40th death anniversary of legendery actor Darpan is today. Syed Ishrat Abbas, better known by his stage name Darpan was one of the original romantic heroes of the “golden age” of Pakistan’s film industry.
Darpan was born into a middle-class Shia Muslim family originally from the United Provinces of India, where he was born in 1928. His older brother, Santosh Kumar, was also a film actor. Another brother, S. Sulaiman, is a film director.
Darpan was introduced in the film Amanat in 1950 and went on to feature in the Pakistani Punjabi film Billo in 1951. After starring in a few more films produced in Lahore, he decided to try his luck in India, where he only had moderate level of success. Notable films from this period include Barati
(1954), and Adl-e-Jehangir (1955) opposite Meena Kumari.
Darpan came back to Lahore after a few years, where the film industry was then booming, and he acted in Baap Ka Gunah (1957). He had a breakthrough with his self-produced film Sathi. Raat Ke Rahi (1960), Saheli, Gulfam, Qaidi, Anchal, Baji, Shikwa, Ik Tera Sahara and Naela (1965) were some big films in which he played vital roles. Critics applauded his lead role performance back in Pakistan’s film Saheli (1960) in which he starred alongside Nayyar Sultana and Shamim Ara. He won a Best Actor Nigar Award for his performance in Saheli (1960), as well as a Presidential award. His last big film as hero was Payal Ki Jhankar in 1966. He was the hero in two of Waheed Murad’s produced films Insaan Badalta Hai and Jab Se Dekha Hai Tumhen. He played the villain in Ik Gunah Aur Sahi, and was a supporting actor in Khuda Te Maan, Jub Jub Phool Khile (1975) and a few other films.
Darpan was a good-looking and attractive man with hazel eyes and a rich playboy’s smile.
When it came to marriage, Darpan fell for a shy, typically eastern and a lady-like fellow actress, Nayyar Sultana. They had been paired together earlier in a super-hit Pakistani film Saheli (1960) which also starred Shamim Ara and was directed by veteran film director S.M. Yousuf.
He died in Lahore on 8 November 1980 at age 52.