Abid Ali Missing It Direly

It was the Age of Craft on television. And so, it fashioned exemplary artistes like Abid Ali, Firdaus Jamal, Qavi Khan, Roohi Bano, Uzma Gillani, Jameel Fakhri, Khayyam Sarhadi et al. Behind those stalwarts were ace pen-weilders like Ashfaq Ahmed, Munnu Bhai, Saleem Chishti, Bano Qudsia, Asghar Nadeem Syed and others. And then there were makers like Mohammad Nisar Hussain, Yawar Hayat, Nusrat Thakur and others. So, Abid Ali, who was fashioned in Jhok Sial and Waaris, went on to became one of the greatest actors our television had ever seen. You can watch him do wonders in Amjad Islam Amjad’s brilliant stories. You can further enjoy his work in Ghulam Gardish, Doosra Aasman, Dasht etc. And then, you can come down to the period after 2000; a period where craft left us for almost 15 years, and why not? Globalised private channels closed their doors for established writers, and famous producers worked on other TV channels with aliases. So, the philosophy and intellect that went into narrative and dialogues, went out the window, and in came domestic drama. No, I mean, Ali performed brilliantly in some of them, surely. But, behind him, there was no strong narrative supporting social issues that made it relevant for actors to live that narrative. I was watching Ali do his usual best in Daldal recently. Slick delivery and beautiful expressions, yet, those brilliant pauses that gave him the leeway to show his inner emotions through his expressive face, were missing. Those powerful, philosophic dialogues were missing that made one shake one’s head in disbelief. Surely, the great artiste must miss all that even in today’s commercial bazaar.