Renowned TV and film star Syed Afzaal Ahmad, popularly known as Afzaal Chitta, passed away in Lahore on Friday after a protracted illness. He was 82.

Afzaal had suffered a brain hemorrhage in November 2001 after which his life never remained the same, leaving him with a speech impairment. On Thursday, his condition deteriorated and he was rushed to a hospital where he breathed his last on Friday. Afzaal is survived by his wife and three daughters.

His funeral prayers will be held at his Raiwind Road residence on Saturday after some relatives fly in from aboard.

Afzaal started his career with radio plays where he was discovered by celebrated writer Ashfaq Ahmad — something he also mentioned in an interview to PTV years ago. His first TV show was Jazeera, written by Munoo Bhai.

Veteran TV and theatre artiste Khalid Abbas Dar said that his contemporary Afzaal was a lovely person and an actor of great substance. PTV’s Jazeera  gave three actors to the television world, he said, naming himself, Afzaal and Roohi Bano.

He said Afzaal and him were introduced at the Government College, Lahore, as the former’s elder brother was his class-fellow. Afzaal studied at Aitchison College and later graduated from the Government College.

In 1968, Afzaal started his film career with Dhoop Aur Saaye and went on to do 300 films and several TV shows. Among his hit films were Hashoo Khan, Chan Waryam, Insan Aur Gadha, Sasta Khoon Mehnga Pani, Khabardar, Seedha Rasta, Wehshi Jutt and many others.

He also modernised the theatre scene of Lahore by establishing the first revolving theatre, Tamaseel. He put a lot of effort and money into the project and invited foreign experts for lighting and sound facilities. The first play staged at Tamaseel was Muhabbaton Kay Musafir, directed by Zahoor Balam.

Afzaal later came up with one of the most popular theatre plays, Janam Janam Ki Maili Chadar, written by Agha Hassan Imtasal, Pervaiz Kalim and Nasir Adeeb.

Veteran actors such as Hamid Bela, Irfan Khoosat, Khalid Abbas Dar and many others expressed sorrow and grief over Afzaal’s demise.

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