Skip to main content

Life without Mastana and Babbu Bral

To many it is not even a news. Two well known comedians of Pakistan passed away this month. Although both of them focused on Punjabi stage plays based in Lahore, however, they earned quite some audience in the whole country by their performance on national television as well as in Urdu films. Well, everyone had to die someday. And it was their turn this time. That cannot be argued with. But the circumstances that they faced were really scary, and in one way, a reflection of where we are heading as a society.
In addition to their  memorable performances on national television and films, I, being native to the language dialect that was not very far from the one spoken on stage, had known both of them since long, although just as a fan. Immensely talented and spontaneous, they were born artists. Live performance on stage used to bring the stage alive.
Jugat bazi, the essence of Punjabi stage play, is actually a very well known local tradition. People talk to each other mentioning things in lighter tones, sometime funny, other times cunning and still other times vulgar and insulting too. Film and stage being the mainstay of entertainment in this part of the world, had a reflection of this all the time. Films used to be romantic love stories featuring a couple struggling to unite. A must to be character used to be that of comedian to make it a full entertaining recipe. Gradually, decency and pure entertainment was replaced by vulgar and cheap jokes, songs and remarks. Still, the artist cannot be blamed for this. It is the audience which is to blame for the lowering the level of the dialogues.

I remember the first stage play that I saw was with my best friend Zohaib Syed, on a video cassette. It was Shertiyah Mithay, featuring Khalid Abbas Dar, Sohail Ahmad, Amanullah, Abid Khan and late Babbu Bral. It was a piece of art. I still cherish the pleasure and entertainment that I felt after watching the drama. I had known them since childhood by their appearances on Eid programmes, one man, shows and sitcoms. So I enjoyed thoroughly.

Later, I saw performance of late Mastana in various stage plays. An artist of a unique character, he never let his audience and fans down. Impromptu and naughty, his remarks always carried a sense of criticism of the hollow traditions and snobbery of the people. He worked with majority of the great actors and actresses of the television and stage and earned great respect for his humbleness and down to earth nature.

Both of them died due to complications of hepatitis and diabetes, at an age where they should have been on top of their career. They could have groomed into national legends and would have ruled the theatre and televisions for at least two more decades. It is heartening to remember the unforgettable performance of late Babbu Bral in Indian idol. Artists are the binding force of a society. They hold different people together by their performance and they uncover the social maladies in such a way that it touches the heart. A two hours performance live on stage can take days and weeks to prepare. They worked untiringly to make the people happy. I came to know that, surprisingly, both of them were performing when someone close from the family departed. Yet they continued their performance so that the audience doesn’t feel bad that they left. I wish we commit ourselves to set better examples for those heroes and legends that are still with us. By doing so, we might save them from the painful anticipation of their career finish.


  1. good one..!!
    infact i am not a big fan of punjabi comedy(as most of the time i dont understand) but since azizi came to hasbehaal watched some of his dramas both these actors were there too..!! uncle KYON with kaka mana akal da ana and mentioning indian laughter bring anther recall of the work thy did.!!
    most of the time comedian in our region are not taken or considered as a legend even thy worked under wht so ever circumtances..which is quit worst most of the time..!! but the last days of there life really make ppl to think where we are heading...!! i hope some real effrt will be done to avoid these kinda incidence infuture..! heard azizi saying abt Qavi Khan working alot for this part but havent got much of the acknowledgment yet..!! can pray only .!!
    RIP B.Bral and Mastana.!!

    you make us laugh even when you cry, but the way u left really make us cry..SHARIQ

  2. When the news came about the Mastana along with his circumstance and why he stopped playing any kind act on stage really saddened me.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

2017: A dream year for a Federer fan

Somewhere in 2015, Roger Federer tweeted with an Indian Cricket team. This happened before a much-awaited Pakistan India match at world cup in Australia. The tweet set Pakistani fans of RF on fire. Many of them felt hurt and stopped following RF altogether. Others were merely disappointed by his gesture. A star, who lives in our hearts, seems our own. Seeing him taking sides with an enemy came naturally as heartbreaking. Thankfully RF realized that his fans felt hurt and tweeted an explanation. He rather likes the South African cricket team, SA being her mother’s birth place and things felt sorted.
For a fan like me though, nothing of this sort could stop following him on daily basis. In book marked pages on my browser, there is one page which directly leads to Federer search on Google. ATP world tour means Federer to many tennis fans who proclaim no Federer no tennis as their motto. Even in the weeks when he is not playing, keeping in touch with his updates is a daily routine. When I…

MMNS Gone... Options for voting next. View from Sargodha

Visit to IDPs camp, Bannu, KPK

A human crisis, or one of the several human crises born on this unfortunate land, displacement of North Waziristan residents on account of military operation has taken a heavy toll on over all wellbeing of the residents. It has been decades since people of this and adjoining areas had sustainable peace. The law and order situation has been frail since the invasions and wars started off many years ago and generations have passed without an end to the misery. The latest in this story have been the internal displacements to enforce writ of the state, and in this particular case, writ of Pakistani state. Few years back it was Sawat and Buner where military operation had to be launched, this time it is North Waziristan, allegedly a safe heaven for terrorist for long time. The people are asked to vacate their houses and move to another safer place where camps are established to house them and provide them with necessary modalities of life. Being a far-flung area, education and health facil…