Waheed Murad (Urdu: وحید مراد) (2 October 1938 – 23 November 1983) was a legendary Pakistani film actor, producer and script writer, famous for his charming expressions, attractive personality, tender voice and unusual talent for acting. Waheed is considered as one of the most famous and influential actors of South Asia. He is often referred to as “Chocolaty Hero” or “Chocolate Hero”. Born in Karachi, Sindh, British India, did graduation from S.M. Arts College Karachi, and then masters in English literature from University of Karachi. He started his film career as cameo in 1959 in the film Saathi, when he was 21 years old. His naughty facial gestures, bold romanticism and alluring performance style during picturisation of songs made him immensely popular.
One of his biggest successful 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 star and the 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, after a long period of 27 years after his death, the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari awarded him the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third highest honour and civilian award by the State of Pakistan, given in the fields of literature, arts, sports, medicine, or science. 
Film career[ .]
For a detailed filmography, see Waheed Murad filmography.
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’sAulad. 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 andZeba created a number of successful films. Waheed Murad brought Malik, Anwar and Rana under the umbrella of ‘Film Arts’. But in the 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 cr . 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 songKuch 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 muhabbatin 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 the 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 the 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 the 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. FilmsMuqaddar, 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 andAndaaz 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, Bahar and 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 the 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 the 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.
Playback singers[ .]
For a detailed discography, see List of Waheed Murad songs.
In Waheed’s acting career, most of the popular songs picturised on him were sung by Ahmed Rushdi. Rushdi’s voice was considered as Waheed’s second voice. Waheed himself acknowledged that songs in Rushdi’s voice made his work easier and that he was more comfortable in acting with his songs. Rushdi sang more than 200 duet and solo songs for him and played a significant role in his success. Other playback singers who provided voice for him were Mehdi Hassan, Masood Rana, Saleem Raza, Akhlaq Ahmed, Mujeeb Aalam, Asad Amanat Ali Khan, Bashir Ahmad, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and A Nayyar.
He enlivened the silver screen with his extraordinary talent in picturisation of romantic songs. Some of the popular songs picturised on him 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.
Personal life[ .]
Early life[ .]
He was the only child to his father, Nisar Murad, a well-known film distributor since before Pakistan’s creation, and to his mother Shireen Murad, and the grandson of Zahoor Ilahi Murad, who was a lawyer in Sialkot and an acquaintance of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. He got early education from Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Murree till Grade 2, completed rest of his schooling and matriculation in Marie Colaco School, Karachi,       did graduation from S.M. Arts College, Karachi, and then masters in English literaturefrom University of Karachi. A strong educational background placed Waheed Murad at an advantage compared to other film producers and actors of his time.
Since his childhood Waheed was being given an exposure to leading actors of that time who used to visit his father regularly and inspired him to pursue an acting career. In his childhood, he used to wear a guitar around his neck and was famous as a good dancer among his friends. In his school life he played parts in several plays, which made him more popular. His best friends were Iqbal Yousuf and Pervaiz Malik, who joined the same profession Waheed joined, and were remained associated, esp. Iqbal Yousuf, with him for the rest of his life.
Waheed Murad and Pervez Malik were childhood friends. After completing graduation both expressed desire for higher education abroad, since Wahid was the only child of his parents, he was not allowed to go abroad, but Pervez Malik gone for masters in film production in California, USA. Meanwhile, Waheed enrolled for Masters in English Literature at the University of Karachi. He was the first actor who had a master’s degree in Pakistani film industry. Pervez returned homeland four years later and became the only film director to hold a masters degree in film production from the University of California.
Waheed Murad had a sort of liking towards Salma, a daughter of Karachi based industrialist and a MemonIbrahim Maker, when both were in grade nine in Karachi Grammar School. Their marriage took place on Thursday, 17 September 1964. The wedding ceremony was arranged at Nisar Murad’s house at Tariq Road, Karachi. He addressed his wife as Bibi at home. They had two daughters (Aaliya and Sadia) and one son (Adil). Sadia died in infancy and both Waheed Murad and Salma became inconsolable. However, their two children, Aalia and Adil brought happiness and comfort to their lives.
Days of struggle[ .]
By the late 1970s, Waheed was being cast in supporting roles either with Nadeem or with Mohammad Ali, or being offered by ‘B class’ film directors. Most of the leading heroines like Zeba, Shabnam and Nisho were not allowed to play lead roles with Waheed by their husbands. The heart-throbing actor Waheed Murad could not take such an ignominious treatment meted out to him by industry, but kept silent and did not seek help from his friends. Pervaiz Malik, who was became an established director and producer by late seventies, wrote in a local newspaper: “Not even once during that time Waheed come to me seeking work in my films.” Waheed was becoming depressed. His close friends revealed that he was becoming addicted to alcohol, oral tobacco and sleeping pills. Even his domestic life suffered and his wife Salma left for the United States. A combination of bad habits and stress caused ulceration in Waheed’s stomach in 1981. He suffered from bleeding and had to undergo stomach removal to save his life. His many fans came to the hospital to donate blood to save the life of their favourite hero. Although, he recovered, he lost a significant amount of weight. Even then, Iqbal Akhtar and Iqbal Yousuf, who proved to be real friends in difficult times, cast Waheed Murad in their movies. Waheed appeared pathetic in Dil ney phir yaad keya and Ghairao. Even his loyal admirers felt that it was all over for him.
In 1983, Anwar Maqsood – a famous TV writer and anchor and a close friend, invited Waheed to his TV comedy show Silver Jubilee. At only 90 pounds, Waheed appeared pencil-thin on the screen, but attempted to put up a brave front.
However, the keen observers could see that Waheed would be unable to spellbind the public as he did in the past. Only during the singing of Tumhe kaisey bata doun… byAalamgir in the Silver Jubilee show, Waheed’s smiles reflected a shadow of his former self-probably in his mind he was still the young hero 20 years earlier.
Babra Sharif, a top actress of the time, revealed that during filming of a scene of Hero, Waheed lost his balance while walking briskly toward her and fell down. He took several minutes to catch his breath prior to standing up on his feet again.
In July 1983, Waheed was driving his car too fast, one of his favourite hobbies, his car struck a big tree. Waheed had a narrow escape, but was left with a large scar on his face. A few days after the accident, Waheed asked his friend Pervaiz Malik for a role. Malik knowing that Waheed was not ready for an acting assignment said, “Veedu you get better and you will be the lead in my next film.” With his still razor-sharp mind, he replied, “You give me the role and I will get better.” He was going to Karachi to get the scar fixed in order to complete the last few scenes of Hero when he met the chief .or, Ilyas Rasheedi, of the film magazine ‘Nigar’ at the airport. Rasheedi wrote in his magazine:
“By chance a famous film producer was also present in the waiting area and Waheed put him on the spot by asking if he had a role for him for Javed Sheikh’s father in his movie. The producer had a difficult time dodging Waheed.”
During the flight Waheed was very bitter. He told Rasheedi that he was reduced to working in a Pushto film produced by Badar Muneer, who used to be his car driver and help him with his household work in the late sixties, and subsequently became a successful movie star.
Last days and death[ .]
Waheed’s son Aadil was in Karachi staying with his grand mother. A day before his face surgery, Waheed celebrated his birthday. He bought several gifts for Aadil and wished him a happy year. He returned late to spend the night at Anita Ayub’s mother Mumtaz Ayub’s home. When Waheed did not wake up until late, the door had to be forced open and Waheed was found lying on the floor, dead for several hours. A paan leaf with ‘something’ in it was found in his mouth. Nobody knows for sure if it was a heart attack orsuicide. Waheed was buried near his father’s grave in Gulberg Graveyard, Ali Zeb Road, Lahore.
A few months before his death, Waheed Murad as well as other actors and singers had appeared on a show to pay Ahmed Rushdi a tribute; many of those same people appeared on the show six months later, reminiscing about Waheed.
Waheed Murad’s contribution to films and arts is unanimously acclaimed by all the film critics and considered as revolutionary in terms of romantic acting. His acting style is being taught in Indian and Pakistani film institutions. He is considered as one of the pioneering Rock n’ Roll stars of Pakistan. Due to his romantic and alluring style of acting, he became famously known as the ‘Chocolaty 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.
The rise and fall of Waheed is quite similar to that of Elvis Presley and analogies have been drawn between the two cultural 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 the Islamisation of Pakistani society, downfall of Pakistani film industry, destruction of major cinemas of Karachi and Lahore, and dominancy ofBollywood films, his films are still shown on film festivals, cinemas and TV, and are well received.
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.”
Ilyas Rashidi, the founder of Nigar Awards, wrote in his weekly magazine Nigar:
“Waheed Murad was a born hero.”
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 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, “FamousIndian 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.”