Shah Nawaz played the main role after hero (Ashok Kumar)and heroine (Mumtaz Shanti) in film Qismat in 1943, which was the first ever blockbuster talkie film in pre-partition era. He also appeared in some other big movies like Madam Noorjahan's famous musical movies Zeenat (1945) and Bhai Jan in 1945. Hamayun (1945) was one of his other movie. He had more than two dozens movies before partition. His first film was Doulat in 1937 which was directed by S.M. Yousuf (Saheli fame).
Shah Nawaz was seen in 41 Pakistani movies, 32 Urdu and 9 Punjabi. Hamari Basti (1950) was his first film. 2 Aansoo (1950), Sassi (1954) and Ayaz (1960) were most famous movies. His historical role as Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi in film Ayaz was appricaiated. Neik Parveen (1975) was his last film.
Shah Nawaz belongs to Hyderabad, Deccan, India and he died on June 18, 1971 in Karachi.