The 15 great comedians of Pakistani film, TV and stage
LAHORE: Iconic compare, actor and comedian Moin Akhtar now joins the list of at least 15 Pakistani silver screen, television and stage humourists, who have left for their heavenly abodes during the last five decades or so, leaving behind millions of fans to mourn their untimely demises.
Since the death of eminent comedian Zareef in October 1960, Pakistan’s showbiz industry has lost numerous celebrated artists whose wit, humour and subtle jokes had brought immediate smiles on the faces of their compatriots.
After Zareef, comedian Zulfi made his mark and won many a heart too. He died during the production of film “Perdes” at London on September 11, 1969. Zulfi played a lot of minor roles along with the likes of Rangeela and Munawwar Zareef.
Zareef’s younger brother, Munawwar Zareef, widely acknowledged as the Comedy King of Pakistan, ruled the roost till his untimely demise about 35 years ago on April 29, 1976 in Lahore.
Known for his punch lines, spontaneity and timing of his dialogues, Munawwar Zareef was the highest paid film actor of his time and the extent of his fame and popularity among the masses could be gauged from the fact that dozens of thousands of people from all walks of life had attended his funeral.
Munawwar Zareef appeared in many mega hits and blockbuster like Heer Ranjha, Banarsi Thug, Shareef Badmash, Bao ji, Zidii, Khushya, Jeera Blade, Naukar Wohti Da and Anjam etc during his illustrious career.
Syed Muzaffar Husain Zaidi alias Nirala’s superb performances in films Armaan, Aur bhi gham hain and Choroan Ka Badshah are still remembered by cine-goers for the laughter studded in them.
Nirala started his professional career as a comedian actor in the film industry in 1960 and became so popular that he was invited at private parties, social get-togethers and stage shows around the country to perform.
Nirala died on December 9, 1985 in Karachi.
The evergreen Rafi Khawar alias Nanna committed suicide on June 2, 1986 in Lahore. Although his first Urdu film Watan ka Sipahi was released in 1966, Nanna got a breakthrough from film Noukar in 1975. His pair with Ali Ejaz was admired since the release of film Insaniyat in 1967. He was regarded as an exceptional comedy talent and people throughout the country still remember his hit serial “Alif NoonÂ” with Kamal Ahmed Rizvi for a very long time.
Syed Sher Khan alias Saleem Nasir was a Pashto speaking Pakhtoon who was a fluent in Urdu productions. Adept in artistic skills, Saleem Nasir published his own entertainment magazine “TV Tempo” and was the driving force behind another one called Â“TV Times.”Having enjoyed a successful career with Defence Housing Authority KarachiÂ’s Public Relations Department, television viewers still cherish the memories of Saleem’s roles in super-hit television serials like Angan Terha, Dastak, Akhri Chatan and UnKahi etc
The extremely versatile Saleem Nasir died very young at 44 on October 19, 1989. Comedian Abid Khan was a very popular stage artist, who also showed his unmatched talent in a number of television serials and films.
Having had an extensive fan base both in Pakistan and abroad, Abid Khan passed away in 2000 while on a pilgrimage at Hazrat Bari ImamÂ’s shrine in Islamabad. Decorated radio/television host and announcer Professor Dildar Pervaiz Bhatti perished of a heart attack in New York after a performance on October 30, 1994. His famous television shows include Takra, Yadish Bakhair and Mela etc.
Renowned TV artist Latif Kapadia died of cardio-respiratory arrest in Karachi on March 28, 2002. He had gained immense fame from the once most watched Pakistani television programmes “Fifty-Fifty.” Kapadia was known for his controlled and cultivated humour.
Legendary Punjabi stage comedian Shauqi Khan died in a car accident in February 2003, while he was on his way from Lahore to the neighbouring town of Kasur. He had won a lot of eminence through his comedy audiocassettes, more than 300 in fact. The refreshing and witty comedian Akhtar Hussain alias Albela died of a heart failure in Lahore on July 16, 2004. Although he performed in movies like Wardatia, Badnam, Yaar Maar, Ishq Nachawe Gali Gali, Allah Ditta, International Lutairey and Abdullah the Great etc, his magnificent theatre shows had actually won him most public applause.
Saeed Khan alias Rangeela died on May 24, 2005 at Lahore. Having appeared in more than 550 films, Rangeela was a body-builder, painter, actor, hero, comedian, producer, director, writer, singer, distributor and a composer–all at the same time.
Rangeela made his debut in a 1958 Punjabi film called ‘Jatti’ and never looked back since. His classics include Punjabi film Chooriyan, Badnaam, golden jubilee Urdu film Humrahi, Sawaal, Bharia mela and Lado etc.
Distinguished comedian Jamshed Ansari breathed his last on August 24, 2005 at Karachi. He was famous for playing characters like Â“Hasnat Bhai” and “Uncle Urfi” in television serials. Jamshed had also acted in a few films. Punjab’s comedy sensations Babbu Baral and Mastana have recently passed away this month in quick succession, leaving a huge void to be filled.
A lot has already been written about the way they had transformed the once dying theatre industry and the instrumental role they had played in helping this medium regain its lost audience.
Source: The News