A stand-up comedian and stage, film, and television actor, Umer Sharif was born on April 19, 1955 in Liaquatabad, Karachi as Mohammad Umer, but changed his name to Umer Sharif when he joined the theatre. Umer,
A stand-up comedian and stage, film, and television actor, Umer Sharif was born on April 19, 1955 in Liaquatabad, Karachi as Mohammad Umer, but changed his name to Umer Sharif when he joined the theatre. Umer, who at 14 became a stage performer in Karachi, started his career in entertainment in 1974.
Umer Sharif, who earlier on worked as a background musician with a group of friends, playing at local parties and functions became one of the best-known stage performers in Pakistan after his extremely popular 1989 comedy stage plays Bakra Qistoon Pay and Buddha Ghar Pe Hai. In both the plays he starred with Moin Akhter, another well-known Pakistani actor. Umer was one of the first actors who started to record his shows for video rentals, which played a major part in his success. Yes Sir Eid, No Sir Eid and Bakra Qistoon Pay were the first two-stage shows to come out on video, respectively.
For the 50-year anniversary of Pakistan's independence, Umer Sharif performed a play called Umer Sharif Haazir Ho. In the play, a representative from every occupation was called into court and asked what they had done for Pakistan in the past 50 years.
Umar Sharif is popular in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, where he performs both in Urdu and Punjabi. Umer Sharif was invited to the 2006-2007 final of the Great Indian Laughter Challenge, where he received accolades from the event's judges, Shekhar Suman and Navjod Singh Sindu. Sidhu praised Umer Sharif as a living legend on earth, while Shekhar called Umer Sharif an institution and mentor for new talent. Many famous comedians like Shakeel, Irfan Malik, Ali Hassan, etc. are his finds and they regard him as their teacher and guru.
Umer Sharif attained considerable fame and is sometimes called by his fans the King of Comedy in South Asia. His videos are sold at stores across India. Sharif also hosts ‘The Umer Sharif Show’, where he interviews film and television actors, entertainers, musicians, and politicians. He has also served as Master of Ceremonies for local and overseas events. During the Prime Ministership of Benazir Bhutto, Sharif wrote and performed a political play called Lotay Aur Laefafay, based on Pakistan's politics.
Sharif's play Bakra Qistoon Pay (Goat on Instalments) influenced Pakistan's typical style of stage plays. Before this production, most stage shows in Pakistan used to be dramatic, with poetic dialogue. After Bakra Qistoon Pay, most stage shows became comical, vibrant, and often gritty. The play has also inspired many sequels.
In 2006, the Umer Sharif Welfare Trust was formed with the stated goal of creating a state of the art health centre that provides services free of cost. The Trust, now supports the MAA Hospital, which is a charitable health centre, whose goal is to provide efficient modern health care, especially for Pakistan's artistic community.
Umer Sharif has received many awards, including:
Best Stage Actor (1984), Best Stage Director (1988), Best Director and Best Actor National Awards for Mr. 420 (1992), Chicago Award (1992), Karachi's Trend Changer Award (1993), Lahore Press Club Award for Excellent Performance (1996), Ten Nigar Awards (Sharif is the first person ever to receive four Nigar Awards in a single year), Three Graduate Awards, Four Qaumi Awards, Cassette Melody Awards, Best Award for Hat Trick in Audio Cassettes, One International Emirates Award in Dubai, National Defence College Pakistan Shield, Two Bolan Awards, Musavir Award, Waheed Murad Award, Jang Akhbar Award, Khabrain Award, Sadaaqat Newspaper Award and Award from Allama Iqbal Medical College
Umer Sharif was also awarded a Key to the City of Karachi. This was the first time in the history of the Pakistani film industry that the key to any city was presented to an actor.