a Diamon Jubilee film.
Waheed Murad passed away at the young age of forty-five on November 23, 1983.
Pakistani actor and producer Sultan Rahi was born Muhammad Sultan Khan in 1938. In a career spanning forty years, he worked in just over 700 films, receiving more than 150 awards.
Playing more than 535 vital roles, he acted in both Punjabi and Urdu films. Rahi was one of the best Pakistani film actors of his time, especially from the action genre,
In his first film Baghi (1956) he had a guest appearance. His first breakthrough came with the film Wehshi Jatt (1975). This was like the unofficial prequel to his most successful Punjabi film Maula Jatt (1979).
Playing the role of Maula Jatt, the very rural film was reflective of the ‘gandasa’ (iconic weaponry bladed stick) culture.
At the peak of his career, Rahi was the highest paid actor of his time.
In tragic circumstances, Rahi was shot and killed near Gujranwala on January 9, 1996.
Mustafa Qureshi was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan on May 11, 1938.
Despite being reluctant to act, he signed for a leading role as a villain in the movie Laakhon Mein Ek. The film went on to become a success at the box office.
But it was his iconic role of Noori Natt in the film Maula Jatt (1979) that people remember him for.
The film had excellent dialogues, including “Nawa Aya E Sohniya.”
This role became his trademark afterwards as he appeared in many other classic movies. He came in many films alongside his Maula Jatt co-star Sultan Rahi
Mustafa Qureshi is married to folk singer, Rubina. His son Amir Qureshi is an actor and musician.
Actor and comedy king, Munawar Zarif was born in Gujranwala on December 25, 1940. The versatile actor was renowned in South Asia and had many fans across the globe.
He was given the title of ‘Shehenshah-i-Zarafat’ (King of Humour) by his fans. Zarif’s outclass comedy became the spirit of his movies.
After beginning his career with the Punjabi movie Dandian (1961), he got his big break in the film Hath Jori (1964).
After playing supporting and comedy roles, he began to get lead characters in films such as Banarsi Thugg (1973) and Jeera Blade (1973).
His outstanding performance in Baharo Phool Barsao (1972) earnt him a Nigar Award.
But ultimately it was his film Naukar Wohti Da (1974) with late Asiya that his fans always remember him by.
His comedy, expressions and dances are great in the film.
Munawar Zarif died on April 29, 1976, as a result of liver cirrhosis.
Mirza Nazeer Baig Mughal was born in Vijayawada, British India on July 19, 1941. Familiar by his stage name Nadeem Baig, he was yet another famous hero of Pakistan.
Nadeem came in 200+ Urdu and Punjabi movies.
Chakori (1967) was his first movie in a leading role with actress Shabana. He was also a successful singer and writer.
He acted with actress Shabanam in most of his movies. Nadeem worked with many famous faces of the industry like Waheed Murad, Darpan, Santosh Kumar and Babra Sharif.
Daman Aur Chingari (1973), Dil Lagi (1973), Anari (1975), Pehchan (1975), Aina (1977), Playboy (1978) and Bandish (1980) are some of his popular films.
He has several awards to his name including Hilal-i-Imitiaz (Crescent of Excellence) and Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence).
Shahid Hameed was a famous actor from the seventies and eighties, who went by his first name Shahid. Born in Lahore, he worked in over 150 movies.
Aansoo (1971) was his first film that came out. Zor (1998) was the last movie of his career.
His notable films include Tehzeeb (1971) and Umrao Jan Ada (1972).
He received two prestigious Nigar Awards. First, he won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for the film Deedar (1974).
Secondly, he bagged ‘Best Actor’ for his terrific performance in Shabana (1976).
Shahid was briefly married to actress Babra Sharif. He has three sons from his marriage to Munazza Shahid. His son Kamran Shahid is a famous news show host.
Pakistani actor and comedian Ali Ejaz was born in 1941. His class fellow at school was comedian Munawar Zarif.
After briefly doing theatre in the sixties, producer Shabab Keranvi introduced him to the film world.
His first movie Insaniyant in 1967 was a big hit. During the eighties, his pairing with actress Anjuman and late comedian Nanna were successful.
Dubai Chalo (1979) and Sohra Te Jawai (1980) are some of his popular comedy films with Nanha.
Ejaz worked in over a hundred Pakistan films, including Punjabi and Urdu movies
He won a ‘Best Comedian’ Nigar Award in 1981 and 1984. At the age off seventy-seven, Ali Ejaz passed away due to a cardiac arrest on December 18, 2018.
Javed Sheikh was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on October 9, 1951. He appeared in more than 100 Urdu and Punjabi movies.
Dhamaka (1974) was his first Pakistani movie. Whilst doing films, Javed also acted in dramas.
Some of his popular films include Bhabi Dian Chooriaan (1986), Miss Colombo (1984), Bobby (1984), Na Maloom Afraad (2014), Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (2015) and Teefa in Trouble (2018).
Javed also directed numerous films including Mushkil (1995), Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa (2002) and Khulay Aasman Ke Neechay (2008).
His brother Saleem Shaikh and son Shehzad Sheikh are also actors.
Legendary actor Ghulam Mohiyuddin was born in Lahore Pakistan on October 27, 1951. He has featured in more than 400 films, including Urdu and Punjabi.
He had a blockbuster entry in films with Mera Nam Hai Muhabbat (1975), starring Babra Sharif also in the film.
A Chinese folk story was the inspiration behind this film. This movie was a big success in China too.
Known as Gullu Bhai in the Pakistani film industry, he had many other super hit films, including Aaj Aur Kal (1976) and Awaz (1978).
Ghulam Mohiyuddin has received several awards and medals during his acting career.
Faisal Rehman, who is more commonly known by his first name was born in Lahore, Pakistan.
He belongs to a family linked with films. His father Massud-ur-Rehman was a cinematographer. He is the nephew of late Bollywood character actor Rehman.
At a very young age, he entered the film industry. He has around thirty films to his name.
As a 14-year-old, his first movie Nahin Abhi Nahi (1980), starring actress Shabnam was a super hit. People appreciated his role as Mani in the film.
His on-screen chemistry with Babra Sharif was very successful, especially in films such as Tina (1983), Miss Colombo (1984) and Miss Singapore (1984).
Despite doing more television, his many classic movies are still liked by the younger generation.
With his facial dimples, he has many female fans.
Pakistani superstar Shaan was born as Armughan Shahid on April 27, 1969. He comes from a filmy family, as his father was late director Riaz Shahid and mother being famous actress Neelo.
During an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Shaan has acted in more than 500 movies.
He started his career in 1990 with the film Bulandi. Despite the film doing average, it took Shaan to the skies of fame.
His films Khuda Kay Liye (2007) and Waar (2013) were the highest grossing films of their time.
He won Nigar Awards for films such as Sangam (1997), Nikkah (1998) and Tere Pyar Mein (1990). The government of Pakistan honoured him with a Pride of Performance award in 2007.
Shaan remains one of the highest-paid actors in the Pakistani film industry.
Pakistani heartthrob Moammar Rana was born in Lahore on February 26, 1974.
Moammar comes from a cricketing family, as his father Shafqat Rana was an ex-test player and uncle Shakoor Rana (late) being a famous umpire.
He got his first big break in the film ‘Deewane Tere Pyar Ke’ directed by Syed Noor.
The Syed Noor direction Choorian (1998) starring Moammar and Saima was the biggest Punjabi blockbuster of its time.
Late Shamim Ara also roped him in for her romantic-action film Pal Do Pal (1999).
His on-screen chemistry was best with Saima and Reema Khan. Moammar Rana has also worked with many other actors and directors
Pakistani cinema has certainly produced many terrific Pakistani film actors. Besides those mentioned above, there were many other fantastic actors who also played hero roles. These include the likes of Izhar Qazi and Ismail Shah.
All the popular Pakistani film actors have made their presence felt, with many young stars brightly shining in their footsteps.
From Waheed Murad to Shaan Shahid, the Pakistani film industry continues to entertain its fans.