Qazi Wajid

A Man for B-&-W Season!

That scene! Right at the end of the penultimate episode of the first dramatisation of Shaukat Siddiqui’s brilliant novel, Khuda ki Basti, the one overseen by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Where one of the street urchins, Raja, played by the inimitable Qazi Wajid, calls to his childhood friend. He, a drug addict, and almost dying on the pavement of an early Karachi, and his friend running off to a promising prospect of a domestic job.

No matter if you have seen the best thrown up by any drama or any film production, you can’t forget that scene on what could be any Karachi main road just after Partition. Qazi Wajid immortalised that scene as nobody else, and he, himself, couldn’t do that again in the second production by PTV of this great book (the one with Behroze Sabzwari). Everybody knows he did brilliantly in Ta’leem-e-Balighan and Mirza Ghalib Bandar Road Par. His best was reserved for radio, like Hamid Mian ke Haan etc.

But, admittedly, he never got such revolutionary script again in his long career. Let’s admit it, he hardly was tested during the coloured version of television. I mean how many such classic novels were dramatised during Zia’s time. Even during the Seventies, all the best work in drama was done by Punjab. We had Hasina Moin and Anwar Maqsood, who were largely light-hearted. Like Zeir Zabar Pesh and Ankahi etc. So, Qazi was hardly tested after Khuda Ki Basti. In Asawari, he played an ayyar aur chalaak villain very well. In Chand Girhan, Qazi famously did a nice enough portrayal of a newspaper-owner. But, no cigar! If Shakeel had played that or Subhani ba Yunus, they would have done as well. It was routine stuff for him.