Renowned film director Hassan Askari passed away in Lahore on Monday. He was 78.
He was suffering from cancer. He was admitted to the Shaikh Zayed Hospital where he breathed his last.
Askari started his career as an assistant director to Kaifi with whom he directed the movies such as Chan Makhna (1968) and Sajan Piyara (1968). After that, he joined the film unit of Tariq Masood Qureshi.
During his career, Askari directed about 60 Punjabi and Urdu movies and produced 10 of them. As a director his first film was Khoon Paseena in which Sudhir was the hero while cast included Firdous, Mazhar Shah and Agha Talish.
Pride of Performance Director Hassan Askari introduced Sultan Rahi in a famous Punjabi character of Maula Jatt with his Gandasa (a chopper that looks like a long-handled weapon) in his trend-setting film Wehshi Jatt in 1975, years before the movie Maula Jatt.
Among his other memorable films were Toofan, Salakhain, Doorian, Sher Dil, Putar Jagay Da, Dil Kisi Ka Dost Nahi, Qanoon, Kinara, Mela, Talash, Mafroor, Sherdil and Tera Pyar Mein and many others.
Askari is survived by a widow, a daughter and a son. Funeral prayers for him would be held at his residence, 3-B Alamgir Street, Poonch Road, Islamia Park, near Dera Haji Mehboob.
Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Amir Mir expressed grief over the demise of Askari. In his condolence message, the minister said Askari had done unforgettable services for the film industry. He was a Pride of Performance who directed many wonderful movies. He said his vacuum could not be filled.
Secretary Information and Culture Danyal Gillani also left a condolence message on X, saying, “Saddened to hear about the passing of the legendary film, producer, writer and director Muhammad Hassan Askari. His contribution to Urdu and Punjabi cinema like Salakhain, Wehshi Jutt and many more will be remembered”.
Originally published in Dawn, October 31st, 2023