It was as if the world was waiting for them with bated breath. Fewer pairs in the history of the sub-continental cinema have awakened such interest and curiosity as Waheed Murad and Zeba. She was senior to him and had worked with all top heroes of her time, being cast together with Sudhir (Baghi Sipahi) Darpan (Jab Se Dekha Hai Tumhein), Kamal (Tauba and Ashiana), Mohammed Ali (Head Constable) and Ratan Kumar (Sameera), before she got a chance to star opposite Waheed in Parvez Malik’s Heera Aur Patthar, in 1964. She had more experience, but when they met on the set of Heera Aur Patthar, it was instant magic. Waheed was a happy-go-lucky Youngman, fresh out of college, with high ideals, and Zeba full of zest and jest, was also blessed with poise on the screen. They exchanged couplets, dialogue, jokes, anecdotes, what not, and become friends within a few minutes of their mulaqat. Therefore, it took Parvez Malik to suggest this pair.
Before Heera Aur Patthar, or even after that, other producers and directors did not have the insight to realize their compatibility. Even after H aur P succeeded, Waheed was busy working with unequal screen partners like Naghma (Mamta), Bahar (Doctor) and Sabra Sultana (Bahu Begum). Only S.M Yousuf cast Waheed with Zeba in Eid Mubarak, in 1965, which was immensely appreciated. But Armaan, in 1966, just changed the screen scope of the Pakistani cinema. The first Platinum Jubilee hit proved that the two merged incredibly. Specially, that last scene of Arman, where they rush into each other’s arms on the popular strains of Sohail Rana, Akeley Na Jana, was the talk of the town. They were stars of the decade within the 1st day of the release, and people talked about them as eternal lovers. When they were happy on the screen, the audience felt they were happy off-screen too. When Waheed had a frown on his face in Ehsan, for a scene, where Zeba, a widow did not wear his gift, the cine goers felt the lovers’ tiff crosses over to the real life.
Insaniyat, which portrayed parted lovers, Zeba married to a chronic patient (not figuratively) Tariq Aziz and Waheed forced by circumstances to treat him, left a big impression on the people’s minds because Waheed dies in the tragic film. Ehsan and Rishta Hai Pyar Ka were their last pictures together, as Mohammed Ali had proposed to Zeba and they got married. In Kaneez and Jaag Utha Insan, Ali, Zeba and Waheed picturised scenes side by side, and it was a known fact that Mohammed Ali had proposed to Zeba during the making of Kaneez, where, by the way, Waheed did the lead. In an emotional scene, when Waheed slaps Mohammed Ali, the audience clapped for the hero. Immediately after marriage, Ali and Zeba launched Aag, while Waheed changed the leading lady in Doraha, and picked Shamim Ara.
Only close circles of Waheed know that Shamim Ara was just a replacement. All the dialogue and songs were for Zeba. Bhooli huee hoon dastan was an echo of the sad heart. And Haan isse morr par/ iss jagah baith kar tum ne wadah kiya tha sath do gey zindagi bhar/ chorr kar tum na jaoge haan issi mor par… what it meant just doesn’t need words to convey.