Over the years, Pakistan has produced illustrious names in the field of comedy and Saeed Khan aka Rangeela was one of them. He set new trends of comedy in films and introduced action-comedy in Pakistan.
He would make the audience laugh not only through his jokes but also through his facial expressions and body language.
May 24 marks the 18th death anniversary of the comic maestro who rendered remarkable services to the Pakistan film industry, during his career spanning over four decades.
The ‘Pathan of Parachinar’, Saeed Khan had a specific facade and his close relatives always poked fun at him for that, but this never shattered his courage and he utilised it to turn himself into one of the most prominent and versatile comedians of South Asia.
The life of Rangeela is a practical example of Socrates’ quote, “Beauty represents the site but the qualities win the souls”. He replied to his critics with his impeccable performance in movies like, ‘Diya Aur Toofan, Dil Aur Duniya, Kubbra Ashiq, Insan Aur Ghadah, Raneegal, Do-Rangeelay, Ahasas’, and several movies.
He achieved successful in all areas of the film industry, not only as an actor but also as a singer, writer, producer, and director. The movies he wrote and directed conveyed a distinguished message.
Rangeela was born in Nangar, Afghanistan, in 1937 but his family migrated to Peshawar when he was just a young boy. He eventually moved to Lahore when Lollywood was at its peak, and started off his career writing billboards for films.
With time, Khan landed a small comedy role which went on to open many doors for him in the film industry. He started his budding film career in 1958 with the Punjabi film ‘Jatti’, an MJ Rana directorial. Soon enough, the late star made a name for himself and earned much fame due to his unique acting.
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Rangeela opted for unique subjects to make films that ultimately placed him within the ranks of successful filmmakers and entertainers of the subcontinent.
In an interview with satirist Anwar Maqsood in 1996, he said: “I chose the name Rangeela because I wanted to leave distinct imprints in the film industry through my work and contribution”.
His on-screen appearance with another comic icon of the industry, Munawar Zarif wrote a new chapter of success and glory and the duo did wonders with their acting skills, extraordinary comic timing, and the ability to utter extempore jokes and spontaneous reaction.
They worked together in various movies including ‘Rangeela and Munawar Zarif, Parde Me Rehne Do, Sacha Jutha and Rangeela’.
After the death of Munawar Zarif, he made appearances with Nannah, Ali Aijaz and Albela in Punjabi movies, and with Umer Sharif and Ismail Tara in a handful of Urdu movies.
The septuagenarian comedian was bestowed with the President’s Pride of Performance Award, besides receiving 11 Nigar awards for his out-of-ordinary performance in different movies.
He married thrice in his life and has 14 children but only two of them, Kamran Rangeela and Jahanzeb Rangeela carried the legacy of their father forth, but were not as successful as him.
An eminent comedian, once said: “The Indian film industry has produced countless great actors but it couldn’t produce an actor of Rangeela’s calibre.”
The gifted artist met his creator on May 24, 2005 at the age of 68.
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