Rangeela in a Nutshell – As Producer and Director.

A Comedian’s introduction is not a funny business, especially if its Rangeela. Born in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan, Muhammad Saeed Khan, DOB 1st January 1937.  Initially he had set out as a bodybuilder but his height proved an impediment and friends told him he had a disproportionately large head!  He had dreamed about making it in movies as a romantic hero and eventually fulfilled his ambitions.  He initially exploded onto the movie scene with his professional Cinematic debut in 1958, a Punjabi film called JATTI. He started playing humorous roles (influenced heavily by the Charlie Chaplin) and to everybody’s surprise became highly popular. In 1969 he formed “RANGEELA PRODUCTIONS” and under this banner started his career as a film producer and director. In this article, published in the SHAMA Magazine’s November 1990 edition, we have a brief look at his career as a filmmaker.

Released on the 9th of May 1969, this movie was the first to be produced his own production company. Written, Directed and Produced by himself and based on Chaplin’s City Lights, it was a phenomenal hit. Its cast included Rangeela, Naghma, Ijaz, Zulfi, Haider and Munawwar Zareef. One of the famous songs of this movies was not only written by but also voiced by Rangeela who famously used to boast that he sounded identical to India’s enormously popular playback singer Mukesh.  The song, “Ga Meray Manwa” remains popular even today.  Indeed, Diya aur Toofan’s music by Kamal Ahmad enjoyed enormous popularity.

RANGEELA (1970):
An autobiography, it was a film on a social subject regarding life of an unattractive, ugly looking, social outcast of a person struggling in a society which in which acceptance is based upon physical perfection. The cast included Rangeela, Nisho, Aqeel, Saiqa, Sultan Rahi and Munawwar Zareef. Released on the 18th day of September, 1970, this movie was not only a success but it also won Rangeela his first film award for best storywriter of an Urdu movie.

Released on the 1st of October 1970, with Habib and Aasia in leading roles with the latter taking on a double role. This film too was a success with the songs and story winning many hearts during along the way.

The only Rangeela Production directed by somebody other than himself was this film with Shevan Rizvi calling the shots. Meri Zindagi Hai Naghma was released on June the 30th, 1972.

Starring Rangeela in a double role with Sangeeta, Saiqa, Qavi and Aslam Pervez, this film was again a super hit with Mehdi Hassan’s Song “Ik Husn ki Devi Se” on everybody’s lips. Rangeela got his third award and his first as a producer first.

Released on 9th November 1972, it was Rangeela’s first Punjabi film as a producer/director. Casting himself in a double role of the Hero and of the Villain, its music was also composed by Rangeela and was widely accepted in its time.

The only most ambitious, expensive and heavily budgeted costume period piece based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Kubra Aashiq was released on 28th October 1973. Starring Rangeela, Nisho and Aurangzeb, the film tanked disastrously and Rangeela who had been flying high in the clouds landed to earth again with a very rude bump and hardly any money at all as he had invested his last penny in this bloated and over ambitious project.  The films resounding failure took a toll on Rangeela, not only financially but also on his confidence and his stature.  Things were never quite the same again.

With a weak story and a dull pace, this movie was released on 17th May 1974. Starring Rangeela, Deeba, Sangeeta, Lehri and Agha Talish, this film too could not last long on the cinema screens.

GANWAR (1975):
With Rangeela and Sangeeta in the lead, produced by Sir Arshad Mukhtar and directed by Rangeela, this film was released on 14th October 1975. Although the cast of Ishrat Choudhary, Muhammad Qavi and Agha Talish performed admirably, the movie could not see any success.

Rangeela tried his brother NAJEEB in his film as a lead with Deeba, but this too did not prove to be a recipe for success.  Rangeela’s golden now a thing of the past?

BE-GUNAH (1977):
Released in October 1977, after a series of disappointments, Be-Gunah, Rangeela’s second Punjabi film as a producer/director was a blockbuster hit. Its cast included Aurangzeb, Khalifa and Nazir along with Rangeela.

AURAT RAJ (1979):
Released on 26th July 1979 featuring Sultan Rahi, Waheed Murad, Rangeela, Asif Khan and Rani among others, the film made audience cry with tears of laughter. Despite the novel ideas (and the glittering star cast) the film failed to get the cash registers ringing in a big way.

AMANAT (1981):
released on the 18th of December 1981, this was a remake of DIA AUR TOOFAN with Ghulam Mohiuddin, Bazgha and Habib.

JAHAIZ (1982):
A movie on a social subject starring Shahid, Shahida Minni, Feroz Khan, Rangeela and Aslam Pervez. This film was released on 5th November 1982 but could not make a mark on the box office.

released on 18th September 1983, this was Rangeela’s first Punjabi film as a writer. With Sangeeta and Nanha in lead, this movie was not only a hit but it also accumulated a total number of four major film awards. The awards for best writer and producer were bagged by Rangeela himself whereas Sangeeta won the award for best actress in a leading role.

Age old formula film with Mumtaz, Ali Ijaz and Nanha.  The films business was on the sketchy side.

KAKA JI (1984):
A March 1984 release, with same cast of Ijaz, Mumtaz and Nanha and with similarly poor box office results as the previous Namak Halal.

RAJA RANI (1984):
A film based on domestic issues, with sound casting and direction, this film managed to prevail at the box office long enough to recuperate some recent deficits.

Released on 15th February 1985, it was a miserable failure.

QULI (1986):
With a star cast of Rani, Akmal, Shahbaz, Sonia, Nazli and Nanha, this movie was released on 28th February 1986 but once again was rejected by the public.

CHAMBELI (1987);
Released on 30th January 1987, this was the third attempt at remaking Dia aur Toofan but third time proved anything but lucky as the film died miserably at the Box Office.