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A.S. Afaqi passes away

By Our Staff Reporter 2015-01-28
LAHORE: Senior journalist, writer and film producer Ali Sufiyan Afagi breathed his last here on Tuesday. He was 82.

Funeral prayers for the deceased were offered in the evening and he was buried in Model Town graveyard. He is survived by two daughters and a wife.

He suffered from cancer in last many years of his life while he was hospitalised for the last four days after getting his hip bone fractured.

Born in Sehore district of Bhopal (India) in 1933, Afagi settled in Lahore af ter the partition. Soon after completing his BA (Hons) in1951, he worked for an insurance company and a translator for some time. Later on, he joined Daily Tasneem , the then mouthpiece of Jamaat-i-Islami, on the reference of Waqar HassanGardezi who worked with the Pakistan Times. From there he first moved to weekly Chattan of Agha Shorash Kashmiri and laterjoined Nawa-i-Wagt Group.

Then a new daily, Afaq, founded by Mir Noor Ahmed with earlier Prof Sarwar and then Maulana Ghulam Rasool Mehr as its editor attracted him where he began exploring a new avenue in journalism, writing first ever film review in a daily on a regular basis.

Afagi derived his third name from the same paper.

He also served as editor of weekly Aqwam of Meem Sheen, and joint editor daily Aasar, published by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan`s grandson Mansoor Ali Khan after the closure of Zamindar.

During his association with all these and other publications, Afagi wrote columns covering social, political and cultural activities.

In 1957, he made his first ever movie `Thandi Sarak`. Directed by Shabab Kiranvi with story and dialogues by Afagi, the comedy proved to be an instant hit.

With the imposition of martial law in 1958, he left journalism and formally joined film industry as a storywriter. He wrote dialogues and scenes of Ayyaz and Aadmi and adapted Dostoevsky`s `Crime and Punishment` as `Farishta`.

He began producing films and in association with Hassan Tariq produced Kaneez in 1965. He himself wrote story of thefilm.

Other films to his credit as producer/director and storywriter include Aaj Kal, Joker, Aik Hi Rasta, Aasra, Shikwa, Diwangi, Aar Par, Kabhi Alwida Nah Kehna, Andleeb, Merey Hamsafar, Gumnam, Bandagi, Kamyabi, Saaiga, Play Boy, Miss Colombo, Daman Aur Chingari, Daewar Bhabhi, Dil Aik Aaina, Mohabat, Intizar, Insaniat, Dosti, Namak Haram, Beta, Moamla Garh Barh Hai, and Very Good Duynia Very Bad Log. Aass and Saaiga were sent to the Tashkent Film Festival and were also dubbed in many local languages of Russia.

As a tribute to his meritorious services for the film industry, Afagi was honoured with many prestigious awards.

These include NigarAward, Graduate Award, Film Critic Award and Mussawir Award.

A prolific writer Afagi never scratched a sentence that might be marked as unscrupulous or inartistic. His simple but fluent style of expression won him a prestigious place among the fraternity of authors. To his credit, there are more than 28 books including travelogues, biographies, interviews and articles.

His masterpiece Filmi Alif Laila is a personal history of the Pakistani film industry by a gifted storyteller and an entertaining and insightful, albeit brief account of his time in the film industry.

An institute himself, Afagi inspired generations of journalists, story and travel writers to aspire for the highest standards of professional excellence.