The entertainment industry of Pakistan was dealt a heavy blow when veteran film and TV actor Rasheed Naz passed away after a protracted illness. The 73-year-old was associated with TV and films since 1971 and completed his fifty years in the industry last year. Unlike his contemporaries, he didn’t limit himself just to Pakistan Television, (PTV) the mother institution, and explored all avenues in his later years.
Born on 9th September 1948 in Peshawar, Rasheed Naz began his career in his early 20s from regional plays that were aired on PTV in those days. While he was quite proficient in both Pashto and Hindko, Rasheed Naz became a household name after his first Urdu play Aik Tha Gaon in 1973. After that, there was no looking back for the actor who kept on discovering himself with the passage of time.
After being part of the PTV Peshawar Centre, he decided to explore the private sector that began productions through Network Television Marketing (NTM), the ‘other’ channel that aired on Shalimar Television Network. He was part of Dasht as well as Doosra Asmaan, both high-budgeted dramas that heralded the era of private productions in the country.
He didn’t stop there and continued to work on PTV as well, having over 250 TV plays to his credit. When director Nusrat Thakur decided to cast the best PTV actors from all centers for his magnum-opus Ghulam Gardish, he went for Rasheed Naz who didn’t disappoint with his graceful performance. He continued to act on TV and was part of many hit dramas including Dayar-e-Dil, Pinjra, Khuda Zameen Se Gaya Nahi, Apne Huway Paraye, and Deedan to name a few.
His manly vocals and facial expressions which made him a popular senior actor in the 1990s was the main reason why he was chosen as Shahenshah Akbar in Shoaib Mansoor’s Supreme Ishq video. Actress Iman Ali had to give her best to match the Zille Ilahi which she did, but even after more than 15 years, the video is still remembered for the veteran actor’s performance.
No one was surprised when Shoaib Mansoor cast Rasheed Naz as the main antagonist in his debut flick Khuda Ke Liye where he played a religious man with an ulterior motive. In the scene where he explains the meaning of Billo Te Ghar song to his pupil played by Fawad Khan, he not only made everyone laugh but also showed the ‘other’ side of people posing as moulvis. Senior actors Naeem Tahir, Seemi Raheel, Shaan Shahid, and Ayub Khosa were there but the only person who was able to match his charisma was Bollywood legend Naseeruddin Shah, who himself played a moulvi, a relatively sensible one.
KKL was however not Rasheed Naz’s only foray into films; before that, he had debuted in both a Pashto flick and an Urdu one, named Zama Jang in 1988, and Dakait in 2001. He was also part of the ensemble cast of the British film Kandahar Break where he shared the screen with actors from Pakistan and England and played the integral role of Ashiq Khan.
Hameed Sheikh, who worked with Rasheed Naz in not one but two films, recalls the good times he had with the veteran actor. ‘Rasheed Naz Sahab was one of the finest actors and human beings I have worked with throughout my career. He loved being on the set where he imparted his knowledge to others and shared his experience without ever thinking about his seniority. I had the privilege of working with him in Khuda Ke Liye and Kandahar Break, and both the films had an international cast. He loved being around those who wanted to learn from him, and I will always cherish the time I spent with him.’
Rasheed Naz’s second foray into international cinema led him to Bollywood, where he was at his menacing best. In Baby (2015), the combined might of Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, and Rana Daggubati was not able to match his antics, both on-screen and off-screen. He played the very terrorist who had India on his knees, and it was to capture him that an elite force led by Akshay Kumar’s character was sent abroad. The film also allowed Rasheed Naz’s son Hasan Noman to feature in the same project, although they hardly had any scene together. Popular actor Mikaal Zulfiqar was also part of the movie which was banned in Pakistan for it had some objectionable dialogues against the country.
Actor Sami Khan, who has had the honor of working with Rasheed Naz feels he was not just a great actor but a very down-to-earth person who treated everyone equally.
‘I had worked with Rasheed Naz Sahab in a couple of TV dramas and it was great working with him. Not only was he a great actor but he had a towering presence. With him around, we always knew that the scene no matter how difficult would be easy to do since he knew his craft well and always helped others. Such actors are born once in a few years and I feel that it will take decades before the vacuum his death has created will be filled.’
He was back at his ‘worst’ as the cunning lawyer in Shoaib Mansoor’s Verna who defended his client and acquitted him from rape charges, prompting the victim (Mahira Khan) and her family to launch an attack against the rapist. Although the film didn’t do well at the box office because of its bold topic, Rasheed Naz was one of the highlights of the movie.
The veteran actor was also there in an important role in Parwaaz Hai Junoon, Pari, and Lahore Se Aagay where he impressed all with his diversity and brilliance. Before old age and illness took their toll on him, and he had to cut down his workload, he was active both on TV and in films. Some of his films including Dhai Chaal are still pending a release, and his fans are hopeful that they would be able to get a glimpse of their favorite actor and have a chance to bid him farewell, properly.
Whats They Said
Another big jolt to our industry. Rasheed Naz Sahib leaves behind an impressive legacy of work. You will always be remembered as a brilliant actor. May Allah grant you highest place in Jannah. Aameen.
Saddened to learn about Rashid Naz sb’s passing. He was not just a fantastic performer but also a thorough gentleman. May Allah bless his soul. Deepest condolences to his loved ones
What a sad day to have lost a brilliant actor & wonderful human being.. Inna lillahe waina illehe rajaoon May his soul rest in peace Ameen. Had the privilege of working with him. Huge loss
So long #RasheedNaz sir the world will miss you
Inna lillah wa inna eleyhe rajioon ❤️ such a wonderful happy soul! May Allah bless him to be among his closest ones InshaAllah
You were blessed to have him in your life and we were blessed to have him in our fraternity…..may Allah Ta’ala grant him maghfirat & raise his rank in jannat ul firdaus. Aameen! Love & duaas for you & the family…..may you find peace in his memories ❤
💔 verily all come from Him and to Him all must return. You guys gave him loads of love and served him til the last. May Allah ease your pain and bless you.
Ali Rehman Khan
Extremely sad to hear of Rasheed Naz Saabs passing. He was an incredible actor who embodied every role he took on flawlessly. Always smiling, always a source of positivity, he was a master at his art and it was a treat to watch him work. Above all, he was extremely kind, humble and a caring human being. He was always patient with me, showed me immense respect even though I was a junior and always gave me uplifting advice when I felt lost. The industry and Pakistan at whole has lost another legend. I am fortunate enough to have had the honour to work alongside him. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah and give his family the strength to cope with this loss. Ameen.
Inna lillah wa Inna elehe rajioon. My deepest sympathy. May Allah grant him jannat . May you get through this difficult time through prayers and the comfort of family and friends. Allah maghferat farmaey.