Anwar Maqsood, a member of one of Pakistan's most talented families, is a playwright, television host, satirist, humorist, and infrequent actor who has worked in the entertainment industry since the 1970s. His biting satire can be
Anwar Maqsood, a member of one of Pakistan's most talented families, is a playwright, television host, satirist, humorist, and infrequent actor who has worked in the entertainment industry since the 1970s. His biting satire can be seen on the state-run television channel, which is a surprise at times even to him and on the private channel in Pakistan in the guise of teleplays, serials and stage shows.
Anwar Maqsood's satirical TV show Aangan Terrha touched upon different social issues and was an indirect criticism of former ruler Ziaul Haq’s martial law regime. Taking a jibe at the socio-political situation of Pakistan, Maqsood says, Aangan 1983 mein bhi Terrha tha or aaj bhi terrha hai (The situation was unfavourable in 1983, just as it is today).
Theatre buffs will be able to watch more of Anwar Maqsood’s stage plays in future as he looks forward to doing a play for children, entirely enacted by child artists. This would be Anwar Maqsood’s contribution not only to boost theatre in the country but also to encourage the younger generation to make theatrics a lucrative career option.
However, what most people do not know is that Anwar Maqsood, the writer, actor, poet and compere is basically a painter. He has been painting for over three decades now and is one of the more serious names in the world of Pakistani art today. He had his first one-man show in 1958 in Karachi, where all his paintings were sold out in less than half an hour. There were 50 pictures on display and 40 out of the 50 were bought by Jamshed Marker. Painting is how he makes his living.
Anwar Maqsood’s house is an ode to the family he loves and takes pride in. It’s an eye-opener. Here and there, on walls and on table-tops, in monochrome and in color, smile down some of Pakistan’s most illustrious, the prolific writer and philanthropist, the heartrending poet, the enterprising journalist, the intellectualist, the cooking maestro and Anwar Maqsood’s wife, novelist Imrana Maqsood, among others.
Anwar Maqsood grew up in an environment where creativity, in whatever form or shape, was encouraged and talent was appreciated. Two of his older sisters, Fatima Surraiya Bajia and Zehra Nigah are well-established names in Urdu literature. Another sister is, as he himself puts it, the Sadequain of ghararas', the pioneer of shaadi-wear in the country. Yet another sister is a journalist and works for the BBC.
With 10 brothers and sisters, Anwar Maqsood didn't go to school for a few years because they didn't have the money for the tuition. So everyone was busy doing something or the other. The relationship he shared with his brothers and sisters was not a conventional one, in that they were friends rather than siblings. They would criticize each other's work, saying yes, this is good' or no, this doesn't work'. There was a lot of encouragement at home in that sense.
His relationship with his son Bilal is like it would be with a childhood friend. It's not a father and son relationship. He still play cricket with him in the rain, they go on the floor together, they joke around a lot; for instance, if Bilal hears a good joke, he tells him first, and vice-versa. And it's the same sort of relationship he shares with his daughter as well.