• 17 Feb - 23 Feb, 2018
  • Omair Alavi
  • Obituary

Not many actors have had the chance to make a name for themselves in all fields they have ventured in, and Qazi Wajid was perhaps the only one who started his career with the Radio, became a film actor in his teens, switched to theatre successfully and became a household name with his memorable TV appearances. His sudden passing away at the age of 74 has created a void that would certainly remain empty in many years to come.

Qazi Wajid’s name was synonymous with Pakistan Television’s Karachi Center, as he had been an active member of the acting community since the advent of PTV in the country. Before TV, he had made a name for himself as a Radio Pakistan actor and a theatre prodigy who had also worked in a couple of films. As soon as PTV’s Karachi Centre began producing plays, the love affair between TV’s audience and Qazi Wajid began and continued for the next five decades; he died on February 11 with his boots on, in Karachi leaving millions of his fans in shock.

Born as Qazi Abdul Wajid Ansari in Indian city of Gwalior in 1944, Qazi Wajid and his family migrated to Pakistan in 1947. He was a fair-skinned kid with blue eyes but that didn’t ease things for him since he was working as a radio artiste in the 1950s. Although he remained a good-looking man all his life (thanks to his blue eyes), he refused to play the protagonist since according to him it didn’t help him explore his abilities as an actor. On theatre, he played all kinds of roles and that’s why Khwaja Moinuddin selected him to play Shamsoo – the barber in what can be termed as his most iconic play Taleem-e-Baalighan. Mirza Ghalib Bandar Road Per came next followed by his success on television where he was indispensable thanks to his energy and versatility.

Qazi Wajid had the distinction of working with the best writers and directors of his era – be it writers like Khwaja Moinuddin, Shaukat Siddiqui, Anwar Maqsood, Haseena Moin, Athar Shah Khan or Noor-ul-Huda Shah or directors like Agha Nasir, Bakhtiar Ahmed, Qasim Jalali, Sahira Kazmi, Shoaib Mansoor or Shehzad Khalil. He also shared the screen with film and TV actors (he worked in a handful of films during the 60s and the 70s) including Waheed Murad, Syed Kamal, Ratan Kumar in films while on TV he constantly appeared with Bushra Ansari, Shakeel, Raju Jamil, Behroz Sabzwari, Jamshed Ansari, Javed Sheikh and Ayaz Naik.

In an era when there is an abundance of TV dramas and channels, Qazi Wajid was often seen working in many plays that went onto become quite popular. However, he remained connected to his audience through theatre and radio. In the 80s, he was an integral part of every kid’s life through Cassette Kahani where he lent his voice for different stories and fairytales. Many people including actors of today corrected their pronunciation while listening to Qazi Wajid’s accent that was immaculate and faultless.

For Qazi Wajid, the love of his fans was the biggest reward as he was one of the most recognisable actors in the country. He won numerous awards for his work including the Pride of Performance and will be remembered for his countless roles that made him the favourite actor of all. Some remember him for his acting in Taleem-e-Baalghan, for some, he became a household name through Khuda Ki Basti while for a few, he remains the old man who helped Sana Murad get a job in Ankahi. He was part of last year’s hit Sang-e-Mar Mar as the father of Noman Ijaz’s character who dies in the opening episode but can be seen in flashbacks.

From the 1950s until 2018, he was available to all for advice and suggestions and taught many junior actors a lot. He was as comfortable with comedy as he was with drama, tragedy and other genres of acting. Many serials gained cult classic status because of his sound acting and presence. For someone who had been around for so long, Qazi Wajid still had a lot to offer. It is true – they don’t make them like him anymore!