His film debut was director Haider Shah's movie 'Amanat', in which he appeared with his real name Ishrat. (1950,
starring: Ishrat, Gulshan Ara)
With his dark blue eyes and strikingly sharp features, Ishrat was essentially a happy go lucky man of the
In fact, he was the opposite of Santosh, when it came to sobriety.
In December 1951, Ishrat appeared in the role of 'Khadim' in director Amjad Husain's Punjabi film 'Billo'.
Najma Malik did the title role of 'Billo', while M.Ismail's forceful role of a phaja meerasi was praiseworthy.
G.N.Butt,Mehmood phana, Abu Shah and Mirza Sultan Baig (Radio Pakistan's famous artist Chaudhry Nizam Deen
were also included in the cast)
After 'Billo', Ishrat performed a role in director Malik Sharif's movie 'Mehbooba'.
Soon after 'Mehbooba', Ishrat went to India, changed his name to Darpan (Darpan is a Hindi word meaning
Aa'ena or mirror) and worked in a few movies. Prominent among them were 'Baarati' and 'Adal-e-Jehangiri'.
In 'Adal-e-Jehangiri, Darpan worked opposite Meena kumari.
At that time, a notable Indian actress, Nigar
Sultana, who hailed from Hyderabad Deccan, fell in love with Darpan. This was a one-sided love affair, since Darpan was not
interested in her. Hence he went back to Pakistan.
To his amazement, Nigar chased him the whole journey and reached Lahore in his pursuit.
However, Darpan kept his distance from her and poor Nigar bounced back to India with a broken heart.
Thus Darpan restarted his movie career in Pakistan with director Jafar Malik's first film 'Baap ka gunah'
(producer: Anwar Kamal Pasha, composer: Rasheed Attre, starring: Darpan, Musarrat Nazeer, Saleem Raza, Fazal Haq, Asif Jah)
This icon of the '60s and hero of the most popular films of his generation, worked opposite Sauran Lata
in director Nazeer's movie 'Noor-e-Islam'.
Next he teamed up with Musarrat Nazeer in director Fazal's film 'Rukhsana'.
Events unfolded rapidly as he developed as an artist. In 1959 he joined hands with director A.Rauf and Musarrat
Nazeer in the film 'Sahara'.
Darpan prided himself in marvelous movies and he accepted a lead role opposite Yasmeen in the film 'Khul
ja sum sum' (based on the story of 'Alif Laila', Ali Baba chaleese chore, released under the banner of Zeenat films, director:
Siqlain Rizvi, cast: Darpan, Yasmeen, Zeenat, Nazar, Naeem Hashmi, Sheikh Iqbal, Shahnawaz, Rajni, composer: Tufail Farooqi)
Darpan, who had a large audience, worked in the film 'Shama' (1959 director:Nazeer, starring: Darpan, Sauran
Lata, composer: Hasan Lateef Malik)
Destined for glory, Darpan produced the film 'Saathi' (1959 starring: Darpan, Neelo).
'Saathi 'was highly successful and it paved the way for high quality movies in the future.
At that time, Darpan was entering the golden part of his career, when almost every day brought new triumphs.
Producer Iqbal Shehzad launched his own production studio, Montana films and produced his first film 'Raat
kay rahi' under its banner. It was also Iqbal Yusuf's first film as director. (starring: Darpan, Rehana).
Darpan did not mold himself upon Santosh, he was influenced by him. But he was his own man, always.
Afterwards, Darpan worked in the film 'Saheli' which was a touchstone for all his fans. The scope of the
story was vast. 'Saheli 'had all the ingredients for a sure-shot success.
Enter visionary director S.M.Yusuf, who seemed to have been born to direct the film 'Saheli'
Darpan, Nayyar Sultana and Shamim Ara were among the movie's passionate cast.
Indeed, Darpan, Shamim Ara and Nayyar Sultana worked together as conceptual artists. The results moved audiences
Moreover, Darpan's reputation among his admirers was so solid that the role and the real person became one.
'Saheli' was followed by the film 'Insaan badalta hai' (Producer: Waheed Murad, director: Munawwar Rasheed,
starring: Darpan, shamim Ara) and 'Jab say dekha hai tumhain' (producer: Waheed Murad, director: Munawwar Rasheed, starring:
Darpan's productivity was awe-inspiring. Darpan produced and his younger brother S.Sulaiman (salo) directed
the following movies:
'Dulhan','Baaji','Ik tera sahara','Qaidi', 'Yahudi ki larki','Payal ki jhankar' and 'Gulfam'.
His performance in the films 'Shabab', 'Koh-e-Qaaf', 'Jawab do', 'Ik musafir ik haseena', 'Azmat', 'Meray
mehboob', 'Aanchal' and 'Naila' spoke volumes.
In a succession of movies, Darpan had developed a persona as the superstar of his era: 'Shola aur shabnam',
'Al-Hilal', 'Shikari', 'Jalwah', 'Maujiza', 'Bahadur', 'Sham sawera', 'Baalam', 'Fasana-e-dil', 'Meri bhabi', 'Hamjoli' and
The film 'Lakhoan afsanay' was Darpan's crowning achievement.
(director: Sheikh Hasan, starring: Darpan, Suzy Daniel and Indian actress Yamla Kumari.Suzy Daniel was the
younger sister of singer Deborah Daniel).
Darpan received both the presidential and the Nigar award for best actor for the film 'Saheli'.
At the pinnacle of his movie career, he married Nayyar Sultana.
Darpan changed a lot after marrying Nayyar. Much of his wit and smiles were replaced by his life partner's
Age had not slowed him. Smart as he was, Darpan had the uncanny ability to foresee future events. He knew
the 1970s were changing times and that time had come for change of guards: New actors were fast replacing the old ones.
Before he was pushed out of the limelight by younger actors, he took a bold initiative by launching his
recruiting agency in the commercial area of defense society and dedicated himself to his new business.
Darpan, a Pakistani phenomenon and a man with a very high degree of credibility crossed over on November
8, 1981 in Lahore, Pakistan.
After Darpan's death, his son, Ali Abbas, was wedded to the daughter of Darpan's younger brother, Syed Mansoor.
When one thinks of Darpan twenty- one years after his death, one realizes that Darpan exists, even though
he is no longer around.
What does strongly exist is the memory of it.
Every fan will always vividly remember Darpan, because his
character reminds them of the way things were.