When I first saw the Habib Bank Ads with Mr. Bean, for a minute I actually thought they had inserted old (and original) Mr. Bean clippings into their Ads. I later realized that this was a Pakistan look-alike for the original Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson.
Right there this was a sign that it was a good impersonation. Actually, too good. Because in many cases the impersonation leaves no room for originality. But, frankly, I found the Ads funny. Funny enough that I dug deeper and realized that there is a mini “Mr. Bean in Pakistan” franchise beginning to flourish.
So, who is this Mr. Bean in Pakistan and what is his story?
Seems like the Pakistani Mr. Bean first appeared in this home video from Kharadar, Karachi, which was not really an ‘act’ but simply the fact that he looked like Rowan Atkinson.
Soon, however, he had developed an act.
From what I can gather his name is (Muhammad) Asif and he is (was) a resident of Kharadar. Someone figured he looked really like Mr. Bean. Someone else (maybe he himself) figured he should start impersonating Mr. Bean. And that is how ‘Mr. Bean in Pakistan’ was born.
Now he is all over HBL Ads and also on a mini-show of his own on Geo TV’s Aag channel. And because he is now everywhere and pushed to do more and more, the quality varies – from good to quite appalling. He seems to have begun as a parody but is already turning into no more than a prop for sophmorish pranks:
Are there any intellectual property implications to all this? Probably.
But right now everyone is just smiling at his antics. But for that to continue he will have to up the ante pretty soon – otherwise he becomes merely a Rowan Atkinson look-alike without either originality or any of Rowan Atkinson’s immaculate timing and attention to detail. I hope he stops listening to the producers of his shows and takes this opportunity by the horns to develop a comedic persona of his own. Good Luck, Mr. Bean!