Aasia (1951-2013) – Career in a Nutshell.
Aasia first arrived on the scene at a time when the likes of Zeba, Shabnam, Naghma, Rani, Deeba, Firdous, Shabana, Rozina, Aaliya and co were dominating the scene but it didn’t take her long to make her presence felt and to make her mark. In months to come Aasia would join the ranks of the big guns of Pakistani cinema.
Aasia, whose real name was Firdous, was introduced to films by Riaz Shahid in his film Gharnata however it was beaten to release by Insan aur Aadmi featuring Zeba and Mohammad Ali in the lead. Release in May of 1970, the film went on to become a big success and though Aasia’s was a limited role, she was noticed and appreciated. Her second release was Kemal’s Road to Swat where she supported the lead pair of Kemal and Naseema Khan. Road to Swat was also a reasonable success.
Her next four films were Yadein, Parai Aag, Gharnata and Chiragh Kahan Roshni Kahan. In all four films she played supporting roles but soon she was to get her break in a lead role opposite Habib in Director Rangeela’s film Dil aur Dunya. The film was major success paving the way for Aasia to graduate from playing supporting roles to full-fledged leading heroine roles in the films she signed subsequently.
In 1972 Five of Aasia’s films were released including her first Punjabi film “Do Rangeelay” which was an enormous success commercially. “Main Akela” followed and also succeeded but Main Bhi Insan Hoon, Punnu Di Sassi and Pazeb were unsuccessful. Main Akela saw her being paired with Shahid for the first time and in Do Rangeelay she was cast with Rangeela and in Pazeb with Nadeem.
1973 saw a dozen Aasia releases. Sahrey Ke Phool, Mastana, Char Khoon De Pyasay, Ma Te Qanoon, Jeera Blade and Ghulam were successful at the Box Office while Khuda Te Maa, Be-Imaan, Daku Te Insan, Jhalli, Ghairat Mere Weer Di and Khabardar were flops. In Char Khoon De Pyasay Aasia was teamed with Asad Bokhari and in Be-Imaan with Qavi while Yousuf Khan starred opposite her in Maa te Qanoon. In Jeera Blade she starred alongside Tanzeem Hassan and with the man who discovered her, Sudhir in Jabroo and finally with Iqbal Hassan in Ghulam.
No less than 20 Aasia films were released in 1974 of which Lottery, Pyar Di Nishani, Tum Salamat Raho, Naukar Wohti Da and Sasta Khoon Mehnga Pani were successful at the Box Office. Shehenshah, Pyar hi Pyar, Bhola Sajan, Yaar Mastaney, Sher Te Daler, Neelam, Jigar Da Tukra, Namak Haram, Sohna Mukhra, Do Tasveerein, Sohna Daku, Suhag Tera Lahu Mera, Jaanay We Jaan, Dus Numberi, Babul Morh Maharan, Khana De Khan Paronay were all deemed failures. Pyar Hi Pyar starring Waheed Murad saw Aasia as a producer for the first time and she also cast her sister Shazia in a prominent role. She acted opposite Waheed Murad in this film for the first time. In Naukar Wohti Da she was paired with Munawar Zareef and in Sohna Daku with Kaifi and in Khana de khan Paronay she was cast opposite Sultan Rahi for the very first time.
1975 saw 21 films featuring Aasia hit the screen. Khanzada, Jogi Khooni Khet, Aadi Mujrim, Rawal, Shareef Badmash, Hathkari, Wehshi Jat, Nawabzada, Sheeda Pistol and Do Dost were money spinners at the box office and Aasia was now considered the top heroine in Punjabi movies. Her failures in 1975 were Aj Di Gal, Reshma Jawan Ho Gaee, Haku, Shaheed, Ishk Lok Saudai, Doghala, Jor Tor Da Badshah, Shokan Meley Di, Gunehgar and Chhad Burre Di Yaari.
1976 saw a record number of Aasia releases, more than two per month with a total of 26 through the year. Among them Ultimatum, Toofan, Anjam, Darra, Baghi Te Firangi, Warrant, Jagga Gujjar, Aj Da Badmash, Reshma te Shera and Hashar Nashar were the successes while the failures included Aj di Taza Khabar, Maut Khed Jawana Di, Yaar Da Sehra, Akhra, Hukum Da Ghulam, Janoo Kapatti, Chor Noon Mor, Wadah, Kothe Tapni, Dukki Tikki, Mehboob Mera Mastana, Jeera Te Shera, Patthar te Moti, Badtameez, Shera Te Babra and Truck Driver.
1977 contained 17 Aasia films among which the successes were: Dildar Sadqe, Fraud, Aakhri Maidan, Lahori Badshah, Qanoon Tey Begunah and Baaghi Tey Qanoon. The flops were: Dharti Lahu Mangdi, April Fool, Haji Khokhar, Sher Babbar, Pehli Nazar, Jeenay Ki Raah, Baday Mian Deewanay, Ghairat Di Maut and Himmat.
In Pehli Nazar Aasia acted in the lead with Mohammad Ali for the first time and also shot her first film “April Fool” with Aurangzeb. She also starred with Asif Khan for the first time in Baghi te Qanoon. Aasia was awarded a prestigious Nigar Award for her work in Punjabi film and also made people notice with her performance in the film Jeenay Ki Rah.
1978 saw the release of 15 Aasia films including Prince, Heera te Bashira, Jashan, Ranga Daku and Boycott which were considered successful. The unsuccessful films included Wafadar, Nadr, Eilan, Bohot Khoob, Guarantee, Ibrat, Goga, Puttar Phannay Khan Da, Lalkara and Khoon te Qanoon. In Guarantee Aasia played opposite Mustafa Qureshi for the first time.
1979, 18 films of Aasia were released among them Maula Jat being an outstanding Box Office performer. Hathyar, Jat Da Kharak, Bagha Raat, Permit, Aag, Ghunda Act, Wehshi Gujjar, Jatt Soorma were considered hit films while Notan Noon Salam, Challaan, Muqabala, Goga Sher, Do Jeedar, Dada Pota, Makhan Khan, Machley Khan, Ek Sharif Sau Badmash which were on the negative side. In Notan Noon Salam Aasia starred with Kamal for the first time. Aasia also won her Second Nigar as a supporting actress in the movie Aag. This was a time when Aasia was pretty much cast in every second Punjabi film being produced as the era of Naghma and Firdous had faded away. Najma was also set to leave the industry after getting married. Now there was no challenger to Aasia on the Punjabi scene. Mumtaz, Sangeeta, Aaalia, Chakori and Mussarat Shaheen were not quite of the rank that Aasia had achieved. Then came the shock announcement of Aasia’s impending marriage to Karachi based businessman by the name of Farooq and that she would not be signing any further films. She informed Producers to wrap up her schedules and shooting at the earliest. Aasia had a staggering 50 unfinished projects on hand that she had to complete but being a consummate professional, she worked round the clock to complete all her commitments. Even those films that remained incomplete Aasia found time after her marriage to make sure they were completed before her impending departure. Aasia’s post marriage films kept arriving on cinemas even up to eight years after she had departed. Aasia was true to her word and never once returned to the film industry just as Najma had done before her.
1980 11 films of Aasia were released of which Sardar, Behram Daku were the only successful while Dushman Mera Yaar, Jhagda, Raju, Rangbaz, Ladla Puttar, Hasina Man Jayegi, Do Toofan, Yar Dushman, Man Mauji, Do Nishan all flopped. Anjuman acted in a supporting role to Aasia in the film Sardar.
- 15 films of Aasia were released among the successful ones were: Khan e Azam, Anokha Daaj, Sher Maidan Da, Toofan te Chattan, Shera De Puttar Sher, Athra Puttar, Bashira te Qanoon, Rustam and Maula Jat in London were very successful. Shart, Gabroo, Maula Dad, Jat da Vair, Khar Dimagh, Qanoon Shikan were unsuccessful.
1982 only four Aasia films were released of which Bharya Mela and Doli were successful but Maidan and Lalay ki Jaan were not.
1983 three of Aasia’s films were released and all failed including Aakhri Dushman, Des Pardes, and Nazrana.
1984 saw the release of Shanakhti Card and in 1985 Angara and in 1986 Yeh Adam and in 1989 Hath Jodi and in 1990 Dushman and finally in 1991 Chan Mere were released and none of them were successful. Clearly these films were too late in arriving and Aasia had lost touch with her fans. In her last released film Chan Mere, Aasia was cast along Usman Pirzada for the first time.
Aasia spent barely ten years in the Industry but starred in 180 films which is a record. 30 of the films were in Urdu and the rest were in Punjabi. In 14 films she was cast in a supporting role. Aasia worked with most leading men of Lollywood including Habib, Rangeela, Asad Bokhari, Shahid, Nadeem, Sultan Rahi, Sudhir, Mohammad Ali, Yusuf Khan, Waheed Murad, Aurangzeb, Iqbal Hassan, Tanzeem Hassan, Kamal, Munawwar Zareef, Qavi, Kaifi, Asif Khan, Mustafa Qureshi and Usman Pirzada. She starred most of all along Shahid, Munawar Zareef. Iqbal Hassan, Yusuf Khan, Waheed Murad were the lead actors she was most popular with.
Sultan Rahi was also very popular with Aasia but oddly enough it was in films that were releases after she had left the industry. Ejaz and Ghulam Mohiuddin were the two actors whom she never starred.
Her most memorable films are considered as Dil aur Dunya, Insan aur Aadmi, Do Rangeelay, Sehre Ke Phool, Tum Salamat Raho, Naukar Wohti Da, Wada, Khanzada, Sharif Badmash, Jeera Blade, Wehshi Jat, Hathkari, Sheeda Pistol, Hashar Nashar, Do Dost, Prince, Warrant, Maula Jat, Hathyar, Khan e Azam, Anokha Daaj, Athra Puttar, Jashan, Ek Doli and Yeh Adam.
After marriage Aasia immigrated to the United States and lived a happy homely life and has two daughters. In the last few years she returned and in an interview, she remarked about how the industry had deteriorated alarmingly and that she would never return to the films. But even after all these years her fans remember her fondly and the vacuum of her loss was forever felt.
Aasia passed away in the United States in March 2013 after a period of illness. She is survived by two daughters.