KARACHI, Nov 23: For his numerous fans, there are more than a hundred reasons why Waheed Murad is their immortal idol whom they affectionately called “chocolate hero”. For his family, he was a loving and simple person. For his fellow artistes, he was a super performer and nice guy who maintained his glorious image until his death on this day 24 years ago.
Thousands of admirers of the late superstar of Pakistani movies observed his 24th death anniversary on Friday across the country, especially in Karachi and Lahore.
“He still lives in our heart”, Mohammad Bakhsh, 70, a former gatekeeper of the erstwhile Capitol Cinema and diehard fan of Waheed Murad, said.
“He was the only hero whose hairstyle had been copied for decades by his admirers,” Bakhsh said, recalling that thousands of youths, particularly girls, would keep his pictures and portraits in their drawing rooms and bags when he had been starring in movies.
Waheed Murad performed in a large number of successful movies and produced many films that hit the box office in a period of tough competition when talent was awesome and fame was hard to come by in the Pakistani film industry.
“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,” Ghulam Mohiyuddin, a junior contemporary of the great film icon, reminisced.
Mohiyuddin worked in half a dozen movies with Murad which is enough for him to cherish for life.
“Working with Waheed Murad itself was a great privilege for anyone at that time and I am one of those few lucky ones,” he said.
“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,” said Mohiyuddin.
“As a new entrant in the industry, I had initially thought he may be a rude, proud person but while working in Bandhan (a movie) with him, I found him a humble and simple person.”
“He ruled over the industry yet he never defaulted in punctuality. He was an epitome of politeness,” he said.
Mohiyuddin said that since 1980, the pattern of Pakistani movies had changed from romance to action and violence, which sidelined all the big stars of that time and hurt Murad the most.
Waheed Murad had got a scar in his face in a road accident just a few months before his death and those months appeared to be a period during which he suffered depression.
But in his better times, his fans could not separate him from Lehri, perhaps the greatest comedian the industry has ever produced.
“He was a great companion, an unforgettable friend and a humble man so rich in terms of money and fortunes,” Lehri, who shies away from the limelight nowadays due to illness, said briefly.
Actress and director Sangeeta, who played lead with Murad in a few movies, said she could not forget her association with the late superstar. “For me, it was a great time when I had been working with him,” she said.
Murad did not mix up his film fanfare with real life and his marriage with Salma, daughter of a businessman, reflected that.
“At home he was just like a common man with domestic concerns, he never mixed his work and fame with his domestic life,” Salma Murad said.
According to a film critic, 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.