Ejaz - Firous

Ejaz and Firdous

There were just two occasions in the life of Madam Noor Jehan when she had to keep tabs on her husband Ejaz Durrani! Once, primarily, she barged in onto the set of Masood Parvez’s Heer Ranjha to watch whether her personal life hero isn’t too close to Firdous for comfort! Another occasion was when Shabnam and Ejaz played the lead in Dosti. But that proved to be false alarm. Of course, for Heer Ranjha how would Ejaz and Firdous play the legendary lovers without being convincing! It was due to their expressive efforts and true to life emotions that the legend lives on as a beautiful film. Ejaz made his debut for Humayyun Mirza’s Bada Aadmi, in 1957 and followed it up with a thriller, Raaz from Mr. Mirza again. He was known for his dashing looks and educated background, as well as attracting a bunch of film girls. Mainly chosen for Urdu films, Ejaz did many Punjabi films too, first being Suchche Moti with Neelo. Firdous, who was usually seen in extra or small roles in films those days, was thought too awkward for heroine’s status, due to her towering height and squares bone structure. She made her debut as the heroine much later than Ejaz, in Khandan in 1964. Later, found to be an apt replacement to Shireen, in Punjabi films, Firdous quickly climbed the ladder to reach the top during the 1960s. She became a perfect heroine for the reigning champ of Punjabi cinema, Akmal in hits like Heer Sayal, Malangi, and Paidageer etc.

Firdous and Ejaz come together for the first time in Mirza Jat another folk tale from Punjab, in 1967. They performed with enough conviction to make this film by Masood Parveiz a hit. The fabulous director then set to thinking that another folk tale on this pattern would be something to remember. So, Masood Parvez’s Murad Baloch materialized, with Firdous and Ejaz now getting intimate. Films like Jawani Mastani,Dilan De Saudey, Sheran Dee Jorri, Lachchi, Ishq Na Puchche Zaat, Yar Te Pyar etc, followed within two to three years, with the same leading cast. Our industry is known for type casting and this was no exception. But when, in 1970, Masood Parveiz again presented his marvelous folk dastan, called Heer Ranjha, it just took one’s breath away. Both artistes used to get together in tea breaks and murmured sentences which were not dialogues. This set the ball rolling. But with revolutionary minds like Masood Parvez and Khurshid Anwar involved, it was more a meeting of minds than just an idle love affair. Might be that Noor Jahan suspected something, but as the film was a major blockbuster, the lady had to quieten down, to let the pair continue to earn at the box-office. It was said that Ejaz convinced her that there wasn’t anything romantic between him and Firdous. So, even after Heer Ranjha they continued to flourish in films like Banda Bashar, Ishtihari Muzlim, Ik Dhee Punjab Dee, Banarsi Thag etc. probably Firdous’s last movie, before returning as character actress in mid 1980s, was Maan Jawani Da in 1976. Ejaz had already called it a day after Khursheed’s Farz Aur Mamta, in 1975. He turned to film direction with Punjabi film Sholay in the late 1970s. Firdous, today, has her own family, while Ejaz recently lost Noor Jahan, in 2000, after almost 35 years of married life.