Adios, Adeeb

Actor Adeeb, famously known for his villainous portrayals in countless films, passed away on March 26 at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore, where he was admitted after suffering a heart attack last week. His death, a couple of weeks after that of screen idol Mohammad Ali, with whom he shared more than 30 films, has left many a fans bereaved and his family in mourning.

The ‘bad man’ of the Pakistani silver screen was born in 1934 to Pathan parents in Kashmir. His family moved on to Bombay before Partition .

and that is where the actor in him emerged, after the completion of his Master Degree in Urdu Literature from the University in Maharashtra. Unlike his contemporaries, scriptwriting was the first love of Adeeb, who worked in the scriptwriting department with Raj Kapoor’s father, Prithvi Raj Kapoor, in Prithvi Theatre and later with Indian National Theatre as assistant director. It is during this time in India that he got to know the basics of acting which later helped him enthral generations of audience

Although he worked in minor roles in his initial career, it was Zia Sarhadi’s Footpath (1953) that gave him his first breakthrough role opposite Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari and Anwar Hussain (Nargis’s brother). He worked in 30 films during his stay in India including Mehndi, Pak Daman and Jung, before migrating to Pakistan in 1962, on the insistence of director Akbar Ali Akku and actor/director Iqbal Yusuf, son of Adeeb’s close friend, director S.M. Yusuf. He settled in Karachi and later moved on to Lahore in search of roles which kept pouring in from the ‘60s until his very last film — Syed Noor’s super-hit Majajan — released a couple of months back and is still running successfully all-over the country.
From Dilip Kumar to Shaan, actors of all generations played hero to the 72-year-old Adeeb who sent shivers down the spine of both heroes and heroines with his larger-than-life on-screen presence. During his last days, he was more active on stage than in films and depicted the role of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in one of his last TV plays

In an era when on-screen villainy in Pakistani films was ruled by handsome villains such as Aslam Pervez, Masood Akhtar and even Mohammad Ali (in his initial films), Adeeb made his entry with Daal Mein Kala (1964), which was directed by Iqbal Yusuf and featured Kamal and Bahar in the lead along with late actors Nirala and Mohammad Ali. In the coming years, he became close to Mohammad Ali and the two acted in numerous successful films like Kaneez (1965), Aadil and Baghi Sardar (1966), Hatim Tai (1967), Mahal (1968), Naaz (1969), Aansoo Ban Gaye Moti (1970), Dushman (1974), Shirin Farhad (1975), Haider Ali (1978), Josh (1979), Sangram (1981), Zanjeer (1986) with Rocky Dada being their last film together in 1987.

He was at ease in both Urdu and Punjabi films, playing memorable roles in countless films opposite other actors such as Sultan Rahi in the epic Maula Jat and Andaata, Waheed Murad in Eid Mubarak and Kaneez (1965), Saaz Aur Awaaz (1965), Rishta Hai Pyar Ka (1967), Aik Nagina (1969), Afsana (1970) and Dushman (1974), Kamal in Daal Main Kaala (1962) and Shab Bakhair and Nadeem in Talaash (1986), Ustadon Kay Ustad (1990) and Khazana (1995). Late directors in their films — Rangeela’s Diya Aur Toofan (1969) and Riaz Shahid’s Gharnata and Yeh Aman (both 1971) — gave Adeeb tailor-made roles to show his true potential. Interestingly, he was one of the few actors to work with actor Shaan’s father — Riaz Shahid — and portray the character of his father on-screen, lastly in Majajan.

From Dilip Kumar to Shaan, actors of all generations played hero to the 72-year-old legend who sent shivers down the spine of both heroes and heroines with his larger-than-life on-screen presence. During his last days, he was more active on stage than in films and depicted the role of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in one of his last TV plays. In a career spanning over 50 years, Adeeb featured in more than 600 films, depicting villainous roles in different shades such as a deceiving brother, cruel father, nasty husband, dishonest friend and brutal landlord. He will truly be remembered for his thunderous dialogues, devious plots and sometimes malicious acts on screen where life always ends with a final ‘Cut’. By OMAIR ALAVI


ACTUAL VILLAINY and enacting a villain art two different states of mind! Famous film star, Adeeb is finding out about that in life. An actor who acted alongside Diiip Kumar in Footpath, in India, and who worked in quite a few movies before Partition, who served the local industry for roundabout 35 years, is now in a state of penury, and looking for his monetary gains on daily basis! Is this what our industry has achieved in its 55 years? Why does this happen? Those who are busy forming producers associations, and asking for facilities from the government at every step, are pathetically unaware of their own colleagues, who are without work and confined to a sick bed! If these 'active' cannot do anything for their own kind, why should they blame the other

agents for their demise? Before they form boards to recommend what facilities the government should give them, if they have some self respect they should form an Artist benefit Fund, and provide some help to the same artistes due to whom this industry is called an industry. Otherwise, they should admit that they are basically selfish people, who can never progress, because nobody prays for their success!

Adeeb was the only true villain in our films during 1950s, while Naeem Hashmi, Ajmal and others played the villain occasionally. It was later that Aslam Parvez started doing the villain after Hasan Tariq's Neend was a hit. The concept of a typical villain, with theatrical moves, a wry smile of a killer, and the role of a darbari intriguer was done superbly by Adeeb in films like Aadil, Aakhri Chatan, Dara, Sakhi Lutera etc. Even during the 1970s and the 1980s, Adeeb worked in scores of movies and he was considered integral to films. He was considered the tricky villain, a man who knitted intrigues, while he looked a very decent chap apparently. His shifting eye was his main villainous detail, and his laughter was a typically wolfish cackle. You can see him as the cunning Fernandes in Riaz Shahid's Gharnata and on Muslim Spain, and as the sly Hindu monk in Yeh Amn. In the 1970s, he was slightly threatened by the introduction of young and much louder villains like Shahnawaz Ghumman and Afzal Ahmed. Similarly, in the later movies, he worked dexterously even in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman etc, in the 1990s. Yet, when you talk to him how he is faring today, he. Dejectedly says, "I feel like committing suicide sometimes! The cultural institutions of the government has more than Rs 16 crore with them for the artistes, but when I asked for Rs two lakh for myself, they said you can get Rs 10,000 only. Now, tell me, can you do any sort of business with such a depleted help? The assembly members are always getting increments for their salaries and the bureaucrats earn hefty amounts, but an artiste like me, who has served the industry for fifty years, is not able to get a simple amount to eke out a normal life!"

What more can you add to that?

(By Zulqarnain Shahid)