ISLAMABAD: The third Death Anniversary of eminent drama artist and actor Qazi Wajid observed Today.
Qazi Wajid was a Pakistani actor born 26 May 1930. He began his career in front of the camera from the age of 10 as one of the boarding school boys in one of the earliest Pakistani movies in the mid-1950s, Beydari, which featured the now-famous song ‘Aao Bachon Sair Karaayein Tumko Pakistan Ki’.
Later he became a full-time artist at Radio Pakistan in Karachi, contributing to various programmes, and many still remember him as a regular voice artist for the very popular Cassette Kahaniyaan for children.
In the late ’50s as a performer in the Sunday morning show for children Bachon Ki Dunya, which initially had Abdul Majid as an anchor and later Munni Baji. In the segment titled ‘Qazijee Ka Qayda’ Qazi used to play a student attempting to learn his lessons and often being admonished and beaten by his ustaad.
Wajid first-ever appearance was Imtiaz Ali’s Toofani Dopaher which also included Masooma Latif and Santosh Russell. As an actor, Qazi Wajid could have been one of Pakistan television’s greatest finds. Like Spencer Tracy, he inhabited his everyman roles in so many serials and plays so perfectly that it would be difficult to imagine anyone else having performed them. As the mean husband of Ishrat Hashmi in Bajya’s adaptation of Afshaan, directed by Zaheer Khan in the early ’80s, he genuinely made viewers hate him.
But perhaps the pick of the hundreds of plays he acted in was his role in Khuda Ki Basti, that most realistic saga of the newly created Pakistan’s story of social taboos and rich vs poor. Qazi’s role as Raja, best friend to Nosha (played by Zafar Masood in the 1969 version and later by Behroze Sabzwari in the 1974 version) was remarkable in its realism. In the last episode of the serial, his portrayal of an ailing Raja begging Nosha not to leave him brought tears to thousands of eyes.
When the theatre was still popular, K. Moinuddin’s theatre group made us see Qazi Wajid as one of the stock characters in Khawaja sahib’s blockbuster stage plays such as Laal Qilay Se Lalukhet where Qazi’s role as Chaghoo the barber will remain in the minds of those who have seen the play on stage and PTV.
Others will remember him as one of the original cast members of K. Moinuddin’s immensely popular satire Taleem-e-Baalighaan from the 1960s, which was set to make a comeback on stage in a few weeks — with Qazi as the only original cast member still performing. Having had the taste of the big screen also, Qazi did do a few roles in films as well but these were usually as a sidekick or as a part of typical comedy sprinklers. His real talent that made viewers empathise with his characters only came out in television. He was among that fast-drying breed of performers who took pride in their characterisations and who brought a wealth of experience and literary knowledge to their craft on the screen.
Some of his most famous drama serials are Tanhayan, Dhoop Kinarey, Mehndi, Unkahi, Dil mmana aur Tum. Qazi was one of the pioneers in the radio industry of Pakistan. After 25 years on radio, he resigned and performed as an actor. He was awarded a Pride of Performance Award in 1988 by the government of Pakistan.
He died of a heart attack on February 11, 2018, in Karachi.