Noor Mohammed Charlie is a yesteryear actor who mostly did comedy roles. Noor hails from Ranavav village, Porbandar, Saurashtra, India. He was born on July 1, 1911 in a family of Memon. As a child, he hated school and would bunk it on numerous occasions to watch movies in theatres.
To support his rendezvous, he started working at a shop where he repaired broken umbrellas. In 1925, Imperial Film Company employed him on a monthly salary of forty rupees to sing. He was a massive fan of
Charlie Chaplin and would try to copy his mannerism and body style. In 1928, he first appeared on the big screen in Prafulla Ghosh's directorial, Akalna Bardan. He then went on to do films like Lekh Par Mekh, Chandrahasa, Vasant Leela and much more.
Though all of them were successful, none could match the popularity of The Indian Charlie. After the success of the Indian Charlie, he changed his screen name from Noor to Charlie. He has worked with several eminent film personalities like Ghory, Chaturbhuj Doshi,
Leela Chitnis, Dixit, Swarnalata,
Amirbai Karnataki and others. In fact, his fees were higher than even
Prithviraj Kapoor. In 1947, after the unfortunate partition of the Indian soil, he shifted to the newly formed nation, Pakistan. He worked there in Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi movies. Some of them worked at the box-office and some didn't.
However, he couldn't replicate the success he earned in India there. After thirteen years, he returned to India and starred in three movies. However, the Indian government didn't grant him the Indian citizenship due to which he had to move back to Pakistan. Noor worked in some more motion pictures there before migrating to the United States of America, where his two sons and daughter were residing.
However, after his health dwindled, he came to Pakistan and breathed his last there. He died on June 30, 1983. One of his son, Latif Charlie, is a TV actor and a filmmaker. He belonged to the rare species of comedians, who could sing too. In his lifetime, he worked the most number of times with Jayant Desai, Chandulal Shah, D. N. Madhok, Sheikh Hassan and Ezra Mir. The critics and audience have rechristened him as the country's first king of comedy.
Noor greatly influenced
Johnny Walker and Mehmood. Barrister's Wife, one of Noor's movie, featured Bollywood's first ever Rewashankar and Banne Khan composed qawwali named as Nazariya Taane Hai Teer Kaman.