If Pakistani film industry was able to put forward a pair of regal grace, timeless integrity, expressive brilliance and screen glory as well as marital blessings, it is the couple called Ali-Zeb. Different views do continue to exist, but when you see that Mohammad Ali and Zeba made their debut together for Fazli Sahib’s Chiragh Jalta Raha, then you must believe that they were destined to rule the reel and the real life together. Coming down from Radio Hyderabad, Mohammad Ali became what he was, the premier Pakistani film artiste, because of his interest in poetry, theatre, vocal delivery and a most dominating screen presence. It was once said of him that no film star could match him in expression and body language. That’s the reason that he drew out the highest accolades from the critics in films like Aag Ka Darya and Khamosh Raho. Unlike Ali, who played the villain and smaller roles in many films before coming up trumps in Khamosh Raho, Zeba won acclaim immediately after debut, in films like Jab Se Dekha Hai Tumhein, with Darpan and Dil Ne Tujihe Maan Liya, with Kamal. Baji followed the same year, in 1963. So, both the stars were off to good starts to their career.
Mohammad Ali despite a sober, literary background, used to be the most popular personality among friends and colleagues. And females were no exception. He was quite friendly with his co-stars like Bahar, Shamim Ara, Deeba and others. So Zeba though a most jovial person herself, found him quite interesting even on the first day they met. They did many films together before their marriage, like Head Constable, Rivaj, Kaneez, Jaag Utha Insan and Waqt Ki Pukar. But after Kaneez, the Ali-Zeb pair was united forever with marital bonds. And forthwith, S. Suleman launched a film on a jolly, romantic subject, called Aag. When that proved a hit, another such film, Jaise Jante Naheen was followed up and was a success too. Most interestingly, those who point out that the Waheed-Zeb pair was ultra popular, must also take into account that right after Ali and Zeba got married, the cine-goers, despite being stunned by the parting of Waheed and Zeba, gave the newly wedded couple the certificate of acceptance by making Aag a massive success. Both Doraha and Aag were released the same year and were both immensely liked. What does that mean? That the film-goers were essentially moved by good performances and did not condemn one pair or actor for other. Today our cinema has lost that viewership due to bad performances.
Apart from churning out hits together during the ‘60s and ‘70s, like Aag, Jaise Jante Naheen, Baharein Phir Aaeingee, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Najma, Afsana Zindagi Ka, Mohabbat, Aurat Ek Paheli, Naukar, Mohabbat Zinndagi Hai, Jab Jab Phool Khilay, Phool Mere Gulshan Ka, Daman Aur Chingari etc, the Ali-Zeb couple has remained a duo to be admired for social service and cultural contribution to the civic life.