His name is mostly associated with column writing but Muneer Ahmed Qureshi or ‘Munnu Bhai’, as he is better known as, has put on paper a few of the most remembered and revered drama serials in Pakistani television history. He has been one of the most outstanding and consistent writers in Pakistan. Born in the British Indian subcontinent in Wazirabad, Punjab, he finished his schooling from the Government College Attock. Initially he worked as a translator for an Urdu newspaper but eventually developed into a playwright and dramatist with exceptional capacity and skills. He devoted most of his pen and ink to PTV.
‘Sona Chandi’ is his most famous drama serial up to date and has won him much praise for his talented writing. A story about a village couple who moves to the city to earn money and attain a better standard of life, it is still etched into the minds of its viewers for its well-built and well executed plot as well as its humorous story line. He also ventured into long plays, producing immensely entertaining plays such as ‘Gumshuda’ and ‘Khubsurat’ which were well received by the audience and drew favorable comments from the critics. He also inked down another renowned drama serial ‘Ashiyaana’ which was characterized by its buoyant and optimistic plot as well as for highlighting family values. His drama serial ‘Dasht’ was another one of his brilliant works and portrayed the life style, cultural traditions as well as the backwardness of the Balochi tribes based in Gwadar.
POET AND COLUMNIST
Munnu Bhai is an immensely multi-talented man. As well as being a playwright and dramatist, his Punjabi poetry is considered as one of the best works in recent Punjabi literature and poetry. A regular columnist for the Daily Jang, Munnu Bhai is considered to be among the elite of Pakistan’s best and brightest columnists. He is loyal to the Pakistan’s People Party and his columns speaks volumes for the poor and suffering of the country. He is also of the chaperon of the Sundas Foundation.
Some actors leave their mark on the minds of the viewers. Those who watched the greatest and popular Pakistani drama serial Waris in the late 70s or early 80s cannot forget the character of Chaudry Hashmat played by famous TV actor of Pakistan Mehboob Alam. The character was that of a feudal lord and itself was quite strong in fact it was the central character around which the whole play revolved and Mehboob Alam’s powerful performance etched it deep into the minds of the viewers. Although he was quite young but he carried the character of a sixty year old man with ease and looked pretty intimidating on the screen.
Mehboob Alam was a versatile actor, he belonged to that creed of naturally gifted actors who had not received any training in acting and learnt through observation. Experience honed his talents and he later on he gave outstanding performances but none of them could be compared to Chaudry Hashmat. He played all the characters young and old with ease; his other memorable Pakistani TV plays are Fishaar, Piyas and Samandar. He also acted in Andhera Ujala. Mehboob Alam tried his luck in films as well but could not adjust due to the vast difference in the work style and environment.
Mehboob Alam was in his early fifties when he passed away on 18th March 1994
Famous TV actress of Pakistan Laila Zuberi is one of the prettiest faces to grace the TV screen. Born and bred in Karachi, the world of sound and lights was not new to her as she had earlier participated in radio programs as a child star. Although she had previously worked in a play named Omar Marvi, Laila shot to fame with her performance as “Aabroo” in the drama serial “Chaoon” by Kazim Pasha. The drama was aired by Karachi center in 1985. People were literally mesmerized by her beauty, grace and poise. Since then Laila has worked in many plays and her work has been appreciated by all especially her role as Khak Jah; a beggar girl who picks garbage. Incidentally this role is also Laila’s favorite.
The green eyed beauty also received many offers from the film industry but she turned them down as in her opinion Pakistani film industry lacks professionalism. Laila enjoys working in Karachi and Lahore as she finds people here more professional and committed to work. In Laila’s opinion the youth of Pakistan are very talented and full of potential and their zeal and the experience of seniors has led to the success of the private channels. Entering showbiz was not easy for her as she faced a lot of opposition especially from her in-laws. Her husband however fully supported her; the couple has two daughters and currently resides in Islamabad.
Laila started her production house in 1999 and has been fairly successful at production. She is also an active social worker and even through her plays tries to give message to the youth. Her play “Zindagi” from PTV was an effort to create awareness about drugs and narcotics among the youth. Laila is also the chairperson of Pakistan Red Crescent and is currently the First Aid Ambassador. Laila is a committed social worker and has brought many women related issues such as dowry issue, reproductive health issue etc to the attention of the authorities and the people.