Shaukat Hussain Rizvi

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Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi (Urdu: شوکت حسین رضوی‎; 1914–1999) was a pioneer of the Pakistani film industry. He was a film director, producer, editor, and a supporting actor. A member of Jehan-Rizvi family, he was married to singer and actress Noor Jehan.

Life and career[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi was born into a reputed Syed family, in the city of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh in 1914. His first visit to Madan Theatres was courtesy of a close relative when he was only a teenager. He began his career as an assistant projectionist in Calcutta in the early 1930s and gradually learnt enough during this period to earn a job in the editing department of Madan Theatres. Under Ezra Mir, a brilliant Jewish technician at Madan Theatres, he learnt the finer points of the profession and was taught the basics of filmmaking. Rizvi had the best men around him to learn the essentials of cinematic discipline.

Shaukat Hussain, a personable and handsome man with a good taste of dressing for occasions, was noted early and received a huge amount of attention from renowned showmen of the Indian film industry. Famous filmmaker and financier Seth Dalsukh M. Pancholi noted him and brought Rizvi to Lahore from Calcutta, where he edited films such as Gul Bakavli (1939), Khazanchi (1941), etc. After editing a few films, he was chosen by Dalsukh Pancholi as the director of their next venture, Khandaan. Rizvi's Khandaan, released in 1942, became one of the greatest hits of the era, which provided footing for Noor Jehan and Pran, the leading artistes of the film. Noor Jehan captured the hearts of cinegoers and the heart of Rizvi as well. After the success of Khandaan, Rizvi and Noor Jehan moved to Bombay together, where Rizvi directed his next venture, Naukar (1943), based on an Urdu story written by Saadat Hasan Manto. Due to Rizvi's alterations of the screenplay, the film flopped.

In the same year, Rizvi and Noor Jehan were married. Their marriage produced three children: Akbar Hussain Rizvi, Asghar Hussain Rizvi and Zile Huma. After the couple's marriage, they began a revolution with many superhit films, which Rizvi directed or produced and Noor Jehan acted in, like Zeenat (1945) and Jugnu (1947). Rizvi also played a supporting role as Noor Jehan's brother in Dost (1944), which he also directed. Actors Sonya Jehan, Sikander Rizvi and Ahmed Ali Butt are his grandchildren.

Career in Pakistan and last years[edit]

Following the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Rizvi and Noor Jehan moved to Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan with their three children. Amongst the luggage he brought from Bombay was the camera he had used to shoot his Dilip Kumar/Noor Jehan starrer, Jugnu (1947). His son later donated it to the owner of a restaurant in Liberty Market, Salloo's, where the camera was placed in the visitor's direction in the lobby, according to Rehan Ansari. In Pakistan, Rizvi and Noor Jehan took a break for three years. During that time Shaukat Hussain bought the property where the vandalised remains of the former Shorey Studios lay and established Shahnoor Studios on Multan Road in Lahore. He made it the most well-equipped film studio in Pakistan and began the production of his first Punjabi venture, Chanwey (1951) which Rizvi produced and co-directed, since Punjabi was a language which he did not understand; he wasn't credited as the director – Noor Jehan was. The film became a huge superhit, however, he wasn't able to keep Shahnoor Studios in the best condition due to his plummeting career.

Imtiaz Ali Taj, an erstwhile intellectual, directed the film Gulnar for Rizvi, who produced it. Basically, in Pakistan, Rizvi wasn't able to achieve high status. After the success of Gulnar, Rizvi divorced Noor Jehan due to personal disputes and problems. Noor Jehan had to write off her share of Shahnoor Studios to get the custody of her daughter, Zile Huma. This did worse harm to Rizvi's career, because he had achieved a reasonable status being the spouse of the Melody Queen Madam Noor Jehan.

Later, Rizvi married the talented actress Yasmin. Their marriage produced two sons, Syed Shahenshah Hussain Rizvi and Syed Ali Mujtaba Rizvi. The marriage was a successful one, which proved to be a blessing for the couple. After his divorce with Noor Jehan, he managed to make only three Urdu films: Jan-e-Bahar (1958), Aashiq, and Dulhan Rani. For Jan-e-Bahar, Rizvi asked his ex-wife to sing an Urdu number for "Kaisa Naseeb Layi Thi" which was to be picturised on Musarat Nazir. She accepted, and the song became a haunting memory for cinegoers. After his Dulhan Rani flopped, Rizvi retired from the film business and settled down with his second wife and two sons. After his retirement, his four sons took over the running of his film studio. Today, the studio is a vast, decaying premises and only 30% of it is used for filmmaking.

In the fall of 1999, Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi died in Lahore at about 85 years of age. A couple of months before his death, Rehan Ansari met with him to discuss the condition of Shahnoor Studios. Ansari asked Rizvi if he wished to donate part of his property for the construction of a film institute. Even though Rizvi found the idea to be appealing, it is not known if the institute was constructed or is being constructed.

In one of his books, Saadat Hassan Manto described the appearance of Rizvi when they first met in 1940. He said, "He was a tall and dashing young man, fair with pink cheeks, a fine John Gilbert-style moustache, curly hair, extremely well-dressed in his spotless, well-ironed trousers and a jacket set against a jauntily knotted tie. He even walked stylishly." Manto mentioned that Rizvi enjoyed smoking Craven A cigarettes and drinking Deer brand whisky from Nasik. Rizvi enjoyed playing football when he was living in Calcutta in the 1930s.



  • Gul Bakavli (1939)
  • Yamla Jat (1940)
  • Khazanchi (1941)
  • Chaudhry (1941)



  • Chanwey (1951)
  • Gulnar (1953)


  • Dost (1944)


Shaukat Hussain Rizvi on IMDb