Salim Nasir: A resounding tribute
By Anis 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.
Saleem Nasir was born Syed Sher Khan in Zila Mardan, Pakistan, in an enlightened family, on October 19, 1944. He took
pride in being a Pushto – speaking Pathan.
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,' in which he played the role
of a very strict lawyer. Cast included Salim Nasir- Ayaz Naik- Shazia Akhtar- Qazi Wajid.
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
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
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.
Talking of his ingenuity, who could forget his resplendent acting in Pakistani television drama, 'Sarwar Shaheed, Nishan-e-Haider.
Saleem Nasir played the title role of Captain Sarwar Shaheed.
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
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, late Saleem Ahmed, 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
After his death, the innumerable admirers remember him for his single- minded devotion
to make Pakistani television the best.
Mein pusht-e-ast per sawaar
Jo fikr-e-Taj-o-Takht hai
agar shikast-e-jang hai
to khair ab bhi waqt hai
Nagar hai kaun sa jahan bala ka run naheen para
mein sar hateli per liye kahan kahan naheen lara
waqar-e-quam kay liye kahan kahan naheen gaya
mein jungaloan mein Aag mein shabein guzarta raha
gawah kar kay deen ko tumhain pukarta raha
magar tamaam dar mujhay hamesha bund he milay
meray lahu kay gulistan kisi tarhan naheen khilay
Ye waqt ki siyaheyaan ye Aandhian ye bijliyaan
Ye Aag ye tabahiyaan
ye shola kaarwayiaan
khizaan hai burk-o-baar ki
saza hai intishaar ki, saza hai intishaar ki, saza hai intishaar ki