Green's Dictionary of Slang has big cheese as
(Originally U.S) and important person, an influential figure, a boss
in a situation or job.
The earliest citation is from 1908, with another from 1913.
I have to say that this casts some doubt on the Urdu derivation, as American slang is not typically Anglo-Indian in origin. He also notes that an alternative meaning:-
(a) an unpleasant, incompetent, stupid person; usually ext. as big cheese, piece of cheese, plate of cheese, poor cheese etc.
whose earliest citation is 1864, or...
(b) as [above] but used jocularly or affectionately
Whose earliest citation is 1891.