Salim Nasir: A resounding tribute
Anis Ahmed Shakur
Jo khawab tha bikhar gaya mein waqt tha guzar gaya
‘You can change your
life by changing your thinking. You can make anything of your life that you wish and that you are willing
to work for.’
The above maxim holds true to the television
great of yester year, Salim Nasir.
Born to an enlightened family in 1944,
the ever-amazing Salim Nasir had all the ingredients necessary to fulfill his ambition in any given profession. After graduation,
he built a successful career as a public relations officer, in defense housing authority, Karachi.
His role in the film ‘Zaib-un-nisa’
was an enjoyable and sharp surprise. Theatrical release of ‘Zaib-un-nisa’ was in 1976,director, Fareed Ahmed,
cast included, Waheed Murad- Shamim Ara- Aaliya- Salim Nasir.
His immense acting potential was soon
recognized by Pakistani television. His fabulous acting in the comedy drama serial, ‘Aangan tera’, captivated
a nation. Salim Nasir played the role of a servant, Akbar, in ‘Aangan tera’. As the story goes, Akbar used to
be a dancer, before he was hired as a servant, by a retired civil service employee, Shakeel, dubbed as Mehboob Ahmed. Akbar
also acted as Mehboob’s advisor on different matters. Directed by Qaiser Farooq, writer, Anwar Maqsood, cast included
Salim Nasir- Bushra Ansari- Shakeel- Arshad Mehmood.
Salim Nasir was described best as an
extraordinary artist and master of the highly specialized field of acting. His competency and artistic skills were unmatched.
His greatness shines through in the television play ‘Dastak’. Cast included Salim Nasir- Ayaz Naik- Shazia Akhtar-
Small screen legend, Salim Nasir, achieved
so much fame so soon, which was quite a rarity. One marvels at his comprehension of words, as one watches his performances
on television. He uttered the lyrics with complete understanding. Additionally, his voice had resonance, depth and strength,
which was ideal for the various characters he was offered to play from time to time.
He was a man who had no desire to compare
his special talents against his competitors because he had faith in his own abilities. One of those days, Salim Nasir hosted
a special Eid show. Dressed in all- white, he shared his feelings with his fellow artists.
Moreover, he built a phenomenal career
on being versatile. His utterance of dialogues was remarkably authoritative in the prominent drama serial ‘Unkahi’.
It is a story of ordinary people trying to make it against all odds. Beautifully written by Haseena Moin and a solidly researched
play. Cast included Salim Nasir as mamu, Shehnaz Sheikh as Sana Murad and Jibran.
An artist of uncommon ability and magnetic
personality, Salim Nasir was the guest in Anwar Maqsood’s renowned stage show, ‘Silver Jubilee’, in 1983.
For Salim Nasir, it was not just about working hard. He had to make the public see him in a new way.
Along the way, he picked one success
after another. Hence, his road to stardom was replete with success. His ultimate excellence was a product of total commitment
and perseverance over the long-term. Pakistan’s fascination with Salim Nasir is boundless. With his national fame at
an all-time peak, he published his own entertainment magazine, ‘Jalwa’.
Once discussing his splendid artistry,
Salim Nasir opined that he did justice to every role that was offered to him. Super-performer of ‘Aakhri Chatan’,
Salim Nasir was super smartly dubbed as Sultan Jalal uddin Khwarzim Shah in one of Pakistan television’s greatest historical
drama serial. Are we to marvel at the director’s uncanny ability to direct ‘Aakhri Chatan’ or applaud the
brilliance of Salim Nasir?
To recap the story, heroic Jalal desperately
endeavors to unite the Muslims to crush the hoard of the barbarians, led by Genghis Khan. In fact, Jalal was the last hope
of the then Islamic world to defeat the tartars. Jalal taught his brave soldiers that hope dies last. Hope does not trickle
down. Hope springs up.
The heart broken lyrics in the last episode
of ‘Aakhri Chatan’ are worth listening to. Too bad, none of the Muslim rulers came to the rescue of Jalal. In
the final moments, Jalal was left alone with a handful of brave soldiers to embrace martyrdom. Poetry was undoubtedly integral
to the success of the mega hit drama serial, ‘Aakhri Chatan’. It was this intrinsic poetic content in Mujeeb Alam’s
vocalizing that elevated the background song to a near art form.
The promise of this drama serial—the
reason it excites us so much—is that it allows for both micro and macro stories: the intimate dynamics of history. Writer,
Naseem Hijazi, director, Qasim Jalali, cast included Salim Nasir- Zahoor Ahmed- Talat Iqbal- Shaista Qaiser- Anwar Iqbal.
We feel Salim Nasir’s dialogues in ‘Aakhri Chatan’ have a special resonance today.
Between 1976 and 1989, Salim Nasir’s
output could only be described as prodigious. In terms of emotion and prowess, there is no equal to the talents of Salim Nasir.
Pakistani television icon, Salim Nasir, played the character of a cruel brother, in the television drama, ‘Jangloos’
in 1989, which happened to be his last television play as well.
He had also suffered a heart attack around
September 1989 and was receiving medical treatment. On Thursday, October 18, 1989, Salim Nasir experienced signs of extreme
heart congestion around noon. He was rushed to hospital but he expired before any medical treatment could be given to him:
Hamaray liye bus itni dua karo keh Khuda-e-buzrug-o-berter hamay izzat ki maut say mehroom na karay.
He was 45 years of age .He is survived
by his wife, two daughters and a son. A grand era had ended. I thought this as I stared with disbelieve at the television
broadcasting the news of his death in 1989.
Fifteen years have not diminished the
enormous impact of Salim Nasir. He had developed a reputation that preceded him.
After his death, the innumerable admirers remember him for his single- minded devotion to make Pakistani
television the best.