KARACHI: Friends, admirers and colleagues paid glowing tributes to senior television director, producer, writer and actor Bakhtiar Ahmed at an event held on Friday evening to highlight his life and work at the Arts Council Karachi.
Prof Sahar Ansari said though Mr Ahmed was eight years younger than him he called him Bakhtiar bhai because of his towering stature in the world of art.
“He never minces words and always speaks his mind. His opinion on different subjects is marked by deep analyses. He is a producer, director, singer and writer — an academy unto himself which is why society should benefit from his expertise.”
Prof Ansari added that he recently read a piece written by Mr Ahmed on the Indian poet Gulzar and felt as if Bakhtiar Ahmed had spent a great deal of time with the poet, which is not the case, but since he knew how to write well he made the reader feel so.
Eminent short story writer Asad Mohammad Khan said he started penning stories in 1960. In 1964 he published three of his plays in literary magazines. Subsequently, distinguished poet Iftikhar Arif joined Pakistan Television (PTV), and made him [Asad] write plays for the channel. Mr Ahmed produced a majority of his plays. Mr Khan also informed the audience, who had not come in a big number, that after publishing nine collections of short stories, he was now working on a collection of his dramas.
General Manager of Karachi Television Centre (KTV) Amin Memon said Bakhtiar Ahmed gave KTV its identity. He is such a thorough professional that if a member of his own family interrupted his work, for example when rehearsal for a drama is on, he would snub them because he does not want his professional life to be affected by his private life. He is not one to compromise. Mr Memon told Mr Ahmed that the doors of KTV were still open for him.
Actor Khalid Zafar said for 17 or 18 years one of the plays that Mr Ahmed produced, Muqaddama-i-Kashmir, was shown on Feb 5. It was also published in the form of a book (kitabi shakl mein).
Film star Ghulam Mohiuddin, who spoke via phone, said Bakhtiar Ahmed won people’s hearts through his plays. One of them, Khuda ki Basti, is popular to date. He [Mohiuddin] got to work with him in one play and in the process learned a lot from the director.
TV producer Asif Ansari said renowned actress Khalida Riasat’s first play was with Bakhtiar Ahmed.
Actor Anil Chaudhry said Mr Ahmed taught him how to get rid of his Punjabi accent and speak in chaste Urdu.
Director of the Russian Culture Centre, Munawwar Saeed, Anwar Kamal, Huma Mir, Tasneem Zulfi, Ishrat Anis Ansari, Ali Raza, Iqbal Latif, Rehana Roohi and Saadat Jafri also spoke.
Bakhtiar Ahmed thanked the speakers for expressing their opinions on his life and work.
Noman Khan conducted the programme in a nice manner. Prior to the speeches, a short video on Bakhtiar Ahmed’s professional achievements was shown.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2019