Monday, March 4, 2013



Photograph   courtesy: Manu kashmiri .. (  Munawar Kashmiri  ,youngest son of Nawab kashmiri )

*A Legend Called Nawab Kashmiri - A Great Actor of Indian Cinema

            It is a well known fact that Artisans , shawl weavers and carpet weavers from Kashmir started moving to plains of the country since 18th and 19th century possibly in search of better employment avenues  and also due  to recurring  droughts in Kashmir . Some were sought by Nawabs to train local artisans .

As per Dr B N Sharga (a noted writer and scholar from lucknow ) :-

“ The Kashmiri Shias came to Lucknow from Kashmir on the invitation of Hakim Mehndi who was the Prime Minster in the court of Nawab of Oudh. These Shia families belonged to Zadibal area of Srinagar city . In Lucknow they started living in Maqbara Alia, a locality that still exist in the Golaganj ward of the old city. Shahin Abidi says her ancestors had come to Lucknow at the invitation of the royal family of Avadh. Others believe that their forefathers came to the seat of Nawabs to preach Islam.

Interestingly, another prominent shia  Muslim who came to settle at Lucknow after 1947, was Jafar Ali Khan ‘Asar’. He was minister of Education in J&K during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh. Jafar Ali was a renowned Urdu poet. He has authored many books. He settled down in Kashmiri Mohalla. Another shia from Kashmir namely  Rais Aga founded the Kashmiri Young Association.

Another group of Kashmiri Muslims who moved to Lucknow during the period of Nawabs was that of Kashmiri Bhands – folk theatre performers. The first group of Bhands reached Lucknow in 1795 when Nawab Asif ud Daula (1775-1797) invited them to entertain his royal guests on the occasion of the marriage of his son Wazir Ali. They settled down in the localities Shahganj and Pir Bukhara (old Lucknow). The last performing Kashmiri Muslim Bhand in Lucknow was Jahangir. He lived in Shahganj. UP Sangeet Natak Academy was kind enough to provide him a regular stipend. He died a few years back. ”

Nawab kashmiri belonged to migrant kashmiri shias settled in Lucknow . He was a talented actor during the silent era and later during the sound track Era of Indian cinema.Dilip Kumar m Mukri ,Jayant , Johny walker can be called his contemporaries though he was senior to them.He had a spacious Bunglow in colaba Mumbai. He was the only son of Syed Mufti Azam kashmiri from Bara imam Bara Lucknow. He had three children .   Anwar kashmiri ( Deceased ) and the ebullient youngest Munawar kashmiri ( Manu ) were his sons apart from a daughter named Akhtar .Nawab was a cousin of Agha Jaani Kashmiri ( 1908-1998 ) noted screen writer of Indian cinema .


“ . Nawab kashmiri is dead .He was a king of his artistic world. No Wazir can tell you about the greatness of this king. Ask any labourer who has seen his films by buying ticket for four annas from hard earned money. These people can tell you the magic of Nawab’s acting skills .
I met this great artist in a Mumbai Studio through his close relative Khan Kashmiri . Khan also worked in Mumbai Film Industry .Nawab once listened to a story that I had written . Once the story reading session was over , I found Nawab's eyes moist. He wanted to know the name of the film company for which the story had been written by me . He wanted to perform the role of Badwaa himself should some producer make a film based on my story.
“No producer is ready to take this story .” I clarified to Nawab
“ Hell with these producers .” Nawab said

Nawab kashmiri was a kashmiri from Lucknow . He was a shia muslim .Helpful to kashmiris who came in his contact. Nawab had carved a niche for himself with his acting performance in “ Yahoodi ki Ladki ” . Rattan Bai was the heroine in this movie. Some other popular movies of this actor were Ziddi , Naujawan , Mukti , Devdas , Maya etc.. His co-stars were Praan , K l Sehgal and KK ( kuldeep kaur ). Nawab started his career from Theatre. He was a popular star with IMPERIAL THEATERICAL COMPANY and his plays namely ‘Khoobsoorat Balaa”, ‘Noor e Wattan “and “Baag e Iran ” were very popular . Seth sukh Lal karnani was owner of Alfred Theatre Bombay and Nawab was his salaried employee . later Nawab Joined New Theatres owned by B N Sircar.In fact sircar was a great fan of Nawab’s acting.

Nawab had two wives. One could not bear any child to him so he started ignoring her . He also secretly married another woman from royal family of Lucknow . When his first wife came to know about his second marriage ,she felt hurt . She did not say anything but one day in her depression , she poured kerosene over her body and burnt herself to death. 

I have my little grievance with Nawab kashmiri .I am a kashmiri . I love kashmiris but I donot like  those kashmiris who ill treat their wives if the  women can not bear them a child. I am also a great fan of acting skills of Nawab kashmiri . I consider him  a great artist but whenever I see him on screen , I can not help smelling kerosene  around. “

With  his   sarcastic writing  style, Manto has not spared any person  in  the  essays Published in  in the book "DASTAAVEIZ " and compiled by Balraj Menra and Sharad Datt. . Not even , Agha Hashr Kashmiri , Praan ,Ashok kumar, Nargis, Kishore Sahu , KK ( Actress Kuldeep Kaur ), Naseem Bano  , K A Abbas and Babu Rao Patel.

 Manto’s writing apart , Nawab kashmiri shall always remain a  legend  of Indian Cinema.

( Autar Mota ) Good Night 11 50 PM 3rd March 2013...

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