This weekend KopyKat Studios brought Anwer Maqsood, live in an act called Faqat, Anwar, to Karachi and the result was a riveted audience.
They may not have named it the Anwar Maqsood Festival but Faqat, Anwar (loosely translating to Simply Anwer) was just that; it was a celebration of everything Anwar Maqsood is known and loved for. For three consecutive days in Karachi this weekend, Anwar Maqsood brought the house down, inciting thunderous applause as he hypnotized the audience and played with their emotions like a magician. The maestro recited some autobiographical incidents, read some fictitious letters and also remembered some of his non-fictional friends in the one-hour stand-up act. Presented by Kopykat Studios, Faqat, Anwar is an act that should happen every few months, because there is more to Anwar Maqsood than meets the eye.
Not only did the show begin on time on all three days, it carried on for an hour with Anwar Maqsood glancing at his watch only after 45 minutes, to make sure he hadn’t gone beyond time limit. He was so engrossed in reading the papers in front of him that he didn’t need to be reminded that the time was nearly up. From making fun of current drama titles and their timings to finally disclosing the reason why he doesn’t write for TV, Anwar Maqsood was on top of his game. He flung subtle jibes at everything on planet Earth – related to Pakistan, of course – and maintained his composure. He started the show by clarifying that despite watching Hasan Nisar’s political show on TV, the glass in front of him is full of water. He also informed the audience how his conversation with a politician went after he called upon him for suggestions regarding Guru Mandir’s change of name.
Then there were a few incidents that he hadn’t told anyone before – what happened when he met a Fazlur Rehman supporter in a plane, how did his comments about a former Prime Minister end up in a former Minister of Information’s Twitter feed, how he escaped a mob that wanted to kill him for suggesting corridor names of five-star hotels and so forth. He then spoke about his friendship and professional relationship with the late Moin Akhtar, something he hasn’t done in many years. He explained why Moin Akhtar became a school headmistress in Show Time, how he made Loose Talk popular and why he couldn’t complete the episode of the show where he was supposed to play a Pathan.
The audience on all three evenings (it was a full-house) also got to know about the many skits and acts that forced Anwar Maqsood to write an apology, in-person, to those at the helm; they also got to know about Anwar Maqsood’s siblings, his extended family, and how they coped in a new country without any resources. During the show the legendary playwright narrated the very first poem that landed him a prize from Taleem-e-Baalighan creator Khawaja Moinuddin; he also disclosed why he was removed from editorship of an Urdu newspaper, repeatedly, and one couldn’t stop laughing on hearing the reasons behind the ouster.
And when Anwar Maqsood is in full swing, you can’t keep Mian Nawaz Sharif, Allama Iqbal, Patras Bukhari and others away. The segment where Anwar Maqsood read fictitious replies from Allama Iqbal, Patras Bukhari, and other literary giants was marvelous. Although he had done that in various shows across the world, reading letters from long-dead people was something he didn’t do much in Pakistan. Thanks to the Arts Council, Kopykat Studios and members of Anwar Maqsood’s team, the three-day festival ended on a high. Those who missed it are hoping that Faqat, Anwar will return soon to Karachi and then move to other parts of the country, where quality shows are just as much appreciated and applauded.
– OmairAlavi is a freelance broadcast journalist who can be contactedat email@example.comFrom making fun of current drama titles and their timings to finally disclosing the reason why he doesn’t write for TV, Anwar Maqsood was on top of his game. He flung subtle jibes at everything on planet Earth – related to Pakistan, of course – and maintained his composure.