Rahi vs Qureshi - The Changes That Came

In the Fifties and Sixties, when mostly, every film was much better managed than the period from the Seventies to the Nineties, I remember several memorable movies. When I was studying in Azam Garrison, a missionary school in Lahore, I watched Lakhon Mein Aik, a craftily diverted political tasveer, where a Muslim boy (Ejaz Durrani) loves a Hindu girl (Shamim Ara)! A handsome fellow by the name of Mustafa Qureshi entered the fray, dragging away the Hindu girl to his own house!

Oh boy! Was he melodramatic in that debut film of his?!

It’s true. Mustafa Qureshi (MQ) began as an over-reactive fellow in Lakhon Mein Aik. But, by the end of his career, became one of the greatest film artistes Pakistan has ever produced. As I have been an avid Pak film enthusiast, I could see that MQ worked normally in most films of the Sixties, such as Andaleeb, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai, Najma etc. In the Seventies, when Qureshi was introduced in Punjabi films (Jadoo, Khatarnak, Hathkari, Athra, Warrant, Toofanetc) and Urdu films with the same mood (Shikar, Haiwan, AnData etc), he started acting brusque and loud. But, then he settled down, as he understood the theatrical medium in films. He had come from Radio, and knew the working on TV. But, that theatrical delivery on big screen took him a while.

Later, MQ sobered down in the Seventies, and stunned everybody in Urdu, Punjabi, and Sindhi films. Maula Jutt was a milestone for him, and I just cannot forget his double role in Jutt in London. By the same token, his work in Urdu films like Aabroo, Kora Kaghaz, Zanjeer, AnData, Zindagi etc was superb. As far as Sindhi cinema is concerned, he did fine in films like Dharti Lal Kunwar, Darya Khan, Wadero Saeen etc. It was in the Seventies that Mustafa really used his undertone. But, when he realised just where did the theatre come in during his stint in Punjabi films, when he had to fluctuate his baritone in front of Sultan Rahi! In particular, this need presented itself in Maula Jatt, in 1979. MQ had to sound different from Rahi’s loud antics. It was then that Qureshi’s undertone was employed. To a great and iconic effect!

About how Rahi changed in his own career, next week!