Waheed Murad (Urdu: وحید مراد) (2 October 1938 – 23 November 1983) was a legendary Pakistani film actor, producer and script writer. Waheed is considered to be one of the most famous and influential actors of South Asia. Waheed Murad was born in Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan he was the only child of well-to-do film distributor Mr. Nisar Murad. He got early education from Karachi Grammar School, Karachi, did graduation from S.M. Arts College Karachi, and then masters in English literature from University of Karachi.
He is well known for his charming expressions, attractive personality, tender voice and unusual talent for acting in films. His romantic style of acting made him popular amongst the young cinema viewers of south asia. One of his blockbuster films is Armaan, which was produced by him, made a pivotal impact on the sub-continental film industry such that the Pakistani film industry was considered as the rising sun and this film made him a superstar overnight. Once, in an interview in 1967, he said that Dilip Kumar, too, was not an immortal actor. Waheed was known as a cheque which could be cashed any where in the country and is the only actor of film industry to secure the highest number of platinum, diamond, golden and silver jubilees.
In November 2010, 27 years after his death, Pakistani president Asif Zardari awarded him the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the “star of excellence,” an honour given for distinguished merit in the fields of literature, arts, sports, medicine, or science.
Waheed Murad started his film career by joining his father’s established ‘Film Art’ in 1961 as producer of the film Insaan badalta hai. In his second film as producer Jab se dakha hai tumhein he cast Darpan with Zeba as heroine. Afterwards, Darpan most of the time started coming late at studio. Zeba suggested Waheed to cast himself as hero in his next film. Waheed was not ready to sign himself in his own movies. But when the same suggestion came from his old good friend Pervaiz Malik, he accepted it on the condition that if Zeba would be his co-star, Zeba accepted in return (according to Zeba). As a result he firstly appeared in a supporting role in 1962’s Aulad. The film was directed by his friend S.M. Yousuf. Aulad got much more acclaims from critics, and it also got the Nigar award in the best film’s category for the year. Heera aur pathar was his first movie as a leading actor and considered to be his major breakthrough. He got the Nigar award in the best actor category for the same film.
In 1966, he acted in Armaan under his production which was directed by Pervaiz Malik. Armaan broke all the box office records at that time and completed 75 weeks in theatres, gave him the status of superstar or perhaps the first superstar of Pakistani films. The film is a romantic and melodious love story. The songs like Koko korina…, Akele na jana…, Betaab ho udhar tum… and Zindagi apni thi ab tak… sung by legendary singer Ahmed Rushdi became extremely popular among the youth especially among the college girls. He received two Nigar awards for the categories best producer and best actor for the film Armaan. During the same year, he starred in another superhit film Jaag utha insaan with co-star Zeba. This fact is on record that in Zeba’s success, Waheed had a very important contribution as he cast her in his films and brought country wide fame for her.
In 1967, he appeared as leading actor in masterpieces like Devar bhabi, Doraha, Insaaniyat and ‘Maan baap. Devar bhabi is considered as one of his best movies and completed 50 weeks in the cinemas. The story of Devar bhabi is based on Indo-Pak’s unjust social thoughts and norms. Insaaniyat is also considered as one of his best movies in which he played a role of a dedicated doctor.
From 1964 to 1968, Waheed Murad and Pervaiz Malik made blockbusters like Heera aur pathar, Armaan, Ehsaan, Doraha and Jahan tum wahan hum. The successful combination of Waheed Murad, Pervaiz Malik, Masroor Anwar, Sohail Rana, Ahmed Rushdi and Zeba created a number of successful films. Waheed Murad brought Malik, Anwar and Rana under the umbrella of ‘Film Arts’. But in late 1960s, dissension grew between Waheed Murad and other three team members of ‘Film Art’. Pervaiz Malik was not happy with Waheed’s taking away the credit for all the success of movies and giving little recognition to others. So the Film Arts broke up and Pervaiz Malik started creating his own projects with new actors. A total of seven films, including two films, i.e., Usey dekha usey chaha and Dushman released after a long gap of 6 years in 1974, were produced with the combination of Waheed and Pervaiz (but not under ‘Film Art’ Production).
In 1969, Waheed produced, wrote and directed his own movie Ishaara but the movie flopped at box office. Andaleeb was released in 1969, which was directed by Fareed Ahmed. Other co-stars included Shabnam, Aliya, Talish and Mustafa Qureshi. Andaleeb proved to be one of the greatest films of the year. Moviegoers loved his acting esp. in the song Kuch log rooth kar bhi… sung by Ahmed Rushdi in which Waheed is trying to flirt Shabnam in his red sports car. Waheed Murad received Nigar award in the best actor category for that film. Critics are unanimous that singer Ahmed Rushdi had a significant role in the success of Waheed Murad, and that Rushdi’s voice was tailor made for him.
From 1970 to 1979, many of his films were superhit like Naseeb apna apna and Anjuman in 1970; Neend hamare khuwab tumhare and Mastana mahi(Waheed’s first Punjabi film) in 1971; Baharo phool barsao in 1972; Ishq mera naa (Punjabi film) and Shama in 1974; Jab jab phool khiley in 1975;Shabana in 1976; Saheli, Parakh and Khuda aur muhabbat in 1978; and Awaz and Bahan bhai in 1979. Mastana mahi was Waheed’s first Punjabi film, which was also produced by him and directed by Iftikhar Khan. Mastana mahi was purely a romantic musical film. Waheed received Nigar award for the best actor for Mastana mahi.
During early 1970s, he had no or very little choice in selecting his co-stars. Zeba, after her marriage with Mohammad Ali, was not allowed to work as heroine with Waheed Murad. Soon Shabnam’s husband Robin Ghosh forced her to not work with Waheed. Even Nisho was not allowed to work with him. These were major setbacks for Waheed’s career. Most of the top producers offered Waheed secondary roles in their films due to a monopoly against him. In addition, Nadeem was giving him a stiff competition in 1970s. So Waheed had been cast by less popular directors and producers and had been given the role of ‘stereotypical romantic hero’. Films like Naag Mani (1972), Mastani Mehbooba (1974), Laila Majnu (1974), Izzat (1975), Dilruba (1975), Raaste ka pathar (1976),Mehboob mera mastana (1976), and Naag aur nagan (1976) gave him major setbacks. By late 1970s and early 1980s, Waheed was being cast in supporting roles either with Nadeem or with Mohammad Ali in the films like Parastish (1977), Aadmi (1978), Khuda aur mohabbat (1978), Awaz (1978), Behan Bhai (1979), Wadey ki zanjeer (1979), Raja ki aaye gi barat (1979), Zameer(1980), Badnaam (1980), Gun man (1981), Kiran aur kali (1981), Gherao (1981), Ahat (1982) and Maang meri bhar do (1983). The films Hero (1985) and Zalzala (1987) were released after his death. Films Muqaddar, Aankhon ke taare, Aas paas and Andaaz were either incomplete films or not released by the producers. Hero was the last film of Waheed’s life, directed by Iqbal Yousuf. The film was released after almost two years of Waheed’s death in 1985. Another Waheed’s delayed film Zalzala was released after 4 years of his death in 1987, which was also directed by Iqbal Yousuf. Zalzala did nothing at the box office, however, Hero completed its Silver Jubilee in Karachi. Muqaddar, Aankhon Kay Taray, Aas Paas and Andaaz were the films that were either left incomplete or remain unreleased till todate.
Waheed Murad, in his 25-year career, paired with several actresses like Zeba, Shamim Ara, Rani, Naghma, Aaliya, Sangeeta, Kaveeta, Aasia, Shabnam, Deeba, Babra Sharif, Rukhsana, Baharand Neelo. He acted in a total of 124 films (2 films were released after his death) of which 38 were black and white and 86 were in colour. Besides this he also appeared in 6 films as a guest star including his ever first and shortest appearance on silver screen in 1959’s Saathi. He acted in 115 Urdu films, 8 Punjabi films and 1 Pushto film, and earned 32 prestigious film awards including ones for best producer and for best actor.
Film Art productions
Waheed Murad produced eleven films under his father’s established ‘Film Art’. He was the youngest film producer in the industry at that time. As producer, Waheed Murad was a successful producer. Most of his produced films were either Golden Jubilee or Silver Jubilee. During 1960s and early 1970s, he produced films like Insaan badalta hai (1961) (his first film as producer),Armaan (1966), Ehsaan (1967), Naseeb apna apna (1970) and Mastana mahi (Punjabi film of 1971). However, after Mastana Mahi he produced no film except Hero which was produced in 1980s and was released after his death.
As director, he had directed as well as produced Ishaara (1969) with co-star Deeba. But the film failed to achieve the viewers’ expectances.
Waheed Murad is considered as one of the pioneering Rock n’ Roll stars of Pakistan. Due to his romantic and subtle style of acting, he became famously known as the ‘Chocolate Hero’ and ‘Lady Killer’. His hair cut, dressing style and even his conversation style were very popular among the youth. One can say that he was becoming the cultural icon of the Pakistani Film Industry. Once he went to Saddar area of Karachi in his white car. Realizing that it was his car, a group of 30 college girls covered the vehicle with lipstick kisses.
He enlivened the silver screen with his extraordinary talent in acting and picturisation esp. in romantic songs. Some of the songs that still turn many nostalgic are Tumhain kaisay bata doon,Kuch log rooth kar bhi, Dil tumko dey diya, Koko korina, Jhoom aye dil wo dera jaan-e-bahar aye ga, Beetay huway khuch din aisay hain tanhai jinhain duhrati hey, Mujhe tum nazar say gira to rahay ho, Yun kho gaiy teray pyar mein hum, Socha tha piyar na karan gain, Khamosh hein nazaray and Aye abre karam aaj itna baras.
The rise and fall of Waheed is quite similar to that of Elvis Presley and analogies have been drawn between these two icons. According to a film critic, Waheed Murad was like Elvis Presley who enjoyed early success, the status of being the most mesmerising personality of his country. He earned great fame and then faced a sudden fall and had an untimely death. Despite hardship later in Waheed’s life and suffering such a tragic death, he is born again. His movies are repeatedly shown on film festivals, cinemas and TV and are well received.
Ilyas Rashidi, the founder of Nigar Awards, wrote in his magazine:
“Waheed Murad was a born hero.”
Rajesh Khanna, an Indian actor, said in his interview with Shama Delhi magazine:
“After seeing a lot of movies of Waheed Murad, I admit he was a really great actor and I admire his matchless acting performance.”
Ghulam Mohiuddin, a Pakistani film actor, said:
“Waheed Murad was not an individual but he was an era in his own right which ended when he was sidelined by those who took over the industry in the early 1980s, … he was a great artiste, who recreated the image of a romantic hero. His acting was natural; he had a great deal of musical sense and was matchless when it came to picturising a song.”
Lehri, a Pakistani film comedian, said:
“He was a great companion, an unforgettable friend and a humble man so rich in terms of money and fortunes.”
Sangeeta, a Pakistani film director and actress, said:
“For me, it was a great time when I had been working with him.”
In the recent Hollywood film Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, actress Leilah Isaac’s character Sabeen remembers Waheed Murad. Frankie Muniz, reprising his role as Agent Cody Banks, discloses to his cosmopolitan band members that he is a secret agent. To this, a Nigerian boy claims to be Spider-Man while another girl calls herself Lara Croft. As the actors associate themselves with their favourite comic book characters, Sabeen says: “And I’m Waheed Murad.” This entices all to ask “what?” to which she replies, “Famous Indian actor.”
“Waheed Murad was a superb actor and probably one of the best who ever graced Lollywood. His failure in movies was not owing to lack of talent. In fact, he was the most stylish and original actor in Pakistan. He improved the image of industry by shining through their mediocre scripts; they repaid him by contributing to his downfall. Bad luck, his own strong personality and rendezvous with several actresses also ruined him. He, however, still lives on in the hearts of millions of fans. As his daughter Aaliya said, “If Dad knew that he had such a following, he would not have died”