He may have made his debut as Pakistan’s answer to Dilip Kumar but Mirza Nazeer Baig Mughal has evolved from a super-hit actor into a superstar during his 43-year career. The journey that began with Chakori in 1967 is still going strong. Not only has Nadeem outlived his contemporaries but also inspired generations with his charismatic personality and professional ethics.
Born on 19th July, 1941, in Madras (now Chennai), India, to a family with no links to showbiz, he made his debut in Chakori when the intended hero of the film, Azeem, quit days before shooting was to commence. He not only impressed the audience with his acting skills and dashing looks but also belied critics who didn’t consider him a threat in the beginning.
With countless hits to back him, Nadeem achieved iconic status in the ’70s and gave a hard time to Waheed Murad, Mohammad Ali and Shahid during the decade that saw him churn out hits with directors Pervez Malik, Nazrul Islam, S. Suleman and many others.
He has so far worked in 200-plus films since Chakori. Although he hasn’t tried his hand at direction but has been active on the scene for the past 43 years, winning fans all over the world and all awards imaginable.
1. Nadeem gave playback to Mohammad Qavi Khan in the film Mr Buddho (1973), The song was Kitne Ashq Piye Hain Phir Bhi Zinda Hoon, with the late playback singers Mala and Ahmed Rushdi lending their vocals for Deeba and Rangeela, respectively.
2. Waheed Murad, Mohammad Ali and Nadeem actred in three films together. Their first film together was Phool Mere Gulshan Ka (1974) followed by Shama (1974) and Jab Jab Phool Khile (1975). Nadeem also has the distinction of working with great artistes including Santosh Kumar, Darpan, Alauddin, Kamal, Shahid, David, Shashi Kapoor and Raj Babbar during his career.
3. Nadeem played the angry young man Tony in Bollywood’s Doordesh in 1983, where he was pitted against Bangladeshi actress Babita and Indian actors Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Parveen Babi, Raj Babbar and David. The film was directed by Ambrish Sangal and was by the Canadian Production house Friends Film International.
4. His role in the multi-starrer Shama (1974) had shades of grey, but in Samaj and Suhaag he played a full-throttle villain. Mohammad Ali was the good guy in Samaj whereas Zia Mohyuddin played the bespectacled hero in Suhaag.
5. Nadeem was the first actor in Pakistan to play triple roles in a film. He played three roles simultaneously in Jaltay Sooraj Kay Neechay which was released in 1971, and was produced by Afzaal Chaudhry in the then East Pakistan.
6. Both the leading ladies — Aaminah Haq and Nosheen Tariq — in Nadeem’s debut TV serial Bisaat, directed by Ghazanfar Ali were born after Nadeem made his big screen debut in Chakori (1967). Yet he seemed at ease against the youngsters, fitting in as the leading man;
7. Nadeem is the only actor in Pakistan to work with four female directors who have also been his co-stars. The directors of the three films — Shamim Ara (Playboy), Sangeeta (Ishq Ishq) and Samina Peerzada (Inteha) — on numerous occasions played Nadeem’s leading ladies during his career. Shamim Ara in Parai Aag and Suhaag, Sangeeta in countless flicks including Anari and Mutthi Bhar Chawal and Samina Peerzada in Bazaar-i-Husn and Bulandi. The director of Koi Tujh Sa Kahan — Reema Khan — has worked with Nadeem in over a dozen films mostly as his daughter or the son’s love interest.
8. Nadeem never directed a film, but he has produced not one but two films. Mitti Kay Putlay (1974) was his first movie as a producer whereas the Punjabi film Mukhra (1988) once again saw him in the role of the producer;
9. Many believe that Nazrul Islam’s Bandish was the first film in which Nadeem changed his hairstyle, which is incorrect. Pervez Malik’s Pakeeza (1979) was the first flick in which he experimented with his hair. When his character loses his memory, his hairstyle changes… and when he regains his memory it’s back to the ’70s hairdo;
10. Nadeem has worked in not one but three films with the same name – Sangdil, Anari and Talaash. While the first Anari and Sangdil were black and white flicks, and the others were in color, the first Talash was released in 1976 and the other one a decade later. Not only were the stories of all these flicks different but also the directors.