Recalling comic prodigy: Sikander Sanam

Published: November 6, 2012
One of Sanam’s major achievements before his ailment was participation in the “Great Indian Laughter Challenge 4”. PHOTO: FILE

One of Sanam’s major achievements before his ailment was participation in the “Great Indian Laughter Challenge 4”. PHOTO: FILE


Belonging to a family of artists, Sikander Sanam, who started his career as Muhammad Sikander, always found inspiration in his late father Syed Abdul Sattar Shoqeen Jetpuri — a well-known Gujrati poet.

The legendary comedian, who was laid to rest on Monday afternoon in Nawabshah, always wanted to be a singer and was known for his voice at school but when he formally entered the Karachi theatre scene, he realised his real strength actually lied in comedy.

Sanam was diagnosed with liver cancer nine weeks ago. He fell ill during a performance on Eid and was taken to Aga Khan Hospital for treatment but he chose to come under the treatment of local healers in his hometown Nawabshah, where he eventually failed to win the battle of his life.

Sikandar Sanam was one of the rare comedians to have come out from the Karachi theatre scene.  Despite his colloquial jokes and street smart improvisational skills like many other theatre comedians, what distinguished him from others was his Pakistani remakes of Indian films amongst which Khal Nayak 2, Sholay 2, Munna Bhai MBBS 2 and Tere Naam Part 2 were the most famous. The craze for these remakes increased so much over time that the cable operators played them on public demand, and later on, a number of mainstream entertainment channels also aired them.

Sanam’s portrayal of Salman Khan’s epic character Radhe Mohan is unforgettable. In the film, the good looking and buffed up Salman Khan was replaced by a dark-complexioned and frail-bodied Sanam adding jest to the film and more than that the way he used to fall for his beloved’s cusses in the film might be offensive to a few people but was publicly accepted humour at large.

The likes of Shakeel Siddiqui, were one of the many contemporary comedians who made their career in commercial theatre, which became a point of criticism for many art lovers on one hand but was loved by many on the other hand. Amongst his contemporaries, Sanam travelled around the world and did a number of shows especially in places like Dubai and South Africa. “Muqabla Hai Pyar Ka”, “Eid Manao Sath Sath”, “Mamun Mazak Mat Karo”, “Bakra Larki Aur Qasai” and “Lal Qile Ki Rani Lalu Khet Ka Raja”, were some of the most popular plays by him. These plays were not only performed live in places like Fleet club and Arts Council, but were also released on video cassettes on public demand.

One of his major achievements before his ailment, was participation in the “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge 4” judged by Shatrughan Sinha and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Sanam’s biggest success is that not only his fans but even his critics are in awe of his comedy. “I might not completely like his work and the surroundings in which he was working, but I can say that he was the only man who has given me immense laugh on many occasions. Thank you Sikander for the good laughs,” says a fan.

Another fan says, “I did not like his work initially but then I developed an understanding of how he represented a lot of people and how such artists bring laughter and happiness to so many. His Ghajini 2 and depiction of Radhe was well done, or Chulbul Pandey for that matter! He did parodies of superstars like Aamir Khan and Salman Khan effortlessly.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Saeed Jamsa
    Nov 6, 2012 - 10:32PM

    It is really interesting that how our media has covered the sad demise of this legendary actor, Sikandar Sanam. Apart from few newspapers’ clippings, which can be count on one hand easily, there was no coverage at all. I wonder only if he wasn’t Muhammad Sikandar and was some Sikandar Bachan or Sikandar Chopra or any Indian non-talented actor, our media would have “aasman sar pay utha liya hota”.
    One more reason to hate our Pakistani Media.

    Sikandar Sanam, thank you so much for giving us all those wonderful moments and may you rest in peace. Amen


  • Sarfaraz
    Nov 6, 2012 - 11:15PM

    I had chance to meet him in 2002 in Larkana (my hometown) where he came to do a stage-show, along with Shakeel Siddiqui and Rauf Lala. It was coincidence that we friends in our neighborhood were chatting outside ’round 8pm, when the three were passing on-foot, they were there to meet Guru of Transsexual-community. I hit him gently to draw his attention and he raised his hand forward to meet me. What a man he was.

    And I do have to disagree with you here to include rube remarks from unknown fans. I come from ethical background, needless to say that his sense of humor never offended me at all. Comedy anywhere in the world relies on mixture of despo-lines. Comedy cannot be bounded by drawing forbidden lines ’round it. Such comments would’ve been welcome in his life, but not after he left us!


  • saba
    Nov 7, 2012 - 4:22AM

    Its really sad to hear that he didn’t have the money for the necessary treatment. apparently he needed 5 lakhs for treatment in Pakistan, but he couldn’t afford it, he was advised to get treatment in India because they had more advanced treatment than in Pakistan but that would have cost him 17 lakhs and that was beyond his reach, poor man I hope he rests in peace.


  • Nov 7, 2012 - 12:56PM

    For people like many others he is disappeared in background of stage of life But I don’t know what is the thing which make me so sad after listening about his death. His one skit is in my mind in which he said” K hum bohat nayk log hein. Other character said: why. he said: Q k hamre ghar mein masjid ke fan lagye huwe hein” A great comedian, artist and a man. MAY ALLAH bless him ever. A great loss in sequel Moin Akhter, Liaquat Soldier, Legend Lehri and Now Sikander… Sikander of Laugh


  • Nov 7, 2012 - 10:48PM

    It’s a life we all have to go one day


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