Beginning from scratch and reaching the top is a concept that denotes the best and most resolute personality. If we observe our film industry, there are many such names that come to mind, who worked hard to achieve what they represent now. One such name is lqbal Kashmiri, who is a totally self-made individual. From a junior unit hand with various directors, lqbal Kashmiri attained a position of a most established and successful film director of the count.
lqbal K was once the chota of the unit, and was occasionally fitted into guest roles in films. I remember, I even saw him in a small role alongside Mohammad Ali, in either Aadil or Ghaddar, in the mid-’60s. He did various such roles before properly learning the finer details of production and direction. In those days. there was much demand for costume movies with Darpan, Mohammad Ali or Sudhir in leading roles. Seniors like A.R. GuI were making such movies, with Aziz Meerthi, Munawwar Rasheed or Akbar Ali lkkoo directing them. IK went through the whole regimen with hard work and a quick grasp of the technical side of filmmaking throughout the sixties. He was so dedicated that almost at the end of the decade, he had become the director of Punjabi movies himself. In 1970, he directed a superhit Punjabi movie, Taxi Driver, which starred such famous names as Rani, Habib, Aaliya and Yusuf Khan. The success of his first film made him a name to be reckoned with early in his career. At that time, men like Haider Chaudhry, M. Akram, M.J. Rana, Altaf Hussain, Waheed Dar and others were making Punjabi movies, while such masters of Urdu movies, as Shabab Kiranvi and Masood Parvez were also making quality Punjabi hits. In this distinguished crowd, Iqbal Kashmiri had quite a task in front of him. But, he established himself with a series of hits.
For five years consecutively, he made Punjabi movies, which include such hits as Babul, which had Sultan Rahi in his first noticeable role. He also made Yar Des Punjab De, Jagdey Rehna, Ziddi, Banarsi Thug and Shehenshah. If I remember correctly, famous film star, Shahid worked for the first time in IK’s Punjabi movie, ,Jagdey Rchna. Similarly, Mumtaz, the sexy sensation of later years, gained her true recognition when a seductive dance item was picturized on her in the superhit film, Ziddi, which was titled Ve chad meri veeni, sung by Madam Noor Jahan. In the very next film, Banarsi Thug, Kashmiri Sahab began a new trend with the top comic, Munawwar Zareef and Ilyas Kashmiri being paired together as Ustad and Shagird. It was a hilarious movie, with Mumtaz having a full-length role in it.
In 1974, lqbal Kashmiri made his first Urdu movie, Neelam. The film was another big success, with Qavi as its producer, and the cast being Nisho, Shahid, Aasiya, Lehri, Munawwar Zareef and Qavi. Brilliant music director, Nashad gave superlative music in the film, and I still remember its beautiful title number, Waqt ka pahhiya chalta jaey, in Masood Rana’s voice. Mumtaz, by this time, had become a full-fledged solo heroine within two years, and she was established as the number one dancing girl of the industry through lK’s next hit, Jadoo.
lqbal Kashmiri’s other sensational film was Sharif Badmash, in which he gave another new trend, with Yusuf Khan and Sultan Rahi paired together in powerful action roles. Remember, Yusuf was the villain in IK’s Ziddi, while he prospered as a hero in Sharif Badmash. Kashmiri Sahab himself cast Yusuf Khan and Sultan Rahi in several of his later Punjabi movies, including Yaar Da Sehra, Chitra Ta Shera, Yarana and others. In 1977, he made an explosive Urdu Western type of movie, Shaheen, with three actors, Sultan Rahi, Asif Khan and Aurangzeb pitted against Mustafa Qureishi. The film was appreciated for its fine screenplay, good dialogues, fantastic action and a powerful climax.
In the 1980s, lqbal Kashmiri lost his footing somewhat. He tried action movies like Rustam, Haththan Wich Hath and others, and even experimented with magical films like Aladdin and Jin Chacha, but nothing worked. Finally, he paired Sultan Rahi and Mohammad Ali in the Urdu movie, Muqaddar ka Sikander to extract a triumphant return to the box-office in 1984. After that, films like Qismat, Hum Aik Ham, Bhabi Diyan Chooriyan, Choron Kee Baraat, Mukhra, Rangilay Jasoos and Raja were his hits from the 1980s. In these films, he brought forth Nepal’s superstar Shiva in Pakistani films, and he was very popular in this country. In Hum Aik Hain and Choron Kee Baraat, he worked with Habib Jalib, and these were progressive films, with a message for the people. Neeli was introduced in Urdu movies by IK through Choron Ke Baraat, and she did a double role in this hit, opposite Shiva.
One can also recall IK’s hits from the 1990s, like Jo Dar Gaya Woh Mar Gaya, Ghar Kab Aaoge and Aag Ka Darya, but he has failed to give as many hits as he used to give in earlier decades. Due to not concentrating on good editing and thorough work on the story, he has been ineffective generally in the 2000s too. His last film released was a co-production with Nepal, Jaan Leva, which met the same fate, and flopped with a thud. So, he needs another hit to come back with a bang – Zulqarnain Shahid