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PESHAWAR: Noted Pashto film actor of the yore days, Umar Daraz Khalil, was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Chamkani Sharif village near Peshawar on Saturday.

Local artists and people from all walks of life attended his funeral offered at the Government College Chowk, Faqirabad. He was 74. He had suffered a serious brain hemorrhage attack at his Abbottabad residence a few days. He was taken to the Ayub Medical Complex, but was later shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, where after remaining in coma for two days he breathed his last on Friday evening.

Umar Daraz had started his acting career in 1968 from a PTV play and Pashto film career in 1971. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the President’s award for ‘Pride of Performance.’

Pashto film star Aman Khan told this correspondent that Mr Daraz was a great asset for Pashto film industry and remained a villain in movies throughout his life, but was always polite, humble and cooperative in the real life.

He said that Mr Daraz was an academy in his own right.

Shahid Khan, another film actor, remarked that Mr Daraz had worked with senior and seasoned performers like Badar Munir, Asif Khan, Bedar Bakht and Niamat Sarhadi.

He said that the void created by his death would take long to fill.

Babar Jameel, another senior film actor, told this scribe that Umar Daraz was a symbol of humility and actor par excellence. “No one could copy his dashing villain style as he was a genuine performer,” he commented.

Ishrat Abbas, a TV actor and younger brother of Mr Daraz, said that right from his first Pashto flick ‘Dara Khyber’ his brother till last performed effectively the role of a villain in around 700 Pashto movies and 350 Urdu and Punjabi films. In ‘Dara Khyber’, Mr Daraz had acted out the role of Malak Dilawar Khan, a defiant tribal chieftain who had never bowed to the British officers.

He said that Mr Daraz had also performed on stage, radio and telefilms and proved his mettle as an excellent performer. He said that late Daraz had never played the role of a hero in his entire acting career.

His hit Pashto movies included ‘Goongai, Speen Sterge, Da Oche Khan, Khabara Da Izzat Daa, and Lewanai’. His super hit Urdu flick was Ghazi Ilam Deen Shaheed while his Punjabi movie ‘Paani’ also had garnered great fame.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2016