LAHORE: The fifth death anniversary of legendary Pakistani stage artist Murtaza Hassan went unnoticed, with no ceremony or programme being held to commemorate his services to the craft. The actor – who became known by the name of Mastana — passed away five years ago on April 11 due to complications resulting from hepatitis C. He was 57 years old.
Nonetheless, the late actor remains one of the few who acquired so much fame as soon as he came to the forefront. His friends and co-workers still miss him and believe that Mastana had a key role to play in the flourishing of theatre in Pakistan. Speaking with The Express Tribune, stage actor Hina Shaheen said, “Mastana was a great actor and a good human being. He was known as the king of stage. Any city we would perform in, there would always be Mastana fans there.” Shaheen went on to say that it is tragic that his services to the industry have been forgotten. “I think current theatre groups and culture enthusiasts should organise programmes to appreciate Mastana’s work,” she added. Similarly, actor Sheeba Butt also sang praises for the actor. “Undoubtedly, his was a time when commercial theatre picked up and we all saw a great time,” she shared.
A native of Gujranwala, Mastana launched his acting career from regional theatre and went on to star in different TV projects. Out of these, his most beloved role remains that of Uncle Q in the TV play Shab Daig. For Mastana, death came at a time when his popularity as a thespian was at its peak. He left behind a career spanning 40 years and nearly 2,000 stage plays, including hits such as Shararti Kuriyaan and Shartiya Mithay. During his time, Mastana worked with an impressive roster of industry big wigs, namely Aman Ullah Khan, Khalid Abbas Dar, Sohail Ahmad, Sardar Kamal, Babu Baral, Sheeba Butt, Tariq Taddi and Naseem Vicky.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2016.
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