Omair Alavi|Published November 6, 2018
COMEDIAN Shafaat Ali in action.
KARACHI: The city of Karachi is known for its diversity but to cater to an audience that is comprised of young, old and very old is always a difficult task — one that funny man Syed Shafaat Ali achieved quite easily. The talented comedian-turned-actor made the entire hall at the ‘School of Tomorrow’ Future Festival on Sunday laugh and kept the audience engaged for his entire one-hour session with his scenarios and mimicry.
Held at a local hotel, Shafaat started the session humbly, thanking the people of Karachi for being prompt, that too on a Sunday. As a warm-up, the Parwaaz Hai Junoon actor not only started the show by apologising to those who didn’t like the film but also asked them to forgive him for he was new to acting and was doing as he was directed. His first act, like always, was a way to judge the audience and that’s why as soon as he found out that most of the people in attendance were youngsters, he shifted from his ‘cousin marriage’ act to a trip to a shopping centre with his family where all he wanted was to shop for an upcoming wedding.
What the audience got in return was an experience they would never forget, since it was at that mela of sorts that Shafaat met every important politician from Pakistan. From Imran Khan to Fawad Chaudhry, Jahangir Khan Tareen to Shah Mahmood Qureshi, he mimicked everyone from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf with ease and had the audience laugh out loud. He then imitated the chairpersons of Pakistan Peoples Party, the people at the helm of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and even those politicians who don’t have any stake in the current scenario.
To make fun of Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar, and Mustafa Kamal, that too in Karachi, was unthinkable a few years back but Shafaat did that masterfully, something he had also done in the recently released film Donkey King where he was the voice of multiple characters.
Apart from politicians, the former member of 4-Man Show and Banana News Network also made fun of TV anchors in their peculiar styles and those in attendance applauded heartily at his take on Shahid Masood and Kamran Khan. He did imitate others including Javed Chaudhry, Aamir Liaquat, Wajahat S. Khan etc but the applause he got for his Bilawal Bhutto imitation earlier were second to none. During the final 15 minutes of his segment, he impressed all by mimicking Shah Rukh Khan and singing as Bollywood legends Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar followed by numerous Indian artists before focusing on local talent led by Abrarul Haq, Momina Mustehsan, Mehdi Hasan, Ali Haider, Shehzad Roy and finally Atif Aslam.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018