Demise of a legendary artiste

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SOME artistes are extraordinarily blessed who through their creative work leave indelible mark on the memories of the people.

Farooq Qaiser alias Uncle Sargam, who passed away in the capital on Friday, also comes in the same category of artistes who will always be remembered for their exceptional work. He indeed was a true legend and with his demise a golden era has ended.

Farooq Qaiser was a columnist, director, puppeteer, scriptwriter and a voice-over artiste. He also wrote several humorous books.

Qaiser’s portrayal of Uncle Sargam, a puppet character he created and also lent his voice to, became hugely popular in Pakistan and remained a household name for decades.

Uncle Sargam was first introduced in a television show for kids, Kaliyan, when it was broadcast on Pakistan Television (PTV) in 1976.

His duo with another character on the show, Maasi Museebatay, achieved legendary status over the years.

Along with Kaliyan, Putli Tamasha and Sargam Time were Qaiser’s most loved TV shows.

Through Uncle Sargam, he not only revived the centuries-old craft of Putli Tamasha but also raised awareness amongst the people about social injustices and issues.

Speaking once about his character, Qaiser had said, “He has the same insecurities and fears of every middle class Pakistani.” He could say things that a common man wanted to express but could not say.

The very shows of Farooq Qaiser were popular with people of all ages because of his art and personality. His demise which saddened everybody is undoubtedly a big loss.

As soon as his news of death came, condolences poured in from all quarters with President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran paying tributes to his meritorious services in the field of art.

The best tribute to him in our view will be that the PTV re-telecast his famous shows which are as relevant today as they were ever before and this will also serve the purpose of acquainting our children and young generation with the creative work of this iconic personality who indeed was pride of Pakistan and will remain so for the work he left behind.