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Moin Akhtar: The star still shines

Published Apr 22, 2013 04:18pm
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Moin Akhtar left us two years ago yet the heart still refuses to accept his untimely demise. He was one of those few actors whose legacy extends beyond their physical presence; high-lightened every time a glimpse of his mimicry or his indelible impressions flash in front of our eyes.

Moin Akhtar was among the very first few artists who laid the foundations of mimicry complimented with a measured course of satire.

According to Akhter, “I was quite a character; imitating teachers in school. My friends and family were in awe of this talent and I soon found myself catering requests to mimic just about anyone and everybody.”

His first breakthrough that earned him praise was at Dow Medical College where the realisation hit him that he could actually earn a living out of his art.

Akhter hailed from that very humble age where simplicity and strength of character were the much valued merits in people. He couldn’t finish off his education (much to his own dismay) and entered practical life to share the family burden at a very early age.

His introduction with Syed Ameer Imam of PTV was another dramatic event.

In one of his interviews with Dawn, Akhtar recalled: “I kept impersonating Muhammad Ali, Lehri and Waheed Murad, after all that’s what I had been doing in all this time. Imam sahib kept rebuking me to be nothing but myself. Qazi Wajid was a live witness to all this and I was pretty convinced that I was to never step in PTV ever again.”

For Akhter, Zia Mohyeddin was a living inspiration and his mentoring services were something that he was eternally grateful for. The Zia Mohyeddin Show was also his major recognition where his take off on the host had the audience roaring with laughter.

Among the many memorable performances by the hard to forget Pakistani icon, include Studio 2.5, Studio 2.75, Aangan Terha, Chaar Bees, Fifty-Fifty, Such Much and the much-acclaimed persona of Rozy.

In addition to this, his collaboration with Anwer Maqsood in Loose Talk was extraordinary for the duo was able to come up with four hundred ghettos in all and had the audience hooked to it for many years.

About his relationship with Anwer Maqsood, he once said: “He and I share a rare chemistry. I gauge exactly what he is saying beneath the lines and he in turn is at comfort with entrusting me fully with his writings.”

Although he is much credited to be a comedian, he had many skills of a true performer on his fingertips. He was not only fond of penning his thoughts but also loved to sing. Born of a God-fearing nature, he was a sound citizen who believed that to improve the structure of society efforts had to be initiated from within.

What Moin Akhter gave to our society or perhaps to the whole world can be seconded by none. Such gems are born in centuries only to leave a presence that is to surpass beyond many years to come.

In lieu of his contributions to art and the Pakistani society as a whole, he was awarded the Pride of Performance Award in 2003, Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2004 and Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.