The legendary actor, Sultan Rahi, is remembered on his 24th death anniversary. Muhammad Sultan Khan was popularly known as Sultan Rahi in the Punjabi film industry and Lollywood.
Early life and death
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Sultan Rahi was born in a Muslim family in Uttar Pradesh in India in 1938. His family migrated to Pakistan after partition and settled in Gujranwala after 1947.
On January 9th, 1996, Rahi was murdered while returning to Gujranwala late at night from Islamabad. When his car’s wheels deflated near Samnabad close to Gujranwala on Grand Trunk road, taking advantage of the dark, some unidentified people opened fire on Sultan Rahi, killing him on the spot.
Golden Era of Lollywood
His friends and family hailed his era as a ‘golden era’ of the Pakistani film industry.
“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 media.
Death anniversary of Pakistani film legend Sultan Rahi is being observed today. He remained the most popular Punjabi hero during 1970s and 1980s. He appeared in more than 700 Punjabi and Urdu-language films and was named in Guinness Book of Records as most prolific actor. pic.twitter.com/0YJ12zi6Xp
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“I think such actors are only born once. He was a trendsetter – his films were copied in other countries but no one was able to perform like him.” Adding that “he was and will always remain the most successful Punjabi hero of all time.”
Rahi was amongst the best Punjabi actors and ruled the film industry for over four decades. He appeared in nearly 700 Punjabi and Urdu films and most of them were blockbuster.
His famous films include Maula Jatt, Sher Khan, Chan Veryam, Babul Sadqay Tere, Sharif Badmash, Basheera, and Wehsi Gujjar. ‘Maula Jatt’ was the most successful film of his whole career.
Later on, the actor was more commonly identified with the fictional character of ‘Maula Jatt’. Currently ‘Waar’ director Bilal Lashari is collaborating with Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan for a ‘Maula Jatt’ remake.
Relations with colleagues
He was an extremely devoted and committed performer. He had a friendly and humble demeanor with low-paid production staff and workers.
Sultan Rahi: Action Aur Expressions Ka Badshah!
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Sultan Rahi funded various charity works. He built a mosque at the Bari studios and financed a film for junior artists. His co-actor Bahar Begum said, “Sultan used to joke about how the golden days of Lollywood will end with his departure and that is exactly what happened.”
“Sultan was a source of income for thousands of people. No wonder everyone loved him so much” she recalled. “Many other actors have come and gone but none of them could ever take Sultan’s place,” she further added.
Indeed, the nation could not produce another Rahi to follow his legacy. Rahi’s work provided a firm foundation to the Punjabi film center that later on became the epitome of entertainment in Pakistan.