LAHORE: Tuesday marked the 22nd death anniversary of legendary Lollywood hero Muhammad Sultan Khan, better known as Sultan Rahi. In this connection, his fans and colleagues from all around the world expressed how much they miss and appreciate him. For most of them, Rahi’s tenure in the industry was the ‘golden era’ of the Pakistani cinema.
“Without a doubt, the golden era of Pakistan’s film industry was when Sultan Rahi was here as Punjabi films dominated the business. I think such days will never come again and no one can ever replace him or his work,” director Altaf Hussain told The Express Tribune. “I think such actors are only born once. He was a trend setter – his films were copied in other countries but no one was able to perform like him.”
Rahi, who ruled Lollywood for four decades, was among the best Punjabi film actors of his time and appeared in around 535 films, most of which were super hits. His acting in Maula Jutt was immensely appreciated and he is still recognised by said film’s reference.
The late superstar was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, back in 1938 during the British reign. After Partition, he and his family moved to Gujranwala, Pakistan. Rahi gained popularity in 1955 when he performed in a stage drama Nadir Shah Durrani while in 1959, he got a chance to perform as a guest actor in film Baghi. This is when Rahi’s acting career really kicked off and a long journey of success began.
Rahi had numerous blockbusters during his time in the industry, including Maula Jutt, Sher Khan, Bashira, Maula Baksh, Wahshi Gujjar, Ghandasa, Roti, Behram Dauku, Sarfrosh, Silsla and Sakhi Badshah among many others.
Besides Punjabi films, Rahi also appeared in hit Urdu movies including Aulad, Farishta, Saheli, Daku ki Larki, Watan, Mumtaz, Pehla Qadam and Bhabi, starring opposite the best female stars during his time, which included Asiya, Firdous, Barbara Sharif, Durdana Rahman and Anjuman.
The actor was unfortunately murdered whilst travelling from Lahore to Islamabad, when some robbers tried to steal from him and his friends. Upon resisting, Rahi was killed on the spot. His killers have still not been punished.
Of course, his death was a big loss for whole industry, especially Punjabi cinema. “I remember Sultan always saying that this industry will miss him when he’s gone but at the time, I don’t think we fully understood what he meant… but he truly proved his worth,” shared senior actor Bahar Begum. “There was only one Sutlan Rahi in Lollywood and there will always be one Sultan Rahi – no one can replace him.”
“Sultan always provided so many opportunities for others and did everything he could to help them. However, after his death, all that ended for many families,” added producer Chaudhry Ejaz Kamran.”
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