Speaking on the third and final day of Karachi Literature Festival, the comedian had people chuckling throughout his session.
Karachi: “It was a VVVIP plane in which I was travelling and the first person I met was Imran Khan, who was sitting with Jehangir Tareen and Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In the same row there was Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif accompanied by his brother Shahbaz Sharif who is the Chief Minister of Punjab…”
This is how stand-up comedian Shafaat Ali began his not-so-subtle takeover of affection from the audience during the eighth edition of the Karachi Literature Festival that concluded on Sunday. Held at the picturesque venue of Beach Luxury, like every year, Ali was speaking on the third and final day of the three-day literary affair and his session was one that pulled a sizable crowd without difficulty.
Shafaat Ali has been doing stand-up comedy as well as mimicry on television for the past decade but his popularity truly skyrocketed after his mimicry clips went viral on social media last year. The houseful session was proof of his rising popularity.
At the beginning of his session, Ali was comparing the people of Lahore to Karachi and vice versa which didn’t have the desired effect immediately because though many laughed, some didn’t understand the jokes about ‘bose’ and ‘roads’. However, Ali recovered quickly because once he started his ‘Aeroplane scenario’ people were laughing out loud and were amazed by his skills at the same time.
During a 60 minutes session, Shafaat kept the audience mostly entertained while the last 40 minutes can easily be dubbed hilarious.
From his surprisingly sharp imitation of politicians (such as Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif) to news anchors (such as Dr. Shahid Masood, Amir Liaqut and Kamran Khan) and pop cultural icons (such as Atif Aslam and Shehzad Roy), Shafaat had the audience in fits of laughter. Here was a young and good-looking man impersonating everyone perfectly and we don’t get to see him that much.
Shafaat’s session was succeeded by the panel discussion ‘Cinema across the Border’ but no one had time to check their watches. Such was the reaction of the audience. It would be great if similar sessions are arranged in Karachi as well as other cities as they allow people a healthy doze of laughter and if someone can provide it, it is Shafaat Ali.
Omair Alavi is a freelance broadcast journalist and can be contacted at [email protected]