It’s a sunny Friday morning; I am sitting in the veranda of one of Pakistan’s famous writers Anwar Maqsood. And there is only one thing on his mind — comedian Moin Akhtar. Having been a full year since the comedic legend’s passing, it seems the nation, especially his close friends and colleagues, have still not gotten over this immense loss.
Talking about their friendship over the years, Maqsood said, “It was a relationship that spanned 38 years and was primarily based on scripted words.” Having interacted with Akhtar on-screen as well as off-screen over the last few decades, Maqsood added that Akhtar’s brilliance wasn’t limited to his reel life only as he was an even better human being. He helped several people financially and assisted many in securing employment.
Maqsood added that although the comedian appeared in various satirical shows, he wasn’t a big fan of criticising the government. “Akhtar was a man who would never say a word against the army rule nor against any of the civilian governments. He would be highly disappointed if he was told to act such a script on air. He would often leave the sets if he found the script too critical of the regime of the time and would request me to change it.” Regarding script changes and alterations, Maqsood added, “Whatever I have ever written for Akhtar and Bushra Ansari, they have never toyed with it on screen.”
Love for life
Maqsood also recalled Akhtar’s love for life. “Akhtar was very fond of dressing up and would love to see himself in front of a mirror. He had his own signature style.” Besides dressing up, he also enjoyed good food. “Even if Akhtar had eaten something half an hour back, he would never miss a chance to have something delicious again.”
On the future of Pakistani entertainment and showbiz industry, Maqsood said, “Although there is plenty of talent in the country, there is still no structured road ahead and no clear path to follow. Akhtar has already left us and soon it will be my time. So it’s best that young people come forward now and replace us.”
Mansoor Akhtar recalls his legendary father
Mansoor Akhtar, the legendary comedian Moin Akhtar’s son, spoke to The Express Tribune about his father and his upbringing over the years. Mansoor says that while Akhtar was known to make everyone smile and laugh on television, he was a stern father at home, especially during Mansoor’s childhood years. “He was so strict with us that sometimes when we wanted to talk to him, we would actually write him letters. In response, he would also write back to us and give us advice and suggestions,” said Mansoor.
Regarding their father-son bond, the younger Akhtar said that he grew closer to his father in the year 1996 when he was planning on going to the US for further studies. Once he left in 1997, their bond strengthened and it was only on his father’s insistence that he returned to Pakistan.
Considering that Akhtar was a household name in the industry, it’s surprising to see that his children did not grow up with a sense of entitlement. He inclulcated the values of humility and modesty in his children. Although they have great pride in being Akhtar’s children, they don’t display vanity or claim material things of this world in their father’s name.
On his father being fondly remembered to this day, Mansoor said, “The Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan has already inaugurated a park in my father’s name. I have even heard about a road that has been named after him, which is somewhere in the Site area of Karachi. We are indebted to everyone who has cherished his memory and would like to thank them. At the same time, we wish that everyone remember him in their prayers and that his soul finds peace in Jannatul Firdous.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2012.