Pakistani Thespian Zia Mohyeddin No More; Indo-Pak Artistes United In Grief

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Pakistani Thespian Zia Mohyeddin No More; Indo-Pak Artistes United In Grief

| Updated: February 14, 2023 15:39

Zia Mohyeddin, legendary thespian, director, TV host and the first Pakistani ever to work in Hollywood, passed away on Monday morning after a brief illness. He was 91.

The veteran actor was admitted to a hospital in Karachi, where he was based, after complaining of abdominal pain and fever. He was later put on life support after a surgical procedure.

The multi-hyphenate personality, born on June 20, 1931, in Lyallpur, now Faisalabad, in Pakistan’s Punjab province, received his training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Mohyeddin made his debut on the big screen with the British historical drama “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) directed by David Lean and then starred in the Hollywood movie “Behold the Pale Horse” (1964) by director Fred Zinnemann.

Apart from working in British cinema and television, Moheyddin also starred in Pakistani movies. Upon return to Pakistan in the late 1960s, he hosted the immensely popular, “Zia Mohyeddin Show” (1969-1973).

The Pakistani actor also worked with Shashi Kapoor in the 1970 film “Bombay Talkie,” set in the then Hindi film industry. In the Merchant Ivory Productions movie, the Pakistani star played the role of Hari, the on-screen friend of Kapoor’s character Vikram.

For a brief period, he returned to live in the UK in the late 1970s after differences of opinion with General Zia-ul-Haq’s military regime. While there, he produced the multi-cultural programme “Here and Now” (1986-89) for Central Television (now ITV).

The internationally-renowned artist set up the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Karachi in 2005 and trained a host of budding artists. He authored three books “A Carrot is a Carrot,” “Theatrics” and “The God of My Idolatry Memories and Reflections.” He also wrote columns for various newspapers.

In 2012, Moheyddin was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian honour in Pakistan, for his contribution to the field of art.

His death was condoled by top members of Pakistan’s political establishment, including President Arif Ali, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and his predecessor, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan. Tributes poured in on social media from both Pakistan and India.

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