Noted film director Iqbal Kashmiri, 78, passed away on Sunday after a protracted illness.

He had been hospitalised for the last 10 days or so due to a lungs problem which got complicated.

Speaking to Dawn, his son Faisal said they took Kashmiri to Shaikh Zayed Hospital where the doctors did not admit him to the ICU because of coronavirus and suggested that he be taken to some other hospital. “Then we took our father to Saira Memorial Hospital,” he said.

Asked whether there was any issue of a lack of ventilator, he replied in the negative.

He said his father was a great human being and helped people a lot in his life. His funeral prayers would be held at Buddhu Ka Awa graveyard near the University of Engineering and Technology at 9: 30 am on Monday (today).

Iqbal Kashmiri was born in Lahore in 1942. His father Karim Bakhsh used to run a small hotel near Delhi Darwaza. He was fond of movies since childhood and it is said he would do makeup on children his age and ‘shootings’ in the area for fun. His dream came true later in life when he became a director.

In 1954, he performed as an extra in Amin Malik’s film Deewar. He later started living with actor Illyas Kashmiri to whom he was introduced by Illyas’ younger brother who used to live in Iqbal Kashmiri’s area. He used to iron Illyas Kashmiri’s clothes and felt honoured to become his assistant of sorts.

Illyas later got him employed at Malik Films in Royal Park against remunerations of six anna daily. Later, he did the role of Mussarat Nazir’s younger brother in the film Yakay Wali.

He then decided to try his luck as a director and assisted M. J. Rana and Amin Malik in two films and also worked for another film Nagan which was directed by Khalil Qaiser.

Kashmiri also became the assistant of director Aslam Irani who came up with film Behroopia. Director Aziz Merthi polished him a lot and helped him in writing film stories.

Besides being a director, he also wrote stories of films such as Ishq Na Phucay Zaat, Veer Piyara and Koonj Wichar Gaie.

In many of Aziz Merthi’s films he worked as a supporting director and chief assistant. He also acted in works Husn o Ishq, Hazar Dastan, Lala Rukh, Paristaan, Alia and Sitamgar.

In 1970, he unveiled his first film as a director -- the Punjabi film Taxi Driver. He than came up with another successful film Babul as a director where Sultan Rahi played the memorable role of Jabroo Badmash.

Another one of his successful films was Yaar Des Punjab. However, it was Ziddi which took him to new heights in 1973 and proved a blockbuster. One of Ziddi’s songs gave Mumtaz a lot of fame.

His next film Banarsi Thag also did wonderful business and Mumtaz was introduced as a dancer for Akh Lari Badobadi. Another one of his films Jadoo also did great business at the box office.

Iqbal Kashmiri directed many other movies - both Punjabi and Urdu. His film Hum Aik Hain won eight Nigar awards in 1986 and in 1987 his film Choron Ki Baraat won seven Nigar awards.

Kashmiri is survived by two sons and four daughters.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2020