Omair Alavi|Instep|January 5, 2020
Paying our last respects to screen icons who have left a legacy of work to remember them by.
Another year has gone by, taking with it some of the brightest stars in the entertainment galaxy. In the last 12 months, we mourned the loss of many Hollywood greats like Peter Fonda, iconic Pakistani TV actors including Abid Ali and musical maestros like Shehnaz Begum, all of whom will now be immortalized through their work. Let’s take a look at some of the big names that passed on and whose good work will help carry their legacy into the new decade.
In Pakistan, television lost some of the veterans who helped in making PTV a national institution. Legendary actor Abid Ali, who made a breakthrough with Waaris and picked up increasing popularity with Pyaas, Khwahish, Diyar-e-Dil and Daldal, passed away due to liver failure at the age of 67. His final film appearance was in Heer Maan Ja, that was released on Eid ul Azha, and he impressed all as Hareem Farooq’s loving dad but sadly that proved to be his final act.
Another legendary actress from the 80s, Roohi Bano also breathed her last in 2019 and although the 67-year-old actress wasn’t very active in her later years, she is known through generations due to her many dramas including Kiran Kahani, Darwaza, Kala Daira to name a few.
An actress who gave nearly 50 years of her life to PTV, Zaheen Tahira was also one of those personalities who wouldn’t join us in 2020; she was alive and well after rumors of her death circulated in June but passed away a few days later at the age of 70.
Veteran playwright and actor Dr. Enver Sajjad bade his farewell last year as well; he was not well for quite some time but the creator of many TV dramas passed away at 84 due to prolonged illness.
Sadly, Sindhi actor Gulab Chandio and the elegant Safia Kheri were also amongst those who died during the last 12 months. The last time Gulab Chandio was seen on the screen was in Adnan Sarwar’s Shah, where he played Syed Hussain Shah’s mentor, while the younger audience remember Safia Kheri from Chandni Raatein where she played Jawed Shiekh’s mother.
The year also took away names that stood tall and proud behind some of the biggest national songs produced in Pakistan. Shehnaz Begum, who sang ‘Jeevay Pakistan’ and ‘Sohni Dharti’ among other patriotic numbers and moved to Bangladesh in the 70s, died earlier this year. The poet behind ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’, Nisar Nasiq also breathed his last but is still alive thanks to his immortal lyrics. Geo TV’s senior reporter, Nadia Faisal ‘Neini’ also lost her life to cancer in 2019 and left everyone associated with the industry saddened with her demise.
It wasn’t much different across the border as legendary actors, renowned music composers and filmmakers became part of history. Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan was the first to leave his fans for the heavenly abode at the age of 81 on New Year’s Eve and was followed a month later by Khayyam, the creator behind Umrao Jaan’s classic songs. Born Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi, the maestro also composed songs for Kabhi Kabhie, Trishul, Noorie and Razia Sultan and died at 92, leaving his fans in sorrow.
Viju Khote left his fans shocked after he was pronounced dead due to multiple organ failure at the age of 77. From being Kalia in Sholay to Robert in Andaz Apna Apna, he was famous for his comedy roles and had a lengthy career as a film actor. Veteran actress Shaukat Kaifi who was not just the wife of late poet Kaifi Azmi but also Shabana Azmi’s mother also died in 2019 at the age of 93. The year ended with the death of veteran actor Shreeram Lagoo who succumbed to age-related health issues at 92. He had acted in many Marathi and Bollywood films including Amitabh Bachchan’s Imaan Dharam, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Laawaris besides Hollywood Production Gandhi.
In Hollywood, Peter Fonda was the most popular name to exit the world forever in 2019. Son of Hollywood legend Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda’s brother, who co-wrote and produced the iconic Easy Rider, Peter passed away at 79. American actress and singer Doris Day, star of The West Point Story and Pillow Talk, breathed her last at 97 as did the 74-year-old Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the legendary Star Wars character of Chewbacca in six films. Veteran film and TV actor Rip Torn, who was popular as the Chief Zed in Men In Black, died at the age of 88 after a flourishing career. Five-time Academy Award nominee, 82-year-old Albert Finney who last appeared in James Bond’s Skyfall also bid farewell to his fans in 2019. Rutger Hauer, who specialized in menacing roles, including that of a murderous android in Blade Runner also breathed his last at 75.