Moin Akhtar passes away

Dawn News

Iconic comedian Moin Akhtar passes away

KARACHI: He was a comedian par excellence, but his last act left an entire nation in tears. Iconic comedian and actor Moin Akhtar died of a heart attack on Friday.

He was 60. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and three sons.

Born in 1950, Moin Akhtar joined show business in the ’60s as a comedian. His remarkable impersonations and rib-tickling skits earned him recognition in no time. But it was in the ’70s that Moin Akhtar’s appearance on the Zia Mohyeddin Show as a standup act catapulted him to national fame.

This writer still remembers as a child listening to an audiocassette, which sold like hot cakes in the ’70s, in which Moin Akhtar presented a series of impersonations and sound-effects, along with a humorous sketch of a villager who tries to copy an urbanite and in the process behaves like a nincompoop.

The fame was soon followed by critical acclaim when Moin Akhtar joined hands with humourist Anwar Maqsood and did a host of shows with him.

Beginning with an episode of Angan Terha in which Moin Akhtar played the role of a poet looking for a place to live, the duo came up with one gem after another.

The combination resulted in classics like Studio 2½ and Studio Poney Teen in which Moin Akhtar did the part of one of the interviewees and Anwar Maqsood the interviewer.

Akhtar’s zany but meaningful answers to Anwar Maqsood’s ostensibly innocuous questions created a magic the kind of which was never witnessed on Pakistani television. Comedienne Bushra Ansari also became part of their group and they did some memorable shows together.

Moin Akhtar didn’t confine his talent to comedy acts. He proved his versatility by playing the protagonist in a long-play Rozy written by Imran Aslam and directed by Sahira Kazmi.

Moin Akhtar did the part of a man who assumes the garb of a woman in order to find employment. His performance was not only appreciated in Pakistan but even across the border it earned him a great many fans. Rozy was an adaptation of a successful Hollywood film Tootsie.

On his inevitable comparison with Tootsie’s star Dustin Hoffman, Moin Akhtar often claimed that he never saw the film until after he’d done the play.

The late actor’s another outstanding performance was witnessed in a play Half Plate, written by Anwar Maqsood and directed by Mohsin Ali.

He portrayed the personality of a self-obsessed poet who had a past (and a nagging wife) that he seldom liked to remember. The acting was right out of the top drawer and intelligently complemented the script.

Moin Akhtar and Anwar Maqsood’s duo had become so inseparable that even after the advent of satellite TV they were asked by different channels to work together.

Their last show as the writer-actor combo was Loose Talk which ran for many years and Moin Akhtar assumed hundreds of characters in it.

These days a drama serial featuring Moin Akhtar as the main character is on air on a local private channel.

Apart from a worthy body of work on television, Moin Akhtar acted in a few films, including Tum Sa Nahin Dekha and Mr Tabedar. His theatre performances alongside Umar Sharif in stage dramas like Buddha Ghar Pe Hai were also a commercial success.

In recognition of his talent and work the government had bestowed on Moin Akhtar the Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Pride of Performance award.

The actor’s namaz-i-janaza will be held on Saturday after Zohr at Masjid-i-Toheed in DHA Phase II, Malir Cantt.


Express Tribune

Moin Akhtar: The greatest lost to laughter

Karachi:“Everything I did is a part of history now. To live with history is difficult but there will be people, who will say one day, there was a man who did it and did it so differently.” Those were the last words of the legendary Moin Akhtar, as recorded in an interview with The Express Tribune , before he left the world’s stage – to a standing ovation awaiting his final bow. The iconic comedian died of coronary failure in Karachi on Friday. He was 61.

Master parodist and king of Urdu comedy, the man of a million characters but one identity and that of a true showman, Moin Akhtar was someone who could bring a smile to your face no matter how bad your circumstances.

Born on December 24, 1950, Akhtar managed to achieve in the six dynamic decades of his life all one could imagine in such a small time span. He started off as a stand-up comedian in 1966-67 by impersonating Hollywood actor Anthony Quinn and John F Kennedy’s speech in which he also mimicked the voice of the former president. Akhtar was more than just a class act and that is why at a young age of 13, he played the character of Shylock in Shakespeare’sThe Merchant of Venice.

Be it theatre, TV, film, stand-up comedy, hosting and even singing Moin was the master of all crafts. It was his love for art and dedication to acting that made him famous not just within Pakistan but also across the border and the Middle East.

His plays like “Bakra Qiston pae “ and “Buddha Ghar Pae Hae” which he performed alongside Umer Sharif are still watched across the world on DVDs and YouTube.

He had already won wide acclaim following his regular appearances on Pakistan Television. He rendered several memorable performances alongside Anwar Maqsood and Bushra Ansari and is acknowledged as a pioneer, giving comedy in Pakistan a new look and direction.

Sach Much, Makan No 47, Half Plate, Rozy, Eid Train and Bandar Road sae Keamari are just some of the highlights of his career with PTV. His character of Rozy which was a series based on an adaptation of the Hollywood classic Tootsie brought his great acting talents on the mainstream, as some considered his performance equal or even better than Dustin Hoffman’s.

In his long-running show Loose Talk, Akhtar played more than 400 different characters in as many episodes and engaged in banter with Anwar Maqsood, who somehow managed to get the best out of him.

Akhtar was a proud recipient of the Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Pride of Performance but apart from that he hosted shows involving major dignitaries and has performed on stage alongside the likes of Indian legends Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshker and Madhuri Dixit to name a few.

However, the loss is felt by everyone and no one is more aggrieved other than his fellows, seniors and juniors.

“With Moin Akhtar ends an era of outclass mimicry , he was the best impersonator of Pakistan and he is more than just a great loss to performing arts in Pakistan. He was a great person with the ability of creating wonders” Veteran TV and theatre artist Talat Hussain said.

Celebrated comedian Umar Sharif considered Moin Akhtar his elder brother and his teacher. “I was planning to gather all the comedians in Pakistan to give a tribute to him, God had planned otherwise,” Sharif told The Express Tribune Senior artists like Rahat Kazmi are equally shocked by the loss. “ If a person can play over 250 characters in 250 different episodes of a TV show than the person is capable of doing anything, it is pointless to say that he left big shoes to fill, he is irreplaceable,” Kazmi told The Express Tribune.

“He was the epitome of comedy in Pakistan and in a class of his own. We are lucky as Pakistanis to be able to call him our own,” Samina Ahmed, a senior TV actress told The Express Tribune.

Behroze Sabzwari felt that the gap would never be filled. “We cannot imagine a TV or a stage without him but sadly now we have to accept this loss” Sabzwari said.

“He polished Pakistani comedy and brought finesse to it,” said actress Sania Saeed.

The younger lot of media professionals believe that they have lost an icon and a guiding light. “I cannot imagine a Pakistan without him, his images and words are etched in our memories and shall remain forever” Azfar Ali, a TV director told The Express Tribune.

People like Javed Akhtar and Daler Mehndi from India also expressed their sorrow over the loss. Before his sad departure, Akhtar was planning to write a book about his experiences with foreign diplomats and Indian stars whom he had met and had had the privilege of performing with over the course of his career.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2011.


The News

Pakistan’s pride Moin Akhtar passes away

KARACHI: Moin Akhtar, the legendary artist of television, stage and film passed away after having a heart attack here on Friday.

Moin Akhtar, 61, was taken to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) where he breathed his last during treatment, Geo News reported.

Moin Akhtar was a television, film and stage actor, as well as a comedian, impersonator, and a host. He was also a play writer, singer, film director and a producer.

A highly dynamic and versatile performer from Karachi, Moin Akhtar made his debut appearance on PTV on 6 September 1966, in a variety show telecast on the occasion of the first defense day of Pakistan. Since then, he had performed numerous roles in TV plays/shows and later teamed up with Anwar Maqsood and Bushra Ansari to get an overwhelming public applause.

Whether on the stage or on the screen, Moin Akhtar was one of the most sought after actors in Pakistani entertainment industry. His apparent attempts to avoid vulgar in his humor has rendered him a favorite amongst family audiences.

He is an inspiration for the generations to come and is one of the few that stands out so distinguishably. Akhtar was fluent in several languages, including English, Bengali, Sindhi, Punjabi, Memon, Pushto, Gujarati and others, while in the Urdu-speaking world, he is beloved for providing humor for people of all ages, and with an etiquette that remains unmatched.

He has a following not only in Pakistan but on the other side of the border, India, too due to the stage shows, Bakra Qiston Pe and Buddha Ghar Pe Hai with Umer Sharif. It would not be wrong to say that his ardent fans are spread all around the globe.

Moin Akhtar rose to the national spotlight and gathered critical acclaim for his performance in the drama Rosy /Rozy, in which he played the role of a female TV artist. Rozy was an Urdu adaptation of Hollywood movie Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman.

Moreover, in a talk-show namely Loose Talk, which began in 2005 on a private television channel, he has appeared as a different disguised guest who is interviewed by Anwar Maqsood, the writer and the host of the program. Loose Talk ended after over 400 episodes, each seen with Moin disguised as a different personality.


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