Remembering Pakistan’s most versatile comedian, Moin Akhtar
By Shahjahan Khurram
Nothing could keep you glued to your seats and bundle you up with laughter like Moin Akhtar could. Actor, comedian, host, singer, parodist and stage artist, Moin Akhtar was all meshed into one. Pakistan’s most beloved comedian breathed his last on April 22nd 2011 and his shoes remain unfilled even four years later.
Moin Akhtar started out early on as a stand up comedian, when he famously mimicked then Hollywood A-list actor Anthony Quinn and John F. Kennedy’s speech. The precision and articulation with which Akhtar managed to pull off the parodies, earned him recognition among the masses. After impressing audiences as a stand-up comedian, Moin ventured into live theater acts such as Bakra Qiston Pe and Buddha Ghar Pe Hai. These two plays went on to become popular hits and garnered acclaim as it featured Akhtar with Umar Sharif.
Moin Akhtar was the architect behind many interesting and captivating on-screen roles. His plays Bandar Road Se Kaemari tak, Rozy, Half Plate and Makan No.47 also featured stellar acting and prominent character-portrayals. It was, however, Loose Talk which is most fondly remembered as a show that captured the genius of Moin Akhtar for the world to see. ARY Digital’s Loose Talk became prominent and a fan favorite not only in Pakistan but in India as well. Penned by prolific scriptwriter Anwar Maqsood, Moin Akhtar delivered dialogues with on-point accuracy and parodied a multitude of personalities with unmatched finesse. In what has been cited as proof of his unrivaled skill as a parodist, Moin Akhtar played over 400 different characters in as much episodes of Loose Talk, a feat which left contemporary comedians and actors dumbfounded.
Moin Akhtar was a celebrated artist of his time and belonged in a league of his own. An artist ahead of his time, Akhtar was a unique phenomena who was often credited for being the pioneer of comedy in Pakistan. As a showman, he had no equal and as an artist, he was protean. His spontaneous humor coupled with astute showman skills made him the crowd puller he was. Moin Akhtar was the pride of Pakistan and still continues to be. Moin may be gone but his work continues to entertain and jostle us with laughter till today. His immense success also helped establish and propel Bushra Ansari, Umar Sharif, Behroz Sabzwari and Anwar Maqsood into superstars as well.
Pakistan has had her share of many talented comedians who have even enthralled comedians at the international stage. Yet, when it comes to Moin Akhtar, none can rival the undisputed king of Pakistani comedy.