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Noted artiste Yasmeen Ismail passes away

January 19, 2002


KARACHI, Jan 18: Renowned artiste Yasmeen Ismail died of ovarian cancer in the early hours of Friday. She was 52.

The burial took place after Asr prayers on Friday in the Army Graveyard in Defence Housing Authority. Soyem will be held between Asr and Maghrib prayers at 7-B, 1st East Street, Defence Phase 1 on Sunday.

Her son, Amal Ismail, is a 22-year-old entrepreneur and her daughter, Sila Ismail, is an 18-year-old student of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Her husband, Tariq Ismail, is a chief executive officer of a pharmaceutical company.

Born in Rawalpindi on March 28, 1950, Yasmeen Ismail studied in many schools and convents as her father, an army colonel, got posted from one place to another. She graduated from Home Economics College.

She moved to Karachi shortly after her father’s death in 1971. She got married in 1974. Her association with PTV began in the late 1960s. Theatre lured her away as she became the head of the Karachi chapter of the Gripp’s Theatre in 1980. She directed about 24 plays. Their plays, mostly written/adapted by playwright Imran Aslam, were appreciated by people. A little before Ramazan, she directed her last play, titled Osama ho to samaney aiy, which was written by Mr Aslam.

She battled with her disease for more than five years.

Artiste Latif Kapadia said that Yasmeen Ismail had performed in her first play alongside him way back in 1969. “The play was called Sheeshay key adami and her performance was superb. She was a very reflective performer.”

PTV producer Iqbal Ansari was full of praise for Yasmeen Ismail’s work. “I did a play called Ajaibkhana with her in 1998. She played a glorified bawd in the play. Despite the fact that the role, as well as the play, was extremely unconventional, her performance was very soulful.”

Compere and actor Sajid Hasan said he had known Yasmeen Ismail since 1984. “We teamed up to do at least three productions. One play that I did with her ran for 29 days,” he said.

Playwright Imran Aslam said: “After Yasmeen Ismail’s death I feel like an echo. We teamed up way back in 1984. She sent me a script in German. She wanted me to adapt it. I called the adaptation Choti, moti, toota and S.M. Hamid. Since then we did a play virtually every year at the PACC. Six of them were telecast on TV. In 1992 we started what we called ‘dinner theatre’ which was very topical and very heart-hitting. It was stand-up comedy. Her team members, including Riaz, Sajeer, Ameed, Riaz, Faiza Kazi, Ali Saleem, Khalid Anum and Ayesha, learnt a lot from her.”