Moeen Akhtar – A legend

Posted on July 23, 2006
Filed Under >Bilal Zuberi, Humor, People, TV, Movies & Theatre
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By Bilal Zuberi

How could one read about Fifty Fifty on ATP and not think of the guy who probably ranks among the top masters of Pakistani television comedy: Moeen Akhtar. (Read an interview with Moeen Akhtar, here).

Moeen Akhtar, a young skinny man from Karachi, started his career in 1966 with a variety show, and before long became a face familiar across the nation for acting on TV, movies, stage and theatre, hosting of variety shows, and humorous impersonations of famous personalities (including actors Muhammad Ali, Waheed Murad, Dilip Kumar, and singers Mehdi Hasan and Ahmad Rushdi).

For a sampling of Moeen Akhtar, see this segment from his more recent work in Loose Talk where Moeen Akhtar acts as a Dulha (Groom) complaining about the Supreme Court decision on serving food at marriages. [You can view it here by clicking on the play (arrow) button on the image below, or go to to see this and more].

Moeen Akhtar, to my generation, is what Zia Mohiuddin was to the generation before me. In the past 40 or so years Moeen Akhtar has performed in, and hosted, thousands of shows in Pakistan and abroad, and is arguably the finest actor / comedian / host that Pakistan has produced.

To the Karachi based audience, especially those who watched stage shows with the Omar Sharif & Moeen Akhtar duo in the mid-eighties, he is a legend. I still watch reruns of Buddha Ghar per hai whenever I can. The stage shows have simply not been the same since he left the circuit to pursue other aspirations.

Over his career, Moeen Akhtar starred in many television dramas and live comedy events (including the special televised programs during marathon election night broadcasts and the annual television awards shows). The TV audience from the 80′s and 90′s will distinctly, and fondly, remember the trio of Moeen Akhtar, Anwar Maqsood and Bushra Ansari that brought laughters to many households.

One of his favorite producers was Shoaib Mansoor, about whom ATP has already written before. One of Moeen Akhtar’s more memorable roles was as Rozi, where he cross-dressed and played the counterpart of Dustin Hoffman (from American movie Tootsie (1982). Not to be left behind, Moeen Akhtar also did films (e.g. Taaj Daar) and songs. For some of the uninitiated, the image of Mehdi Hasan engraved on their minds is actually that of impersonating Moeen Akhtar twisting his mouth and rolling his eyes to make the notes come out!

He has parodied in several languages, including English, Sindhi, Punjabi, Memon, Pushto, Gujarati, bengali and others, while in the Urdu-speaking world, he is beloved for providing great humor for people of all ages, and with an etiquette that remains unmatched.

A few years ago, he suffered a heart attack and was admitted into the hospital. His fan base, in both India and Pakistan, and now spread all over the world as well, was gravely concerned for his health. Thankfully, he has recovered and from what I can see, he is back in action on the variety show circuit as well as TV. He has been working again with Anwar Maqsood on a satiric talk-show called Loose Talk on ARY TV (see video above).

In an interview with Mashrique, Moeen Akhtar said: “I want to stay alive in the hearts and minds of the people, even after I am gone.” As a fan who has followed and thorughly enjoyed his work for at least two decades, I can already guarantee him that.

Dr. Bilal Zuberi is Vice President of Product Development at GEO2 Technologies in Boston (MA), USA. See more at Bilal’s blog: BZNotes.

23 Comments on “Moeen Akhtar – A legend”

  1. July 23rd, 2006 9:15 pm

    I have been a fan of both Mueen Akhter and Anwer Maqsood. Although I always felt that Amwer Maqsood should only write and not perform on camera (too wooden). But in seeing this video I thought that the best days of both are behind them. Not what they used to be.

  2. Humaira says:
    July 23rd, 2006 11:45 pm

    Yes, Moeen Akhtar is a legend of comedy in Pakistan, he has defined what it means to be a comedian and everyone else just try to copy him.
    He also tried his hand at singing for a while.

  3. July 24th, 2006 1:44 am

    I second other commentors.Moin Akhter and Anwar Maqsood.You cant find such personalities anywhere in world and I know millions of people will miss them in their absence.

  4. July 24th, 2006 11:27 am

    One thing that has always fascinated me is how the verbage he has used in his comic routines has been adopted into the urdu language spoken in Karachi. Words like Phadda, laphra, topi pehnaana, and recently Manhoos (from his Loose talk segment), are really how Karachiites feel comfortable communicating with each other. Perhaps these words originated in Karachi communities (e.g. Memon Gujrati) and he picked them, but he has certainly helped give a particular flavor and style to the urdu spoken in Karachi today.

  5. sabizak says:
    July 24th, 2006 4:45 pm

    Moeen Akhtar, of late has really fallen into that trap of repeating himself and losing any real comic flavour that he first possessed. This particular program ‘Loose Talk’ is particularly excruciating in the pain that it inflicts upon an intelligent person’s mind. Anwar Maqsood is particularly ingratiating with that half smirky twitch that he delivers with unfailing consistency each time he (thinks he has) cracked a joke. Just wish these people had stopped when the going was good.
    If we were to talk about the comic greats of that generation I would go for Bushra Ansari with her wonderful impersonations of various singers in Pakistan that to this day seem as fresh and funny as ever, though she too has certainly been very repetitive especially with her ‘bijlee’ act.
    @ Adil. I believe you must have left the country by the time the comedy show ‘VJ’ rolled around, that was truly brilliant and a definite reference point in comedy for many in ‘my generation’ (one probably just one step away from yours), the people behind that show (Faisal Qureshi, Jawad Bashir, Amna) also got extremely unfunny and repetitive but of late some of these VJ kids have again started writing some pretty witty stuff on some shows aired on GEO. Hope they can keep up the good work.

  6. July 25th, 2006 2:25 am

    Anwar Maqsood & Moin Akhtar did fill the gap after fifty fifty (especially in the Zia days)…but lately shows like “Loose Talk” just doesnt appeal…Now, there are a lot of people (in their 40′s & 50′s) who laugh their heads off while watching Loose Talk..believe me, Ive seen it…So, it might be an age thing…Our generation (now late 20′s & 30′s) are definitely impatient and want our next laugh to be right after the other…..Or we compare Pakistani comedies with American sitcoms/skit shows…
    On another note, talented new people like Faisal Qureshi are awesome…dont miss this show on GEO named “Ulta Seedha”. The show is litterally Ulta Seedha, and does have some repetition, but is overall very creative and funny…

  7. sabizak says:
    July 25th, 2006 5:39 pm

    Sorry, in my last post i said ‘the comedy show VJ’, that was a definite error which I only realized after reading Adil’s comment. VJ was actually a music show but is remembered more for its skits before each song, the most memorable of which is “Ashrak ki kahaani’.

  8. anees says:
    August 8th, 2006 9:06 am

    the problem with him was always that he did too much so the so-so stuff wasmore than the brilliant stuff

  9. Alamgir says:
    September 24th, 2006 12:46 pm

    Mueen Akhtar’s problem is that he does too much, so there is a lot of not-good mixed with the great. This clip you have is an expample of his not-vry-good work

  10. Iftikhar says:
    September 24th, 2006 10:16 pm

    seems to me that people aree being unfair to Moeen Akhtar. Maybe we are only capable of admiring people who are dead!

  11. Akif Nizam says:
    January 15th, 2007 4:02 pm

    ….doesn’t matter what Moeen Akhtar was or is or could have been or may have been or will be, one thing is for sure: as far as Pakistani comics go, no one come even close. I think the charm of MA is that he can appeal to different segments of population on different levels. He can do stand up, he can act, he can do impersonations, he can sing and he can do all of that with class and dignity.

    A legend, agreed.

  12. June 21st, 2007 7:53 am

    Moeen and Anwar bhai , both are well performer and excellent.

  13. ajay dutta says:
    August 7th, 2007 7:50 pm

    hi Iam from India living in london. a fan of anwar maqsood, m.akthar, b.ansari.
    please if anybody cud provide me there contact. i wud be greatly oblized.
    i am saying this after studying and wathing them seriously and these are not mere words.
    one more thing- i (we indians) love our Pakistani brothers, we are the same, bye

  14. August 31st, 2007 6:17 am

    Moin Akhter is a biggest n precious assets of pakistani nation. Moin is a founder of Comedy in pakistan . He play a big role to promote entertainment department of Pakistan Tele Vision. Moin is a Academy of n superior teacher of new comedians.

  15. Mueen Akhter Tahir says:
    November 27th, 2007 7:11 am

    As u can see my name is also Mueen Akhter and when I tell this to others they freqantly ask,” Mueen dramon wala ” and I assure that I m not but really I feel proud to have similar name of this great legend of Pakistan.May he live long and make people laugh.Ameen

  16. babar bukhari says:
    January 15th, 2008 6:04 pm

    assalamalaikum friends,
    I just want to say when I met moin and anwar maqsood almost about 22 years ago such lovely ppl and asset to pakistan which can never be forgotton their work from the bottom of my heart moin still looks the same even after so many years ,
    allah bless him and give him more strenth to do more work for the country,

  17. Sharjeel says:
    March 30th, 2008 4:22 pm

    Half the people in this place are only criticising both these phenominal performers. If you go to India or abroad or any country where Pakistani people are found, you all will realise how you do not appreciate the true talent of your own country. I have been to a Rekha show in America in which Moin Akhtar was the host, both Indian and Pakistani people attended and if you saw the response he got from the crowd, you would not be saying all this. I will agree with all those negative comments if any one of you can claim to fill either Moin Akhtar’s or Anwer Maqsood’s shoes and actually do it. Guess what?? You can’t. Because it’s not possible. For the first time in Pakistani entertainment history, Moin Akhtar, our very own artist, has been nominated for the man with the most disguises for Guiness Book of World Records. We should all be proud of our assets instead of degrading them. Have some respect people.. These two men create magic… Appreciate it.

  18. damodaran says:
    April 5th, 2008 8:29 am

    Shoaib Akhtar filed his appeal on his lucky day.
    Shoaib Akthar was born on August 13,1975

    On April 1 ,he was banned from playing cricket for five years .On that day he was 32

    years and 233 days old .The age adds up to 13,(3+2+2+3+3=13)

    Last year,he was banned for 13 matches!

    So,number 13,strongly influences him.Thirteen adds upto 4.

    By virtue of his birth date and zodiacal sign ,numbers 1 and 4 are strongly lucky for

    Akthar .Yet, the orders banning him was announced on his lucky day! It is a blessing in

    disguise for him !!

    So,finally,he will return triumphantly.His appeal will result in his favour.

    He cannot be written off .

    Now let us see the case of Shane Warne .He was also born on 13th (September

    13,1969).On February 22,2003 (2+2=4) Warne was suspended for one year
    On July 13, 2004 he equalled Muttiah Muralitharan

  19. jawaid says:
    June 28th, 2008 12:18 am

    i am totaly surprised to see the records of pakistani. i was thinking that hardly any pakistani made records in worlds guiness book but i is totaly against of my thinking . so as a pakistani we should proud and respect and own assets. God bless Pakistan

  20. July 19th, 2008 7:11 am

    me moin akhtar sahib ka buhat to nahin magar fan zaroor hon . woh jab be koi comedian ka roll play karty thy to aisa lagta he k yeh un k sath real me ho

  21. August 20th, 2008 8:04 am

    Pervez Musharraf Was born on August 11,1943.His fate number is 9.He resigned on 18 which adds up to 9

    .Incidentally,On February 18,2008,parliamentary election brought his opponents to power.

    It may also be noted that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on her fate number 27 that adds up to 9


  22. May 13th, 2009 1:53 pm


    My name is Rauf. I am big fan of Moin AKhtar. I would like to put up a dedicated Moin’s website. The website will have all videos in high definition format.

    I need assistance in collecting programs. As being in US I do not have access to all past plays/stage programs/dramas done by Moin Akhtar. Let me know if any one can provide any help collecting his videos.

    Thanks, -Rauf


  23. usman iftikhar says:
    February 6th, 2011 4:44 am

    Great Article,

    I need Mr. Moin’s email address, for a formal correspondence to invite him to an event as a chief guest. Could you kindly let me know if i can have it. Really looking forward to it.

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