Nazir Ahmed Khan

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Nazir Ahmad Khan
Died26 August 1983 (aged 73)
Other namesNazir Sahib, Bao Jee
OccupationActor, film director, film producer
Spouse(s)Sikandara Begum, Sitara Devi, Swaran Lata[1]
ChildrenAfzal Nazir, Suraiya Nazir, Akhtar Nazir, Aslam Nazir, Ismat Nazir

Nazir Ahmad Khan (Urdu: نذِیر ‎) (1904 – 26 August 1983) was a Pakistani film actor, director and producer. He was the first successful film hero in pre-independent India and later in Pakistan.[2] Nazir was associated with almost two hundred films during his career, which spanned over a period of 55 years. Nazir Ahmed was widely known as Bao Jee in the film industries both in India and Pakistan.[3]

Film career[edit]

Born into a Pashtun family of the Kakazai tribe,[4] it was in 1929 that Nazir left Lahore to go to Calcutta along with the renowned film producer Abdul Rashid Kardar, and appeared in a character role in Kardar's Sarfarosh (1930) (aka 'The Daring One'). Kardar later made Heer Ranjha (1932) in which Nazir played the role of the 'Qazi'. Both these films are from the silent era. He also did a secondary role in Kardar's Farebi Daku (1931) also called Mysterious Bandit.[2][3][5]

Nazir's artistic elegance and excellent command over acting won him applause all across the industry and resulted in him going to Bombay. During this period he was cast in important leading roles in films 'Rajputana Ka Sher', 'Chandaal Chaukri', 'Badmaash Ka Baita' and 'Pahari Sawar'. In 1934, he went back to Calcutta on the request of his old friend Kardar to act in important roles in his productions of Chandragupta (1934), Sultana (1934), Milap (1937), 'Mandar', 'Night Bird' and 'Aab-e-Hayat'. He also worked as the lead in Ezra Mir's films 'Badroohi' and 'Zareena'.[3]

In Calcutta Nazir won laurels for his dynamic role of Chanakya in Chandragupta. Nazir had his head shaved off completely to authentically perform the role of the cunning prime minister. In 1938, both Nazir and Kardar moved to Bombay and under Kardar's banner, he performed his most-well-remembered and renowned character role in Baghban (1938), which, besides creating box office records, also established Nazir's name as one of the most well refined sensitive and mature actor of his era.[3]

Nazir was one of the pioneers of the film industry in India. He is the only hero in history to have been cast opposite 35 actresses, most of whom were the reigning queens of their time. Nazir started producing and directing films under the banner of Hind Pictures and established a Studio in Bombay under the same name, although this did not stop him from accepting assignments from other producers.[3]

Nazir was associated with almost 200 films during his career, which spanned over a period of 55 years. Only a few artistes have contributed more to the development of cinema in South Asia than Nazir. He was a talented actor, a vibrant director and an astute producer.

Shokh Dilruba, Sher ka Panja, Shama, Midnight Mail, Swami Pooja, Apni Nagaria, Laila Majnu, Wamaq Azra, Sandesha, Kaljug, Society, Chher Chhar, Aabroo, Salma, Gaon Ki Gori, Maa Baap ki Laaj, Yaadgar, Malika and Abida and several other hit films of that era are credited to his name. He also produced and directed many of them. Most of the films directed by him became Silver Jubilee hits.[3]

Nazir started 'Hind Pictures' company in Bombay. Nazir's studio and the offices of Hind Pictures were burned down during the independence riots in 1946–47 in Bombay and in 1947, Nazir migrated to Pakistan. He left everything he had behind in Bombay and shifted to Lahore, Pakistan. He started from scratch and in the process became one of the pioneers of the Pakistan film industry.[3]

He produced and directed Saachai, as his first film in the newly born Pakistan. It was followed by the first Silver Jubilee film of Pakistani Cinema, Pheray in 1949. Nazir completed Pheray in just one month, followed by Laarey (1950). His other movies include Shehri Babu (1953), Anokhi Daastan, Shamaa, Heer (1955 film), Khatoon, Noor-e-Islam (1957) and Azmat-e-Islam.[3]

During the 1960s, he disassociated himself from Pakistani cinema, with the decline in this industry. He could not reconcile himself with the qualitatively declining trends in this industry.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Nazir was born in a Kakazai Pathan family.[5] He had at least three wives over the years. He was first married to his cousin Sikandara Begum (who was the sister of K. Asif, the legendary director of 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam). He later had a very short marriage with Sitara Devi, the legendary Kathak dancer. Interestingly, after their divorce, Sitara Devi married none other Nazir's cousin K. Asif himself. In other words, she married first the husband and then the brother of Sikandara Begum. Nazir's last wife was film actress Swaran Lata.[1] Nazir was the father of several children. He gave one of his daughters in marriage to actor Nasir Khan (brother of Dilip Kumar).

Nazir Ahmed Khan died in August 1983. Today, his son Akhtar Nazir Khan a.k.a. Cooki is actively engaged in reviving Pakistani Cinema and works hard to provide the audience, both home and abroad, with the same perfectly mastered and creative films that once were a pride of Nazir in Indian and Pakistani Cinema.[3]


  • Sawaal (1966)
  • Azmat-e-Islam (1965)[6]
  • Haveli (1964)
  • Billo Jee (1962)
  • Shama (1959)
  • Noor-e-Islam (1957)
  • Sabira (1956)
  • Soteeli Maa (1956)
  • Wehshi (1956)
  • Hameeda (1956)
  • Nagin (1955)
  • Naukar (1955)
  • Heer (1955)[6]
  • Khatoon (1952)
  • Bheegi Palkain (1950)
  • Anokhi Dastan (1950)
  • Humari Basti (1950)
  • Ghalat Fahmi (1950)
  • Laraay (1949)
  • Pheray (1949)
  • Sachchai (1947)
  • Heer (1946)
  • Wamaq Azra (1946)
  • Gaon Ki Gori (1945)
  • Laila Majnu (1945)
  • Naatak (1944)
  • "Aabroo". (1943)
  • Ghar Sansar (1942)
  • Maa Baap (1941)
  • Swami (1941)
  • Taj Mahal (1941)
  • Apni Nagariya (1939)
  • Joshe Islam (1938)
  • Baghban (1938)[6]
  • Bhabi (1938)
  • Sitara Tanzi (1937)
  • Dukhiyari (1936)
  • Pratima (1935)
  • Delhi Ka Thug (1934)
  • Iraq Ka Chor (1934)
  • Chandragupta (1934)
  • Sultana (1934)
  • Night Bird (1933)
  • Abe Hayat (1933)[6]
  • Lal-e-Yaman (1933)
  • Zarina (1932)
  • Farebi Daku (1931)[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Profile of Nazir Ahmed Khan on website, Retrieved 3 September 2017
  2. ^ a b Bhatti, Arshad (27 August 2013). "Bao Jee's Anniversary goes unnoticed". The Nation (newspaper). Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Nazir Ahmed Khan's Profile". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  4. ^ Asif Nazir Khan (26 August 2011), "A walk down memory lane with legendary filmmaker Nazir Ahmed Khan", PakistanToday. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b c [1], Pakistan Today (newspaper), Published 25 Aug 2011, Retrieved 3 September 2017
  6. ^ a b c d Nazir Ahmed Khan's (Nazir) filmography on Complete Index To World Film (CITWF) website, Retrieved 3 September 2017

External links[edit]