Kader Moosani, a Remarkable Man
By Saeed Karim Fazli
The late Kader Moosani
On Sunday June 14, 2009, Qur’an Khwani was held at the Al -Rahman Masjid in Garden Grove, California for the soul of Kader Moosani. 12,000 miles away in Karachi, Pakistan a similar event oraganized by his son Sajid and attended, among others, by my brothers Rehmat Fazli and Habib Fazli was in progress at approximately the same time. Both events drew record crowds. It was testimony to the fact that Kader Moosani was held in high regard and loved deeply in two major countries of the world - the USA and Pakistan.
In Garden Grove, after the Zuhr prayers, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui gave a heartfelt speech. Then he called upon some of his devoted and long-standing friends to say a few words. Anwarul Haq, perhaps his oldest friend in California (he knew him since 1955), gave a very moving speech, almost breaking down in the process. Hamid Malik, one of his dearest friends, gave an excellent speech, paying rich tribute to the sterling qualities of the man which endeared him to everyone he came in contact with. Tariq Mehmood, who came to know him closely in the last ten years, spoke about Kader's extraordinary hospitality. He said he made each and every guest the center and focus of his attention. When it came to my turn to say a few words, I almost choked with emotion. I underscored his love of family and the way he lent himself to charitable causes. Sameer Moosani, his youngest son, thanked everyone who came to the Qur’an Khwani with commendable restraint and well-chosen words.
In the face of sudden loss and grief, Kader's entire family, his sons, his daughter, his daughters-in-law, his grandsons, kept themselves in check and attended personally to everyone who came to the Qur’an Khwani. Among his friends who helped out with the excellent arrangements were the three Khan brothers, Ismail, Alam and Azam, of whom Alam was especially close to Kader. Hanif Noormohammad (who was also related to Kader, being his only daughter Sonia's father-in-law), Hamid Malik, Siraj Kadri, Amin Motiwala, Anwar Siddiqui, Tariq Mehmood, Samin Faruqui acted as hosts rather than guests. I noticed Altaf Godil and his wife help out with the serving of the food. There was plenty of well-cooked Pakistani fare for everyone. And everyone who attended the Qur’an Khwani was well-fed in keeping with our cultural and religious traditions.
As I was leaving at the conclusion of this event, I noticed Arif Zaffar Mansuri sitting in a corner. Arif and I had become close friends when he drove me down in late 2007 to attend a San Diego event in honor of Professor Akbar Ahmed. We spent the better part of a day together and literally discovered each other. I never forgot that day. It stayed with me. I was gratified to see that we had such a gifted man in our community. When Kader learnt of composer Sohail Rana's presence in Southern California last year he immediately arranged for him to come to his house. He called me and Arif Mansuri among others. And we were there at very short notice. It became very clear to me that Kader had charmed yet another man. Arif Mansuri became his close friend and today he was grieving with the rest of us for Kader. I promised him this article. And so here it is.
Kader Ibrahim Moosani (that was his full name) was born in Ahmedabad, Gujrat on September 29, 1942. Life had many ups and downs, but he faced them very bravely and always with a smile. Regardless of setbacks, he always came out on top. His family was in jewelry business but Kader was an innovator and wanted to do something different. So he joined films, at that time looked down upon by most Pakistanis. For a while he was considered a black sheep in his very tradition-oriented family. But, he with his hard work and talent made the film profession respectable. That's where I met him for the first time. Actually, it was on a movie set in the early 1960's. He was very proud of the fact that we had given top talent to the film industry on both sides of the border. He talked endlessly of Mehboob Khan, K.Asif, Naushad, Dilip Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Sahir Ludhianvi, Nargis, Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nimmi, Suraiya, Waheeda Rehman and our own Noor Jehan, Mohammad Ali, Zeba, Waheed Murad, Nadeem, Nisar Bazmi, Sohail Rana, Mehdi Hassan, Ahmed Rushdi, Ghulam Ali, Khawaja Khurshid Anwar, Rani, Hassan Tariq, Pervez Malik, Shamim Ara, Deeba, Nasim Begum, Mala, Masroor Anwar, Qateel Shifai, Himayet Ali Shair and many other talented people in all branches of the film industry. Since these people were also my favorites we became friends. In time very close friends.
Kader first became a distributor of films, where he came very close to my younger brother Rehmat Fazli who was in film distribution as well and still is. Then in quick succession he became a film financier. Then he became a film producer. In each field he distinguished himself. His biggest success came in 1973. Nadaan proved to be a platinum jubilee film. It is still considered Nadeem's best film. Nadeem realized the immense contribution Kader had made to his career. He became a very close friend. He even visited him in California. Other top stars also came very close. He had helped them in their careers in one way or another. Among them were Mohammad Ali and Zeba. And, of course, Waheed Murad. When he died prematurely in the early eighties, Kader was inconsolable. When Mohammad Ali and Zeba visited Southern California in 2004 he threw a lavish party in their honor.
Kader contributed immensely to the growth of Pakistan's TV industry. He produced many successful TV serials and in the process introduced many artists. He was always looking to promote new talent.
Kader's success in America was phenomenal. Within a short time he became a charismatic community leader. As has been pointed out, he was a gracious host. He was a modern man. He had great sense of style, he had sartorial grace. He had tremendous enthusiasm for life. He was always laughing and joking. And he was very happy that he was in America, easily the greatest country in the world. His greatest moment of joy was when Barack Obama was elected president.
Through it all his passion for movies remained undiminished. We would often drive together to Shiraz Jivani's Naz8 in Lakewood to see the latest Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or A.R.Rahman movie on the big screen. He was very upset by the multiplex strike in Bombay which had hit Naz8 and other exhibition outlets all over the world very badly. He didn't want anybody to go out of business, least of all those who had dedicated themselves to bringing quality movies to these shores. We were planning to see Sajid Nadiadwala's Kambakkht Ishq together which will be the first major movie to be released, after the strike, either on 3rd July or 10th July. Now he is suddenly gone to his eternal abode.
Actually, a whole book can be written about him. Perhaps, more than one book to do full justice to his multi-faceted personality.
Here in this short piece all I can say is that Kader Moosani was the modern man that Sir Syed Ahmad Khan dreamed about and at the same time he was Iqbal's Mard-e-Momin.