Legendary actor Abid Ali passes away

  • 14 Sep - 20 Sep, 2019
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Obituary

Renowned veteran actor, director and producer, Abid Ali passed away in Karachi after being hospitalised for the past two months. He was suffering from Hepatitis and last week, he breathed his last at 67 due to liver complications.

Abid Ali was born in Quetta on March 29, 1952, where he acquired early education. Inclined towards performing arts and having an imposing voice, he joined Radio Pakistan Quetta for a brief period. From the Balochistan capital he shifted to Lahore to try his luck on television.

In Lahore, he got an opportunity to work in the popular drama Jhok Siyal (1973) which earned him recognition becoming the trendsetter in history of Pakistani drama. That was the black and white era of Pakistani Television. But it was his supremely nuanced performance in the iconic serial Waris (1978) that established him as a formidable actor. He reached another level of fame with Waris and his character Dilawar became the household name in every nook and corner of Pakistan, Abid Ali went on to work in a number of noteworthy plays such as Khwahish and Suraj Ke Sath Sath. He also ventured into production and direction with the play Dasht, which gained tremendous popularity. The TV plays that he produced or directed were content-driven, often identifying the various social ills that Pakistani society is grappling with.

One of the biggest feathers in his cap was drama serial Dooriyan. With the start of NTM in 1990, private productions were allowed to be aired on Private Television Network’s prime time slot. Dooriyan was the first drama serial that was not only privately produced, it was also first to be aired in 1991.

When private television channels were introduced in Pakistan at the beginning of this century, Abid Ali started his own production company, Gold Bridge Media, and produced the most famous television play for Geo TV, e.g. Masi Aur Malka (2009), which gave instant fame and recognition to the biggest film star of today, Mehwish Hayat.

He was the proud recipient of the Pride of Performance by the President of Pakistan for his services in the field of radio, television and films. He also tested the lights and camera of big screen but confined himself mostly to the character roles. His first film was Khaak O Khoon (1979) based on a Nasim Hijazi novel, the only film produced under the banner of NEFDEC, established by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in 1970s for the betterment of the film industry of the country.

Abid Ali was a workaholic. Mera Rab Waris, Dil Kiya Kare, and Ramz-e-Ishq are three drama serial that are still on air on Geo TV in Pakistan. He has also worked in recent Eid film, Heer Maan Ja, that is still running in the theaters of not just Pakistan but around the world that shows his dedication to the film industry.

His first marriage was with actress and singer Humaira Chaudhary in the mid 70s who was also co-star of his drama serial Jhok Siyal. They have three daughters; Maryum Ali, Iman Ali, the super model and actress in many dramas and films as well, and Rahma Ali, who remained with her father till his last breath. He married a second time with actress Rabia Noreen in the mid 2000s and was currently living with her in Karachi.

The moment the news of Abid Ali’s death broke, messages started to pour in on social media. All the stars from the film fraternity posted on their social media a farewell to the departed and a condolence to the family. It was not just members of the showbiz community who relayed their messages for the late actor; his death also sent a shockwave in the sporting community.

In a wave that took over social media, a video of his daughter Rahma Ali did rounds on Instagram, devastated and hysterical, she brings to the public eye that her family is not being allowed to attend the funeral that shall happen at his second wife, Rabia Noreen’s house. Grief-stricken, Ali says “I really want to tell this to the world, Papa’s second wife, Rabia Noreen, took his body and left and, we are at the hospital sitting helpless because we don’t know where to go. We don’t even know where he lives.” Later news of his funeral prayers did rounds on social media but it is still unclear if it is being attended by his family.