Ejaz will be remembered for his classic role as Ranjha in film Heer Ranjha. He was also the first ever diamond jubilee hero in Pakistani films. Despite the criticism of shortcoming in acting and bad accent in Urdu language, he was the most successful film hero on box office in the late 1960s.
Ejaz started his film career from director Munshi Dil's film Hameeda in 1956, and his last film was Jhoomar Chor in 1986, which was directed by his father-in-law Sharif Nayyar.
Some facts about Ejaz
- Ejaz became the first ever diamond jubilee hero when film Zarqa (1969) celebrated 101 weeks in Karachi. It was a golden era of Pakistani films and many top film stars like Sudhir, Santosh, Darpan, Habib, Kemal, Rehman, Mohammad Ali, Waheed Murad, Nadeem, Inayat Hussain Bhatti and Kaifee were popular heroes.
- Ejaz was also main hero in Pakistan's second diamond jubilee Urdu film Dosti in 1971. It was his own production and the film was shoot in London first time.
- Ejaz was main hero in film Anwara (1970) which was the first ever platinum jubilee Punjabi film in Karachi.
- Ejaz played young-to-old role in film Dia aur Toofan in 1969. Naghma was his heroine and Rani was his daughter.
- Ejaz played villainous hero role in film Sawaal (1966), semi villain role in Behan Bhai (1968) and full villain role in April Fool (1977). He was supporting actor in Sholay (1984) and side hero in his last appearance in film Jhoomar Chor (1986).
Ejaz as producer
Ejaz was a successful film producer. His films Heer Ranjha 1970), Dosti (1971), Sholay (1984) and Moula Bakhsh (1988) were all time super hit films. Heer Ranjha is a classic romantic film. His other three produced films Murad Baloch (1968), Dulla Haidry (1969) and Punnu di Sassi (1972) were flopped.
An ideal hero for folk stories
Ejaz was an ideal hero in romantic films based on folk stories. He had the highest number of title roles in these kind films. Here are some more details:
- Azra (1962): Ejaz played the role of Wamaq - The lover of Azra (Neelo).
- Mirza Jatt (1967): Ejaz was the best actor to play the title role of Mirza, who loved Sahiban (Firdous). Other roles of Mirza were played by Sudhir with Musarrat Nazir in Mirza Sahiban (1956), Yousuf Khan with Anjuman in Jatt Mirza (1982) and Shahid with Khanum in Mirza Jatt (1982). This story was also filmed by many producers before partition.
- Murad Baloch (1968): Ejaz was Murad and his lover was Sehti (Firdous). This famous pair was a part of Heer Ranjha story and the roles were played by Aqeel and Zamurrad in film Heer Ranjha. There was an another film on this topic as Sehti in 1957 and the title roles were played by Musarrat Nazir and Akmal.
- Dulla Haidry (1969): Ejaz and Iqbal Hassan played the title roles of Dulla and Haidry. A story about two friends and "their" Nooran (Firdous) who loved Dulla but married to Haidry. This was a flop film and a true copy of blockbuster film Dulla Bhatti from 1956 (The title roles were played by Sudhir, Allauddin and Sabiha). An another flop film Dulla Bhatti was made in 1984. Yousuf Khan, Mustafa Qureshi and Anjuman were in the title roles.
- Heer Ranjha (1970): There is not any doubt that no body played a better role of Ranjha in whole sub-continent as Ejaz did in this film. He became legend from this role.
- Punnu di Sassi (1972): Ejaz produced this film and played the title role of Punnu. Sassi was Sangeeta. This was a flop film.
Ejaz & Habib
There are some very interesting similarities between Ejaz and Habib..
- Habib and Ejaz started their film careers same time with film Lakht-e-Jiggar and Hameeda, respectively - both films were a copy of and Indian film Wachan and released in February 1956. They had same roles in both films.
- Habib's first big film was Aadmi and Ejaz's Bara Aadmi (1957)...!
- Habib's first Punjabi film was Shera and Ejaz's Suchey Moti - both films were released on September 11, 1959 and Neelo was heroine in both films..!
- Both actors got breakthroughs in Punjabi films in 1967, Habib from Dil da Jani and Ejaz from Mirza Jatt.
- Both actors were popular with Naghma and Firdous - two top heroines in Punjabi films. Habib married Naghma and Ejaz married Firdous and both pair were divorced.!
- Ejaz produced film Dosti (1971) which was shoot in London. Habib's Pardes (1972) was also shoot in London..!
- Ejaz (full name Ejaz Durrani) was born in a remote village of Jalalpur Jattan, District Gujrat in 1935. He passed his B.A. from Jhelum and moved to Lahore and got chance in film Hameeda in 1956.
- He was married with Madam Noor Jehan in 1959 and got three daughters with her, but they were divorced in 1971. In the beginning of the seventies, he had an affair with Firdous and later he married famous director Sharif Nayyar's daughter.
- Ejaz was producer and cinemaowner - Sangeet cinemas at Lahore and Rawalpindi were owned by him. His film company was Punjab Pictures.
- He was jailed in London from 1978-83 due to a heroin case.
(This article was published on 31.7.2006)