Mohammad Ali (actor)

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Mohammad Ali
محمد علی
Born(1931-04-19)19 April 1931
Died19 March 2006(2006-03-19) (aged 74)
Other namesShahenshah-e-Jazbaat (Urdu: شہنشاہ جذبات)
Ali Bhai, Bhaiya
OccupationActor, producer, Social worker
Years active1962–1995
HonoursPride of Performance (1984)

Mohammad Ali (Urdu: مُحمّد علی‎; April 19, 1931 – March 19, 2006) was a Pakistani actor. He was known as Shahenshah-e-Jazbaat (Urdu: شہنشاہِ جذبات‎), meaning The Emperor of Emotions.[1] A highly versatile actor, he performed in historical, biographical and patriotic roles; in costume and art movies. He has starred in over 250 movies playing both heroes and villains. He is among the 25 greatest actors of Asia (all time) according to a CNN survey (On 4 March 2010).[2]

Early life[edit]

Mohammad Ali was born in Rampur, British India on 19 April 1931. He was the son of Maulana Syed Murshid Ali, who was an Islamic scholar. Born into a religious family, he was the youngest of two brothers and two sisters. After his birth the family migrated from Rampur to Rohtak, and from there to Hyderabad, finally settling in Multan shortly after the independence of Pakistan in 1947.

He attended the Millat High School, Multan. He was a favorite student of Mirza Musart Baig and Syed Naseer Ahmed. He was a close friend of Syed Iqbal Shah and Khalid Mahmood Bukhari, and did his intermediate examination (12th grade) from Government Emerson College, Multan. In 1954, he moved to Hyderabad to pursue higher studies and obtained a BA from City College, Hyderabad.[3]


Start of career from Radio Pakistan[edit]

Muhammad Ali joined Radio Pakistan Hyderabad station as a broadcaster in 1956, where his elder brother Irshad was already working as a drama artist. After some time working there, he moved to Bhawalpur station and from there finally moved to Radio Pakistan, Karachi.[3][4]

Film career[edit]

Mohammad Ali started his film career with Fazal Ahmad Karim Fazli's film Chiragh Jalta Raha (1962). Chiragh Jalta Raha was premiered by Fatima Jinnah on 9 March 1962 at Nishat Cinema, Karachi. He then appeared as a villain in director Munawwar Rasheed's film Bahadur, director Iqbal Yusuf's film Daal Mein Kala, and director Javed Hashmi's film Dil Ne Tujhay Maan Liya. His first film as a hero was Mr. X but Movie Shararat (1963) was released earlier than film Mr. X. Later, he moved to Lahore and worked in the movie Khandan (1964). But his breakthrough was from the film Khamosh Raho (1964). In 1989, he had an extended cameo in the Hindi film Clerk.[5][6]

Mohammad Ali was the lead actor and 'hero' in 94 films. His first lead actor movie was Shararat (1963) and his last movie as a lead actor was Aaj Ki Raat (1983). Another movie was Mohabbat ho to aisi (1989) and his last movie of his career was titled Dum Mast Qalander (1995).

Playback singers[edit]

Ali was most often voiced by Mehdi Hassan and Ahmed Rushdi. Mehdi Hassan sang 115 songs for Ali in his 88 movies. Rushdi sang 100 songs in 57 movies for Ali. Masood Rana sang 34 songs for Ali in his 23 films. Others who provided his voice were Akhlaq Ahmed, Ghulam Abbas, Rajab Ali and Mujeeb Aalam.[7]

Marriage to actress Zeba[edit]

Ali met Zeba the first time in 1962 during the filming of their debut film "Chirag Jalta Raha (1962)". The couple got married four years later during the filming of Tum mile pyar mila on 29 September 1966 and remained married until Ali's death in 2006.[8]

They did not have any children together. However, Mohammad Ali legally adopted Samina, Zeba's daughter from her previous marriage, giving her the name Samina Ali.

Political and social activism[edit]

Mohammad Ali and his wife Zeba both had close relations with different political regimes in the country. He protested by putting up black dress in International Moscow Film Festival against India for holding 93,000 POWs after the 1971 war. In Nawaz Sharif's government, he also served as Cultural Minister and introduced new policies to improve the condition of Pakistani film Industry.[9]

Ali-Zaib Foundation[edit]

Muhammad Ali along with Shahid Ali Zaidi founded Ali-Zaib Foundation in 1995 to help the Thalassemia patients. The foundation built hospitals in Sargodha, Sahiwal, Jhang, Gujranwala, Okara with Foundation's Head office in Faisalabad.

Retirement from films and his death[edit]

Ali's last resting place in the courtyard of Mian Mir Shrine at Lahore

After his retirement from films, when Mohammad Ali was asked in a television show about his disassociation from the films, he said: "The atmosphere in which I was accustomed to work for films and the way films are made now, have entirely changed, hence I called it quits." He was very generous and warm towards his fans. One of the best Pashto poets Zahir Shah Zahir has dedicated all his poetry to Mohammad Ali which includes more than ten books. The poet used to visit his house and have long discussions about the social welfare of people and Pakistani society.

Mohammad Ali died on 19 March 2006 due to a heart attack in Lahore.[10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

He won 10 Nigar awards in his film career starting from 1964 to 1984.

  • Nigar Award for Best Supporting Actor in film Khamosh Raho (1964)[5]
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor in film Kaneez (1965)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor in film Aag Ka Darya (1966)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor in film Saiqa (1968)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor in film Insaan Aur Aadmi (1970)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor for Wehshi (1971)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor in film Aas (1973)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor for film Aaina Aur Soorat (1974)
  • Nigar Award for Best Actor for film Haidar Ali (1978)
  • Super Performance Nigar Award in 1984 for films Doorian and Bobby[5]

He is the only Pakistani actor who won the most awards as Best Actor in the 1960s and 1970s.

He received many honours and special awards like the Millennium Legend Star Graduate Award in 2000, Ilyas Rasheedi Gold medal 1998, Nigar Lifetime Achievement Award 1998, Nigar Millennium Award 2000, Lifetime Excellency Award 1997, Pakistan Best Personality Award 1997. He received Bolan Awards, Screen Light Awards, National Academy Awards, Critics Award, Cultural Award from Punjab University and an Asian Academy Award. He received the first foreign award Al-Nasr Award in Dubai 1984. He was also awarded the Naushad Award of India.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Remembering Mohammad Ali – the legend of Pakistani films Daily Times (newspaper), 21 March 2018, Retrieved 7 February 2019
  2. ^ "asias-25-greatest-actors-all-time". Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2016. on Asia Society website
  3. ^ a b "Actor Muhammad Ali being remembered today". Retrieved 1 July 2016., on Dunya News website
  4. ^ Mohammad Ali passes away Dawn (newspaper), Published 20 March 2006, Retrieved 7 February 2019
  5. ^ a b c d e Profile of Mohammad Ali (actor) - his Pride of Performance Award in 1984 listed on website Retrieved 7 February 2019
  6. ^ Mohammad Ali (actor) in Hindi film 'Clerk (1989)' on IMDb website Retrieved 8 February 2019
  7. ^ Mohammad Ali (actor) on- screen film songs in the playback singing voice of Mehdi Hassan on The Express Tribune (newspaper), Published 14 June 2012, Retrieved 7 February 2019
  8. ^ "spotlight". Retrieved 1 July 2016., on mag4you website
  9. ^ "A tribute to the 'King of Emotions'". Retrieved 1 July 2016.[permanent dead link], A tribute to Mohammad Ali (actor) on Pakistan Press Foundation website
  10. ^ "Pakistan's Top Film Star Muhammad Ali Dies". Retrieved 1 July 2016., on Pak Tribune website

External links[edit]