Moin Akhtar remembered
KARACHI, April 22: Friends and colleagues shared memories of the iconic artist Moin Akhtar at an event organised on his first death anniversary at the Arts Council Karachi on Sunday. The programme was attended by a large number of people making the organisers regret that instead of the council’s sprawling lawns they chose the Manzar Akbar Hall as the venue.
TV producer and director M Zaheer Khan went down memory lane in a pretty heartfelt manner and told the audience that he had known Moin Akhtar from the time when he had not become a star. Their friendship strengthened after the advent of television in Pakistan. He claimed Moin Akhtar was not just a Pakistani celebrity, but was one of Asia’s great artists — he was recognised even in countries like North Korea. He said people talked about Shahrukh Khan who’s a film star; they tended to forget that Moin Akhtar widened his canvas while working for television, which was a bigger feat. He said the late actor was a professionally honest person who had great respect for his producers and directors. He added despite being in showbiz Moin Akhtar had no moral weakness. He wondered what happened to the book that he was writing.
Writer Hasina Moin said she held Moin Akhtar dear like a brother. He would engage in friendly banter with her and often hurl odd questions at her. She commented God had sent Akhtar to try and lessen people’s grievances through humour. She said when Akhtar passed away she was not in town, therefore could not say Khuda Hafiz to him. Then she said Khuda Hafiz to Moin Akhtar.
Writer Anwar Maqsood addressed the gathering via telephone. He said Moin Akhtar had not gone anywhere; he was amongst us. He iterated the legendary artist was a one-of-a-kind actor, who gave his 100 per cent to the script he would be asked to work on. He rounded off his speech by reading the couplet:
Ik yaad hai ke daaman-i-dil chhorti nahin
Ik bael hai ke lipti hui hai shajar ke saath
Actor and the son of poet Jamiuluddin Aali, Raju Jamil, narrated the tale when he met Moin Akhtar for the first time. It was 1968. Raju Jamil was sitting in TV producer Ishrat Ansari’s room when a young man (Akhtar) came in and requested Ansari to take his audition. After the audition Raju Jamil, who had a car, asked the young man if he wanted to be dropped off somewhere. Akhtar said he’d like to get off at New Town. And from then on they became good friends.
Raju Jamil said his father (Aali sahib) once really admired what Akhtar had uttered at a function and thought it could be one of the wisdom-replete quotable quotes. When someone asked Akhtar how he kept his fame intact, the actor replied there were three stages in an artist’s life that s/he should be cognizant of. (1) the struggling period (2) the time when s/he earned a name and cashed in on it (3) the time when s/he needed to work hard one more time and regain his/her reputation.
Actor Qazi Wajid said he could still not believe that Moin Akhtar was dead and added he was a great human being.
Singer Salim Javed informed the audience that he did his first show with Moin Akhtar in 1983. The actor’s favourite song that they would sing together was ‘Kal hum chale jaenge’.
He said the last gig that Moin Akhtar did also featured him.
Comedian Shahzad Raza lamented the fact that while all liked to talk about Moin Akhtar, not many paid a visit to his gravesite.
Hasan Jehangir, Idrees, Shakil Siddiqi, Arshad Mehmood, Mehmood Ahmed Khan, Khurshid Hyder, Mustafa Mandokhel, Salamat Ali, Chand Puri, Ajaz Farooqi, Mohammad Ahmed Shah, Ali Haider, Anwar Iqbal and others also spoke. The event was conducted by Iqbal Latif. Prior to the programme a documentary on Moin Akhtar was screened.