It’s been roughly 20 years since I last saw anything starring Moin Akhtar, and frankly I don’t particularly remember him – I was very young – although I do remember watching the televised Pakistani plays in which he starred: Buddha Ghar Pe Hai and Bakra Quiston Pe. If you grew up in Delhi during a certain era, you know what I’m talking about.
Now, thanks to Great Bong, I’ve found him again and swear to God, I haven’t stopped laughing yet.
In Loose Talk, a fake interview show, Anwar Maqsood plays the straight man, a hapless journalist routinely maddened, enraged (pretty much every show) and exasperated when he isn’t being outright threatened by his oddball guests, all of them played by Akhtar.
It is the kind of witty satire, lampooning (what I assume are) popular stereotypes in Pakistan, that’s light miles away from painful Indian “comedy” shows with their constant soundtrack of canned laughter, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s rictus of a smile and Archana Puran Singh’s botoxed grimaces. Jaaved Jaffery’s music show Flashback perhaps comes closest, which would explain his occasional appearances on the Loose Talk.
Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om has taught us that there’ll probably be morchas in the street every single day if some brave Indian soul tried to take a pointer from Akhtar and Maqsood, but I can’t help but wish they’d try. And when I say that, I don’t mean rip off Loose Talk as Shekhar Suman is currently doing in his latest unfunny avatar.
Or, you know, they could just air the show as is in India. It sure beats the pants off watching a bunch of morons maul poor little babies (whose parents ought to be shot) about.
PS – don’t they write about TV shows in Pakistan or do they simply not care? I depend on the internet to support all my addictions, you know. It messes with my head when Shekhar Suman’s dumb show has a couple of million search results and Moin Akhtar is lucky to have a wiki page. Or is there a secret place on the internet where all the cool kids hang out and write about them? There’s a niche waiting for some canny blogger.