Although I have always found Umar Sharif’s comedy to be socialy poignant, hard-hitting, and often hilarious, I must confess that I was not a great Umar Sharif fan growing up. This was largely an age and timing thing. But it is quite clear that there has been no stage comedy phenomenon in Pakistan like Umar Sharif either before or after him.
Although he has now taken on a broader – even sub-continental – canvas, his early work was very rooted in the Pakistan mega-city culture; especially Karachi and Lahore.‚ His ‘burger’ kid routine really went home on the social and economic apartheid that still tears at our society. Sometimes the pungency of his jugaat masks the craftsmanship of his theatrical performance, but to me there are very few who command the ‘stage’ presence that he does, particularly in the stage play. Indeed, he was to stage comedy in Pakistan was Fifty-Fifty (and here) was to television comedy.
Moeen Akhtar, obviously, has ruled he stage show scenaro like no other; but his stage presence is of compare and senior fankaar. The Umar Sharif phenomenon is primarily about the stage comedy play. Even though he has tried to become a Mueen Akhtar look-alke as stage compare, that is not his forte and in that role Moeen still rule (at least for me).
And within the genre of the Pakstani stage comedy play, there is nothing that even remotely comes close to Baqra Qistoun Peh; which, in some ways, is Omar Sharif’s signature performance. Here is a clip from that play which demonstrates why: