Ejaz will be remembered for his classic role as Ranjha in film Heer Ranjha. He was also the first ever diamond jubilee hero in both Urdu and Punjabi 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 60s.
Ejaz started his film career from director Munshi Dil’s film Hameeda in 1956. In the beginning of his career..
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 Mohammad Ali, Waheed Murad, Nadeem, Santosh, Sudhir, Habib, Kemal, Darpan, Rehman, Inayat Hussain Bhatti and Kaifee were dominating 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 written in the history books when he made the first ever hat-trick of diamond jubilee films. His Punjabi film Khan ChaCha as hero became the first ever diamond jubilee Punjabi film in Pakistan in 1972. Same year his another Punjabi film Sultan archived the great honor to become a diamond jubilee film.
- Ejaz was main hero in film Anwara (1970) which celebrated platinum jubilee in Karachi – the second film in the history after film Maa Puttar same year.
- Ejaz made comeback as producer and actor in film Sholay (1984) which was a big diamond jubilee action and musical film.
Ejaz had five diamond jubilee films in his career, which is the third highest after Sultan Rahi’s 28 and Nadeem’s 10 diamond jubilee films. But Ejaz was the first film hero with diamond jubilee films in both Urdu and Punjabi languages.
- 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, Dosti, Sholay and Moula Bakhsh were all time mega hit films. Heer Ranjha is a classic romantic film and all other three films were diamond jubilee hit films as well. His other three produced films Murad Baloch, Punnu di Sassi and … 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). This story was filmed in India in 1935 and then in 1946 by Nazir, Sawarn Lata played Azra role.
- 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 in Mirza Sahiban (with Musarrat Nazir in 1958), Yousuf Khan in Jatt Mirza (with Anjuman in 1982) and Shahid in Mirza Jatt (with Khanum in 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 another film on this topic as Sehti in 1956 and the title roles were played by Musarrat Nazir and Akmal.
- Dulla Haidary (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). 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 nobody played a better role of Ranjha in whole sub-continent as Ejaz did in this film. He became legend from this role. (Read more about this film here)
- Punnu di Sassi (1972): Ejaz produced this film and played the title role of Punnu. Sassi was Sangeeta. This was a flop film. (Read more about this film here).
- Ejaz missed few other famous roles as Laila Majnu (played by Santosh/Sabiha and Aslam Pervez/Bahar in 1956 and Waheed Murad/Rani in 1974), Sohni Mehinwal (played by Sudhir/Sabiha in 1957 and Yousuf Khan/Mumtaz in 1976) and Shirin Farhad (played by Mohammad Ali/Zeba in 1975).
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 an Indian film Wachan and released in February 1956. They had same roles in both films. Santosh was hero in both films and two top heroines Noor Jehan and Sabiha were main heroines in these films.
- Habib’s first big film was Aadmi and Ejaz’s Bara Aadmi…!
- Habib’s first Punjabi film was Shera and Ejaz’s Suchey Moti – both films were released on September 11, 1960 and Neelo was heroine in both films..!
- Both actors got breakthrough 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 was divorced.
- Ejas produced film Dosti which was shooting in London. Habib’s Perdes was also shooting 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 cinema owner – 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.
|Real name||Ejaz Durrani|
|Date of Birth||1935|
|Family||Noorjahan and Firdous (ex-wives), Sharif Nayyar (father-in-law)|