Sawan achieved some amazing success in Punjabi films in the 1970s. Although he never appeared as a typical hero in any film, but he played leading roles in many films in the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s. He was only the second villain actor - after Allauddin, who got huge success in leading roles - followed by Sultan Rahi and Mustafa Qureshi.
Sawan was introduced in a minor role in a Karachi made Urdu film Karnama in 1956. He struggled many years. He got breakthrough from film Tees Mar Khan, and became the second best villain actor in Punjabi films after Mazhar Shah. Lai Lag (1964), Malangi, Doli (1965), Bharia Mela, Nizam Lohar (1966), Chann Makhna, Sajjan Pyara, Panj Darya (1968) were some other big films as villain actor.
Sawan got title role in film Goonga (1966) which was a hit film. He was also in title role in film Jigri Yaar and Jani Dushman (1967). In the late 1960s, he was seen in leading roles in many film. Anwara in 1970 was a mega hit musical film and Sawan played the title role and got huge popularity. After the great success of film Khan ChaCha (1972), he demanded a huge amount for his next big film Basheera (1972) but his role was offered to Sultan Rahi with less than 1/10 of total amount. Sultan Rahi's great success was a huge below for Sawan and latter he was forced to accept minor roles in many films till his death on July 6, 1998.
Sawan's real name was Zafar Ahmad Butt (aka Jafra) who belongs to a Kashmiri family from Sialkot. He was a tall and body builder actor. He worked as labour in Karachi and sold tickets on cinemas before becoming an actor.