PESHAWAR: Veteran Pashto film director Mumtaz Ali Khan passed away in his Lahore residence, family sources confirmed on Thursday. He was 74.

The noted director is said to have been suffering from multiple health issues for quite some time.

He left behind two daughters, four sons and a widow to mourn his death. He was laid to rest in Lahore the same day. Artists, fans and relatives attended his funeral prayers.

The artists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa widely condoled his death and sympathised with the bereaved family.

Mumtaz Ali Khan was born in Pabbi, Nowshera district, in 1947. He qualified 10th grade from his village government high school.

He was admitted to Edwardes College Peshawar but he could not complete his education due to financial constraints. He got employment with known actor Rangeela in Lahore studio who explored a director in the young film fan.

Mr Khan started his career in 1963 with Rangeela and proved himself an excellent director and came up with supper hit Urdu and Punjabi films including Diya Aur Toofan, Dil Aur Dunya , Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, Teri Qasam and a few others. However, he became a brand name after he directed Pashto film ‘Darra Khyber’ released in December 1971 followed by Orbal, Khanabadosh, Deedan, Jawargar, Naway Da Yway Shpay and Rahmdad Khan.

Pashto movies reigned over hearts of Pakhtun viewers due to Mumtaz Ali Khan’s superb direction, characterised by quality contents including music and beautiful locations coupled with excellent camera shoot.

Like his ideal hero, Dillip Kumar, he strongly believed in quality rather than quantity. He was responsible for introducing noted actors including Waheeda Khan, Asif Khan, Suriya Khan, Ismail Shah, Musarrat Shaheen and Humayun Qureshi. Also, he enjoyed the unique talent to have had pioneered double version trend in pollywood industry. Bangree Au Hatkarrai, Zakhooma, Qanoon, Qaidi, Da Dako Loor and Dukhmani were among other super hits released between early 80s and late 90s.

The noted director could gift only 50 top Pashto flicks to pollywood industry as he called it a day after Pashto cinema declined to sponsor quality productions and devoted his rest of life to religious activities.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2021

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