Nasir Khan etched his name onto the history of Pakistani cinema by featuring in the country’s maiden production called Teri Yaad (1948) alongside Asha Posley. Born to Ghulam Sarwar Ali Khan on 1 October 1924 in Bombay to a family of six brothers and six sisters, he was the younger brother of Dilip Kumar, one of the superstars of Hindi cinema. He spent a majority of his childhood in Deoali, as the family moved there to accommodate one of their eldest brother Ayub Khan’s health condition.
Post-graduation in 1940, Nasir had a brief stint at the Air force and military. Then he helped out in the family business but eventually found his way into the film industry when he met Nitin Bose upon a visit to Filmistan. Knowing he is the younger brother of Dilip Kumar and genuinely impressed by his charms, Bose cast him as the lead in Mazdoor (1945).
In 1946, he appeared in Filmistan’s hit film Shehnai that set a new precedent for comedy films in Indian cinema. However, Nasir Khan decided to move to Pakistan after the partition and settled in Lahore. After appearing in Teri Yaad, he also acted in Dewan Sardari Lal’s Shahida (1949), opposite Shamim, but the film didn’t do very well. Khan also distributed some Bombay films in Pakistan under the Best Pictures banner, like Nargis-Dilip Kumar’s Mela (1948).
During his stay at Pakistan, his mother passed away in 1948 in Bombay. Nasir Khan carried the sorrow of not getting a chance to say goodbye to his mother. Later, the same tragic event reccurred when his father passed away, despite Khan’s best efforts to reach Bombay.
Nasir Khan shifted back to Bombay in 1950 and appeared in films such as Nagina (1951), Nazneen (1951), Khazana (1951), Hangama (1952), Shrimatiji (1952), Angarey (1954), Aasmaan (1954) and Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973). He and Nutan made a successful pair as seen in films such as Nagina, Shisham (1952), and Aagosh (1953) In the 1961 film Gunga Jumna, he played the character of Jumna opposite his real life Dilip Kumar.
On the personal front, he was married to Nazir’s daughter Suraiya and they had a daughter Naheed. Later, he tied the knot with Hindi film actress Begum Para in 1958 after they met on the sets of Lootera (1965). Their son Ayub Khan has also acted in Hindi cinema and television serials.
Nasir Khan liked playing characters that had a dramatic edge to them. Khan had also raised questions of the similarity in his acting style with his brother’s in an interview. Khan enjoyed working with filmmakers such as Nitin Bose and Dalsukh M Pancholi and music composers such as R C Boral and Sajjad Hussain.
In 1978, he passed away after succumbing to a cardiac arrest. Bairaag (1976), his last film was released posthumously.
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