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Munawar Zarif

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Munawar Zarif
منور ظریف
Munawar Zarif in 1973
Muhammad Munawar

2 February 1940[1]
Died29 April 1976(1976-04-29) (aged 36)
Resting placeBibi Pak Daman Cemetery, Lahore, Pakistan
Other namesShahenshah-e-Zarafat (Urdu: شہنشاہِ ﻇﺮﺍﻓﺖ)
  • Actor
  • comedian
Years active1961 – 1976[1][2]
Known forA versatile comedian
SpouseBilquis Khanum
Children3, including Faisal Munawar Zarif
RelativesMohammad Zarif (brother)
Munir Zarif (brother)
Rasheed Zarif (brother)
Majeed Zarif (brother)
Awards3 Nigar Awards

Munawar Zarif (Punjabi, Urdu: منور ظریف) (25 December 1940 – 29 April 1976) was a Pakistani film actor and comedian. His fans named him Shahenshah-e-Zarafat (Urdu: شہنشاہِ ﻇﺮﺍﻓﺖ), meaning The Emperor of Humor or the King of Humor.[3][1]

He was one of the most popular and highest paid actors of the 1970s and is considered one of the greatest comedians of South Asia.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Munawar Zarif was born on 2 February 1940 in Gujranwala, Punjab.[1][2] He started his film career with a Punjabi film Dandian (1961). His breakthrough film was 1964's Hath Jori. After starting as a comedian, he was promoted to playing second leads starting with the film Parday Mein Rehnay Do (1973). Subsequently, he was cast as the lead actor in films such as Banarsi Thug (1973) and Jeera Blade (1973). Possibly his most popular role was in 1974's Naukar Wohti Da, which became a runaway hit.[5]

He received his first Nigar Award in "Special Award" category for his performance in Ishaq Deewana (1971). He won the Nigar Award in the "Best Comedian" category for Baharo Phool Barsao (1972) and Zeenat (1975). He appeared in more than 300 films in the span of just 15 years from 1961 to 1976.[6] He was well-known for his Ad-Lib dialogue delivery.

Personal life[edit]

Munawar Zarif was the younger brother of comedian Mohammad Zarif (1932-1970), famous in the 50s for being the first comedian in Pakistan's cinema to play lead roles, while his other brothers Rasheed Zarif (1946-1974) and Majeed Zarif (1942-2012) were also comedians in movies.[7] Another elder brother was Munir Zarif (1934-2014), a film and TV actor famous for his roles in serials like Sona Chandi, Aalif Laila and Ainak Wala Jin, who died in 2014.[8]

He was lifelong friend of fellow comedian Ali Ejaz.[9]

His only son Faisal Munawar Zarif debuted as an actor with Puttar Munawar Zareef Da in 1994, followed by other movies like Puttar Jeeray Blade Da (1996) and Khotay Sikay (1998), but he couldn't find success in the film industry, so he moved to England before relocating to Morocco after marrying a Moroccan woman, where he died in 2018 of cardiac arrest at the age of 44.[10]


Zarif's grave at BiBi Pakdaman graveyard Lahore

Zarif's family announced his death in Pakistan, on 29 April 1976. He died in Lahore due to cirrhosis of the liver.[3] He was laid to rest at Bibi Pak Daman Cemetery, Lahore.[2][4]


Munawar Zarif is often regarded as one of the greatest comedians ever in Pakistani films.[6] Fellow comedian and friend Ali Ejaz recalled his ability to improvise lines on the spot and called him an 'extempore' comedian.[11] Radio Pakistan Multan programme manager Asif Khan Khaitran reminisced about the success of Munawar Zarif and said: "There was a time in his career when writers would develop script with Munawar Zarif's personality in mind."[12] Comedian Umer Shareef called him "Mount Everest" of comedy and said that "for attaining fame in the field of comedy one must follow Munwer Zareef’s School of thought."[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1961 Dandiyan[1]
1964 Haath Jori[1][3] Beeru
1965 Malangi
1966 Bharia Mela
1967 Imam Din Gohavia Shamaulu
1968 Bau Jee
1968 Shahansha-e-Jahangir
1968 Taj Mahal
1969 Diya Aur Toofan Abdullah


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Heer Ranjha Saida Khera
Rangeela Josheela
1971 Dil Aur Duniya Parwana
Khamosh Nigahen Munawar
Ishq Deevana[2] Maqbool "Qoola" Ahmed Special Nigar Award
1972 Baharo Phool Barsao[2] Mirza Nigar Award for Best Comedian
1973 Ziddi Shaadi
Parday Mein Rehnay Do Qurban
Ajj Da Mehinwal Izzat "Izzy" Baig
Banarsi Thug[2][3] Sheeda
Khushia Khushi
Rangeela Aur Munawar Zarif Munawar Zarif / Khan Bahadur Ishtiaq Ali
Jeera Blade[2] Shafqat / Jeera Blade
1974 Manji Kithay Dahwan Rahmat
Naukar Wohti Da Bhola / Munawar
Chakkarbaz Iqbal "Baala" Hassan
Hasday Aao Hasday Jao Mhanna
1975 Pyar Ka Mousam Munawar
Zeenat Shaukat Nigar Award for Best Comedian
Sharif Badmash Misrri
Shararat Sherwani
Sheeda Pastol Sheeda Pastol / Jeeda Double role
Shoukan Melay Di Bahadar
1976 Hukam Da Ghulam Jani
Jano Kapatti Jano / Jani
Anjaam Khaleel
Ustad Shagird Jani
Chitra Tay Shera Boota Singh
Badtameez Afzal
Reshma Tay Shera Jimmy
1977 Naya Suraj

Awards and honours[edit]

Nigar Awards

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f (Associated Press of Pakistan) Munawar Zarif remembered The News International (newspaper), Published 30 April 2018, Retrieved 31 January 2022
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j In memory of comedian Munawar Zarif on his 42nd death anninversary Pakistan Today (newspaper), Published 29 April 2018, Retrieved 31 January 2022
  3. ^ a b c d "'Remembering Munawwar Zarif', Profile and obituary". ARY News website. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b 39th death anniversary of Munawar Zarif today Dunya News, Published 29 April 2015, Retrieved 31 January 2022
  5. ^ "9 Most Iconic Films in the History Of Pakistani cinema". pakistanicinema.com. 31 January 2022.
  6. ^ a b Profile and filmography of Munawar Zarif on livetv.pk website Retrieved 31 January 2022
  7. ^ "Profile of Zarif on Pakistan Film Magazine".
  8. ^ "Munir Zarif passes away". Dawn News. 19 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Comedian Ali Ejaz passes away". Dawn (newspaper). Pakistan. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Late comedian Munawar Zarif's son passes away in Morocco". Dawn News. 26 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Dunya News Special Documentary on Munwar Zareef". dailymotion.com website. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  12. ^ Chand Shakeel (29 April 2019). "Munawar Zarif Left an Indelible Impression on Film Industry". UrduPoint website. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  13. ^ Kamran Khamiso Khowaja (29 April 2021). "Remembering Munawar Zareef who had a unique comic disposition". Daily Times (newspaper). Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  14. ^ "The Nigar Awards 1957-71". www.thehotspotonline.com. Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Nigar Awards (1972 - 1986)". The Hot Spot Online website. 5 January 2003. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2020.

External links[edit]