Today marks the 26th death anniversary of the legend, Nazrul Islam. The distinctive style and aesthetics of Nazrul Islam’s films differentiated the visionary director from his competitors. Perhaps the most amusing aspect of his era was that he was competing with some of the most brilliant film makers of all time including Masud Pervaiz, Hassan Tariq and Pervaiz Malik, while each one of them was better than the other in their own right.

Nazrul Islam was born in Calcutta in 1939. It is not common knowledge that the renowned director began his career as an actor. Nazrul Islam’s son Imran Islam revealed that the director came to Pakistan to pursue a career in acting during the era of black and white films. He made his acting debut in Rehman’s film, Jahan Baje Shehnai.

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He then began his illustrious career as a director and producer in Dhakka by launching his own production house. Nazrul Islam produced and directed 7 films there. His first outing was ‘Preet Na Jaanay Reet’. He also produced two celebrated Bengali films Kaarbo and Apun Dulaar. The reputed director received the best director and best film award for his film Kaarbo. He also produced films such as Kajal, Ali Baba Challis Chor, Haseena Maan Jaey Gi and Piyaasa under his production house.

Despite being a Beganli, the director migrated to Pakistan after the fall of Dhakka in 1971. The director had a special place reserved for Pakistan in his heart and he chose to spend his remaining years in Pakistan.

With the outing of his super-hit film “Ahsaas” in 1972, he established himself as one of the leading directors of Pakistan. He directed some of the most successful films of the 70’s and 80’ such as “Aaina” (1977), “Sharafat” (1974), “Ambar” (1979), “Bandish” (1980), “Nahin Abhi Nahin” (1980), “Do Deewane” (1982),

Interestingly, his iconic film ‘Aaina’ was released in 1977 and the uber-hit film ran in cinemas for 5 consecutive years in Karachi! It was also later remade in India in three different languages. Its Hindi version was titled, Pyar Jhukta Nahin.

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He was also the only Bengali filmmaker to direct two Punjabi films “Kalay Chor” (1991) and Madam Bawri (1989) which were both iconic hits.

His last film Khwahish was one of his most ambitious films. He died at the age of 57 due to a heart attack and was buried in Lahore on January 11, 1994. The illustrious and esteemed director never saw a downfall in his life and leaves behind a legacy of iconic films. Nazrul Islam can be categorized as one of the top directors of Pakistan, even today.

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