Dubai: A household name in 1980s, famous Pakistani actor, comedian, poet and writer Athar Shah Khan passed away in Karachi on Sunday after a prolonged illness. He was 77.
Khan, who had been ill for some time, died in Karachi after suffering from a stroke, according to a statement by his family.
Athar Shah Khan, who was commonly known as ‘Jaidi’, was a great source of entertainment during the rule of dictator General Ziaul Haq in Pakistan in the late 70s and 80s. His satirical comedy provided much needed relief to people who were living with strict media restrictions with curbs entertainment industry including films. There were no private television channels those days and the only source of entertainment was Pakistan Television (PTV) or the Radio Pakistan. Jaidi entertained the audience on both mediums.
Athar Shah Khan’s most memorable role as ‘Jaidi’ in ‘Hey Jaidi’ and his play 'Intizar Farmaiyay' (Please Wait) on PTV made him a household name in the country. “I created the character ‘Jaidi’ more than three decades ago and people still call me Jaidi. I enjoy it,” Shah said in a recent interview. On screen, Jaidi was a childish and innocent character who exposes society’s ills through his follies and inability to lie or act ‘smart’.
He wrote more than 700 plays for television, stage and radio. People always looked forward to his dramas and his poetry recitals as he always presented the harsh realities of everyday life using satirical comedy.
He also won the Pride of Performance award in 2001. It is the highest award given to artists by the Pakistan government. Jaidi is survived by his wife and four sons.
His fans and fellow television and film stars took to Twitter to pay tribute to the legendary artist.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Athar Shah Khan Jaidi.
In a tweet, he said that the deceased as a comedian spread happiness in lives of the viewers and gave a new dimension to humour. The minister said that the characters played by Athar Shah Khan would be remembered for long time.
One of his fans, Shahzad Tirmizi, tweeted: ”#Jaidi was one of the most joyous characters in our childhood and he kept entertaining us with his funny poetry since then.”
Mansoor Azam Qazi, a TV anchor in Pakistan, said on his Twitter handle: “A great writer & legendry comedian of Pakistan Athar Shah Khan famous for his role Jaidi passed away.”