By Jehangir Khan Tareen
MULTAN, Jan 06, (APP): In William Shakespeare’s comedy ” Twelfth Night” Malvolio, a steward of play’s main character, Viola, says ; Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Pride of Performance comedian , Ali Ejaz,was among the artistes who achieved greatness in showbiz industry with his consistent hard work, determination and inborn talents he had for acting.
Popularly known as ” Jaji” by his colleagues in industry, Ali Ejaz was a banker by profession before stepping into the world of art for which he was banished by his family when his first film hit the cinemas.
Before moving to celluloid, he worked for Radio Pakistan Lahore, theatre and Pakistan Television which gave him recognition as actor.
” Munawar Zarif was my class fellow.He and his elder brother, Zarif were my inspiration,. I used to make my photographs by borrowing cameras from my friends. Renowned writer A Hameed referred me to Radio Pakistan Lahore where I performed in my first ever play written by him’ Ali Ejaz once disclosed in an interview to a private TV channel.
Naeem Tahir took me to Alhamra Arts council for a star studded drama wherein I played a role, the celebrated comedian said.
Drama serial ‘ Dubai Chalo’ by Riaz Batalvi was converted into film by legendary Director Haider Chaudhary , he said adding that spouse of a producer convinced him to make a film on this subject while watching it on television, he elaborated.
Based on a true story, the super hit film hero ” Bao Gee” saved many from being looted who were interested in going to Dubai for minting money after watching ” Dubai Chalo”, Ali Ejaz said.
He acted in more than 100 films,amongst were Punjabi, Urdu and Pashto films, a few to name are Insaniyat , Sayyan , Dil Aur Duniya and Dostana etc.
The legendary artist performed in many drama series of PTV Khawaja and Son (1986) was best known besides Shab Daigh.
” I was touring America with Moeen Akhtar and a karachi based heroine to shoot “America Chalo’ when my drama series Shab Daigh was running on cables across the country, Ali Ejaz told an interviewer at a channel.
Seasoned Film Director, Altaf Hussain with whom Ali Ejaz worked the most, said that he was a versatile actor and a time tested friend.
Dhi Rani, Sala Sahab, Qudrat, Nikkah, Saab Gee are some of the super hit films in which Ali Ejaz worked with him, he said and added that when he made his couple with Anjuman in Sala Saab, critics made fun of him, but with the grace of Alilah Almighty the film was screened in cinemas for over two and a half years which proved his decision of Ali Ejaz and Anjuman coupling was correct.
The scintillating performer was confirmed as a ‘hero’ after Sala Sahab, Altaf Hussain said adding that though Ali Ejaz went to his final abode physically, but as an artist, he would live in the hearts of cinema goers in form of his films and characters.
Haider Chaudhary sahib started Dubai Chalo and I began shooting Sala Sahab almost simultaneously, Altaf Husaain reminisced adding that both the films turned out to be super hits.
Pride of Performance actor, Sohail Ahmad, best known as Azizi said that Ali Ejaz was a natural actor who had versatility in his performance that was why he got popularity in all three mediums including TV, theratre and films.
He was blessed artist who played as hero, performed tragic as well as light comedy with the same potential and skills and had justified with every role. Ali Ejaz was a social and lively personality, he said and added that the senior artist always behaved very politely with his juniors like him.
About the difference of comedy in his era as compared with today, Sohail Ahmad said that for getting good crops, fields surrounding should be nice besides land fertility and hard work of the grower.
The producers, directors,and writers of those times were educated who trained artistes like Ali Ejaz, he said lamenting, “now everyone is looking for short cuts which has spoiled the industry.”
Stand up comedian, Iftikhar Thakar, said that timing of Ali Ejaz was excellent and he always cooperated with his juniors and coordinated with them how to perform against him by rehearsing with them in a frank style.
He was a comedian par excellence,Thakar said and added that king of comedy, Munawar Zarif burst into laughter in a film with funny dialogues and hid his face into his arms so that it could not cut during filming the scene.
He was an institution in himself who would long be remembered.