Puppeteer, newspaper columnist, scriptwriter and television director Farooq Qaiser passed away due to a cardiac arrest on Friday, May 14. The man behind the hugely-popular character Uncle Sargam, breathed his last at 75 years of age. The news was confirmed to Express News by his grandson on Friday night. Qaiser started working for PTV in 1976, going on to create shows that became childhood staples for those growing up during the 80s, 90s and early-2000s. Some of his most popular TV titles include Kaliyan, Sargam Time, and Putli Tamasha.
Born on October 31 1945 in Lahore, Qaiser attained his undergraduate degree from the National College of Arts (NCA). He went on to receive two postgraduate degrees, one in the graphic arts, and the other in mass communication from Romania and the United States, respectively. His puppet alias Uncle Sargam made its television debut in 1976, starring in the hit children’s show Kaliyan. With the credit of writing over 30 plays, among several other projects, to his name, Qaiser received the Pride of Performance award from the Government of Pakistan in 1993.
In a recent online appearance for a Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) event, the late artist spoke of how Pakistan is the only country he would ever work in, especially with the zeal and fervour he possessed. His passing shocked entertainment stars and his fans across the nation, with several members of the television and film fraternity coming forward with expressions of grief and messages of condolences for Qaiser’s family.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting termed Qaiser’s demise “a huge loss to Pakistan’s entertainment industry. Popular singer Adnan Sami Khan took to Twitter to express his grief over the artist’s death. He posted, “I am extremely shocked and saddened by the tragic news that my dear friend the legendary Farooq Qaiser is no more. I knew him for 40 years! We even worked together. What an enormous talent and an incredible soul. So long ‘Uncle Sargam.”
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting expresses deep condolences on the sad demise of Farooq Qaiser, the veteran artist of Pakistani television and the creator of popular puppet character #UncleSargam. It is, undoubtedly, a huge loss to Pakistan's entertainment industry. pic.twitter.com/GzJ1qiusfp— Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (@MoIB_Official) May 14, 2021
I am extremely shocked & saddened by the tragic news that my dear friend the legendary Farooq Qaiser bhai is no more… I knew him for 40 yrs! We even worked together. What an enormous talent & an incredible soul. So long ‘Uncle Sargam’.— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) May 14, 2021
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون pic.twitter.com/OYj1Vs1FkP
Chupke Chupke actor Osman Khalid Butt tweeted about Qaiser, speaking about how the artist made our childhoods special. “Really saddened to hear of the passing of Farooq Qaiser,” said the actor. Actor Faysal Qureshi also tweeted in response to Qaiser’s passing. He tweeted, “The creator of the famous puppet character ‘Uncle Sargam’ Farooq Qaiser has passed away.”
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un.— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) May 14, 2021
Really saddened to hear of the passing of Farooq Qaiser.
Thank you for making our childhoods special.
Rest in peace, sir.
مشہور پپٹ کردار انکل سرگم کے خالق فاروق قیصر انتقال کر گۓ ہیں— Faysal Quraishi (@faysalquraishi) May 14, 2021
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ pic.twitter.com/hq0IlThniw
Singer Ali Zafar mourned the loss of one of Pakistan TV’s finest in a tweet after the news of Qaiser’s death broke out. He wrote, “One of the most inspiring human beings I knew. A writer and artist that I had the privilege to meet at the President’s award ceremony just recently. Even sitting on his chair, he seemed taller than the rest with a look of eternal love and respect in his eyes. RIP #FarooqQaiser.”
One of the most inspiring human beings I knew. A writer/artist that I had the privilege to meet at the President’s award ceremony just recently. Even sitting on his chair, he seemed taller than the rest with a look of eternal love and respect in his eyes. R.I.P #FarooqQaiser 💔 pic.twitter.com/jahO5bsdLI— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) May 14, 2021
Adnan Siddiqui was heartbroken too. The Meray Paas Tum Ho actor said, “Alvida, Uncle Sargam. You won hearts of children and adults alike. Your remarkable satire to speak about social issues will be missed. #FarooqQaiser, may you be in peace.” Actor Shaan Shahid followed suit with a message highlighting the integral part Qaiser played in the childhoods of so many Pakistanis. He said, “RIP Farooq Sahab. We owe our childhood laughters to your craft, indeed you will be missed sir. Our entire generation saw you through your characters and will never forget you. May Allah bless you and grant you a place in heaven.”
Alvida, Uncle Sargam. You won hearts of children and adults alike. Your remarkable satire to speak about social issues will be missed. #FarooqQaiser, may you be in peace. https://t.co/SZt6pJXRRk pic.twitter.com/vps372W29d— Adnan Siddiqui (@adnanactor) May 14, 2021
R I P ♥️🙏🏼 Farooq Sb we owe our childhood laughters to your craft .. indeed you will be missed sir. Our entire generation saw you through your characters and will never forget you♥️🙏🏼🇵🇰⭐️may ALLAH bless you and grant you a place in heaven ..♥️🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/cb0i9jY4Hb— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) May 14, 2021