Moin Akhtar (1950-2011): Talent Unlimited

Posted on April 22, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Humor, People, TV, Movies & Theatre
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Adil Najam

The much- and multi-talented artiste Moin Akhter died on April 22, 2011. The word ‘legend’ is sometimes used rather loosely by us South Asians. Not every one who has been called a ‘legend’ really was. But Moeen Akhtar, clearly was one. Pakistan is poorer today because he is no longer with us.

His was a voice, a presence, a wit that I grew up with. I have memories of him from every stage of my life. Testimony to his versatility is the fact that even as I try, I cannot today put my finger on the one memory of Moin Akhter than stands out above others. There are as many Moeen Akhtar’s as there are memories. And all the memories are good memories.

Moeen sahib was an ‘artiste’ in the true sense of the word. He excelled in all he did, and he did much: stand-up comedian, actor, talk-show host, stage-show MC, singer, impersonator, mentor to other performers, all-round and all-round good-guy. In many respects, however, his greatest talent was his knack for bringing out the best in all those around him. He was larger than life, yet he was understated – partly because he made what he did seem so easy and so natural that we often did not fully appreciate his genius, and partly because even when joking about them he was forever making those he was joking with or joking about look good.

I heard of his death while traveling in California and my reaction – like of so many other Pakistanis was of deep and heartfelt shock. I have had the pleasure of meeting him many times – even being the butt of his barbs on occasion – but it was not until now, and especially as I began assembling this post, that the full magnitude of his versatility and talent hit me. I knew of it all the time, but like so many others I had internalized it so much that the magnitude of his abilities was taken for granted.

We at ATP have written about him before. And there is much that I want to, and should, be saying today. But I cannot. Because I do not think I could do justice to his talent. I hope our readers will. Maybe the best way to remember him today is to remember him with a smile. His was a talent that always spoke for itself. So let us let that talent speak for itself once again as we think of him today – in prayer, in fondness, and, yes, with a smile.

The early – maybe the earliest – Moeen Akhtar. On the Zia Mohiuddin Show:

Moin Akhtar the actor. No laughing Matter:

The much-talented and the multi-talented Moin Akhter, with friends:

Moeen Akhter the Singer. His tribute cassette to Ahmed Rushdie is worth listening to:

Moeen Akhter the Compere. A master of timing it just right:

Some final words. Some serious thoughts on Pakistan’s today and tomorrow. Rendered in sincerity and without bitterness. Worth listening to.

30 Comments on “Moin Akhtar (1950-2011): Talent Unlimited”

  1. ASAD says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:19 pm

    I was waiting for this post at ATP. Moeen Akhtar was indeed a legend. May he rest in peace.

  2. April 24th, 2011 12:25 pm

    A Great Artist from the Asia, We love you moin you will remain alive in our hearts

  3. Durrani says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:28 pm

    Moin Akhtar was a great artist and really versitile. In everything he did he was amazing. He will be missed. innanillah i wa inna illahe rajioon.

  4. Ayesha says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:35 pm

    A legend. What a great talent. That first video is amazing.
    Rest in Peace, Moeen bhai.

  5. Majida says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Thanx for the post! You put in words, what I was thinking. He was there, we grew up with him being around – entertaining, performing and time and again putting the core truth to words, packed in a sarcasm – the message came across! May his soul rest in peace

  6. Abid says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:40 pm

    Great man. And very good post on him. He was the soundtrack (laugh track) of my life. Moeen Akhter, we will miss you greatly. Thank you for all you did.

  7. Kazmi says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:43 pm

    Every Pakistani should listen to that last video you have. It is a cry of pain from his heart. Please, pay notice.

  8. Yaqoob says:
    April 24th, 2011 12:50 pm

    Good bye, Moeen Bhai. And Thank you for everything. Ina lillahe waa ina elahey rajeoon !!

  9. Irfan Iftekhar says:
    April 24th, 2011 2:10 pm

    Nicely written and rightly written. Indeed our next generation will have to wait till the time when another Moeen Akhtar is born again.

  10. Faisal says:
    April 24th, 2011 2:29 pm

    The best of very best. RIP Moin.

  11. Sadi says:
    April 24th, 2011 2:34 pm

    A tear and a prayer for the departed soul of Moeen Akhtar. He had become ingrained on the psyche of all those who grew up in 70s, 80s and 90s. A million thanks to him for bringing so much joy and quality entertainment to those who understood Urdu or a good joke.

  12. Sara Khan says:
    April 24th, 2011 3:18 pm

    May Allah bless the departed soul. Heart is so sad and shocked for this early loss. Great person he was.

  13. Huma Hussain says:
    April 24th, 2011 4:38 pm

    We can never find a Moin Akhtar again,Lost forever,May Allah grant him highest place in Jannat,Ameen
    May Allah Make us good human being like him so that when we die people remember us.

  14. Usman Ayyaz says:
    April 24th, 2011 4:45 pm

    As a young pakistani i feel at great loss on his death. With him also dies the culture that he represented. One by one the great upholders of our traditions are leaving us and sadly no one from our generation is stepping up to replace them…

  15. RJ says:
    April 24th, 2011 6:37 pm

    His FIRST television appearance was on a closed circuit TV at PIDC Industrial Fair in Karachi.
    He will be missed.
    RIP Br. Moeen Akhter

  16. Shez says:
    April 24th, 2011 6:49 pm

    Moin also supported poor artistes. Lehri himself said that Moin was running his home. Comedian Farid Khan said the same. Pakistani showbiz fraternity is big on shedding tears but doing nothing. Perhaps it is the right time to learn from Moin’s generosity and start supporting those in need. The government should also take action, especially for Lehri, who always did extempore dialog delivery and never took help from any script. Such was his talent. Many poor artistes need financial and medical help.

  17. April 24th, 2011 7:26 pm

    Moin Akhtar death feel like a death of a family member!
    Whole nation is in shock!!
    What a man and true son of soil he was!
    We love you Moin Akhtar as much you loved us!!

    May Allah bless your soul! – Aameen

  18. Imran Khan says:
    April 24th, 2011 7:54 pm

    I had the opportunity of meeting him when he came to Boston to help Imran Khan raise funds for Shaukat Khanum. I was impressed by his humble demeanor and willingness to undergo hardships for the greater cause.

  19. April 24th, 2011 9:11 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “‎’Moin Akhtar’ the legacy no one can replace him & no one will, the biggest lost in the Pakistan art & entertainment industry, very sad news.”
    - “i like him so much he was a legend”
    - “May Almighty Allah Bless his Soul, Forgive his lapses, Shower him peace and blessing, and reward him the best place in heaven…ameen, ameen, ameen. He will indeed be missed for all time to come.”
    - “The name of Moin Akhtar was become integral part of our life but after his death the deficiency in the life of every TV artisit will appear and being Pakistani we lost priceless gem”
    - “his Soul enjoy peace and honour that you deserve being so brilliant human Being Moin Akhtar we Pakistanis love you alot and may be no one else there to bless us with smiles and laughter that you gifted US!!!”
    - “In spite of the pressure of life that everybody ought to pass-through, Moeen Akhtar had the GREATEST charisma that drew a smile over millions of Urdu Speaking nations for decades, and his unrecoverable loss will cause a vacuum in the chain of outstanding comedians that South-East Asia have ever known.
    He will indeed be missed for all time to come…”
    - “wo krta tha mazak apni maot ka aksar…aaj haqeeqat ma humen chor kr chala gya….love u always”
    - “he wa a gr8 actor, no any one who alternate his man”
    - “moin akhtar………….greatman!”

  20. Owais Mughal says:
    April 24th, 2011 10:58 pm

    Sad demise of one of the most talented comedians of Pk. Adil bhai – thanks for putting together the video clips here.

    The thing I liked about his comedy was that he didn’t resort to ‘juggat-bazi’ and vulgar jokes – as common in Pk theater – to get cheap laughs.

    The last video in above collection indeed comprises of words worth thinking.

    His rendition of ‘Bandar Road se kimari’ above is also worth listening.

  21. نہاری says:
    April 24th, 2011 11:11 pm

    مزہ میں بیہودگی ملا کر لوگوں کو ہنسانا دنیا کا آسان ترین کام ہے. معین کی خوبی یہی تھی کے اس کے ٥٠ سالہ کام میں کہیں بھی انگلی رکھ دیجیے. ہر جگہ تہذیب شرافت اور نجابت دکھتی ہے. مجال ہے کہیں چھوٹی سی بیہودگی نظر آ جائے. معین کو خدا جنّت نصیب کرے اچھے ماں باپ کی اولاد تھا. اسکی موت نے بڑا دل دکھایا ہے.

  22. sheepoo says:
    April 24th, 2011 11:18 pm

    aik shaks saray shehar ko wairaan kar gaya

  23. Nasir Mahmood says:
    April 25th, 2011 12:17 am

    Allah hu maghfirlahu warhamhu

  24. S. M. W. Ahmed says:
    April 25th, 2011 12:51 am

    The legendary artist & great social worker Moin Akhtar, has died but his good deeds will never die.

  25. asim says:
    April 25th, 2011 1:44 am

    I am really very sad to hear this news,my heart is filled with sorrows and i pray to God from the core of my heart for his blessings upon him,He was a great man and an asset for pakistan,his gape can never be filled..May Allah give patience to all of us to bear this huge loss and showers his blessings upon him..Aamin

  26. Abbasi says:
    April 25th, 2011 12:12 pm

    Moin will always be remembered and there can be no one like him. Allah blessed him with so many talents. Rest in peace Moin Akhtar.

  27. tipusultan says:
    April 25th, 2011 3:10 pm











  28. Umar says:
    April 25th, 2011 7:20 pm

    You guys have no idea of Pakiastan’s priorities. Why you write about a comedian instead of covering the PTI dharna in Peshawar.

  29. Adnan says:
    April 26th, 2011 1:15 am


    That Comedian has given this Pakistan and to his needy people more than cyber mouth commandos like you. That particular comedian was the source of income of many families in Pakistan. That particular comedian was the source of Income of many well known artist including, great Lehri. That comedian was an honory citizen of many US states. Thar particular comedian, named Moin Akhter, became the reason of match making of several girls who are now leading a good life.

    You have no frigging idea what that Comedian has done for his countrymen. Tell me what a “non-comedian” like you have done for this country and his fellows other than asking to give coverage to Topi Drama of our politicians and talking like a self-acclaimed critique ?

  30. Meengla says:
    April 26th, 2011 5:00 am

    1) My earliest memory of Moeen Akhtar goes all the way back to the early 1970′s: I am almost certain the event was an outdoor ‘function’ related to a couple of my male cousins’ circumcisions in my Nana’s house (maternal grandfather’s house) in Soldier’s Bazaar, Karachi. Moeen was there on a stage on the spacious inside courtyard and everyone was entertained. We kids were told that one of the artists was Moeen Akhtar.
    2) Indeed, as @Owais says above, Moeen did not stoop to the low levels of many desperate artists to earn money by using vulgar language. He was always classy, intelligent, and visually an ‘evergreen’ kind of personality. That he was barely 61 when he died makes the pain even harder to bear.
    3) Just like the sport of cricket these artists and their memorable performances are a testimony that, while much is wrong in Pakistan, there have been so many bright spots as well.
    R.I.P Moeen!

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