‘Our standard of comedy has declined since PTV days’

Ismail Tara on how ‘Fifty-Fifty’ prompted him to take up the role in ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’

Our Correspondent September 16, 2015
Ismail Tara with Majid Jahangir on the sets of Fifty Fifty. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Like several old rock bands brushing aside their differences and reuniting in an attempt to relive the glory days, Ismail Tara, the rockstar of Pakistani comedy is also hauling his way back to the silver screen after spending a lengthy period on the sidelines.

He is making up for that lost time with two of his films Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA)and Halla Gulla releasing on Eidul Azha.

Popularly known for his range and diversity in performances, most evident through the iconic comedy-sketch show of the 1980s Fifty-Fifty, it was Tara’s time on the show that actually prompted him to play multiple characters in JPNA.

Read: Trailer release: Will Jawani Phir Nahi Ani be a hit or a miss?

“Everyone knows I enjoy putting on a variety show. When I used to do Fifty-Fifty, I remember that a lot of the characters I performed had potential for their own serials but we would wind up their stories in a span of two minutes on the show,” Tara, who will be playing the role of a monk and an Arab in Jawani Phir Nahin Ani told The Express Tribune.

“And this chance to explore two completely different characters in detail is what really appealed to me about the film,” he added.

With close to half a century worth of experience under his belt, Tara has seen the comedy scene of the country evolve with the passage of time and acknowledged how Bollywood influence has slowly crept into the local comedy routines.

“Our standard of comedy has declined since the PTV days. During those days you had to be careful about what you said but now you can just get away with anything,” shared the comedian.

Despite his fearless style of comedy and frenetic energy that accompanies his performances; Tara too was forced to give into the new form of humor — something he would have never done in the past. “There were scenes and dialogues I was initially hesitant about but I was eventually convinced by the filmmakers and decided to go ahead with the scenes,” recalled the Fifty-Fifty cast member.

Despite these apprehensions, he praised the writing skills of Vasay Chaudhry terming him “right up there”, while comparing him to other notable comedy writers he had collaborated with in the past.

The last few years have seen Tara cut down on his acting commitments and appear in ‘limited’ roles onscreen, with his last noteworthy appearance being a cameo in Main Hoon Shahid Afridi. The reasons for becoming selective stemmed from the decline of the film industry.

“I was doing films quite regularly during the 90s and 2000s but then people had stopped making films. But then all of a sudden this new wave of filmmakers has emerged who are making quality movies which made me reconsider my decision.”

Realising that the time away from the spotlight had caused his skills to become rusty, it had become imperative for him to start performing on a regular basis. “Comedy is like a muscle in your body. You need to keep exercising it to make it stronger otherwise if you just leave it there, it would become useless.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2015.

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Ali | 6 years ago | Reply Standard of comedy has certainly gone up over the years of mummy dady comedy. sitcoms like Bulbalay and shows like khabernaak etc.have certainly picked up on the game try watching the old shows like fifty-fifty etc. now and you will just force yourself to laugh out of respect for the good old days... only thing is that, nowadays they are not as refined as before but as somebody mentioned above, comedy had a racial tinge back in those days.
sani | 6 years ago | Reply You need to force yourself to laugh at today comedy serials like Bulbulay, 50-50 was its PIYOOO. Hasb-e-haal is one good program but its shear talent of Sohail Ahmed..
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