On Monday afternoon, veteran actor and playwright Shoaib Hashmi, known for his satirical writings, breathed his last after battling a prolonged illness. The 84-year-old, who was married to renowned artist and educationist Salima Hashmi, had made significant contributions to the fields of arts, academia, and theater.
A tweet from PTV, Pakistan’s state-owned television network, confirmed the sad news of Hashmi’s demise. Besides being a prolific playwright, he also held the position of a professor of economics. His academic achievements included a Master in Economics from Government College, Lahore, and an MSc from the prestigious London School of Economics. Furthermore, Hashmi honed his theatrical skills at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Hashmi’s legacy resides in his memorable television productions, including Akkar Bakkar, Sach Gup, Taal Matol, and Balila, which captivated audiences before the 1990s. His comedic brilliance shone through these shows, establishing him as a master of satire. Alongside his television work, Hashmi also contributed columns to The News and Gulf News, showcasing his insightful and humorous perspective on various subjects. A 2012 profile in Dawn highlighted his impressive repertoire.
Not limiting himself to television and print media, Hashmi’s theatrical endeavors were equally notable. He penned numerous plays and even undertook translations of several books. Among his most notable translations was A Song for This Day: 52 poems by his father-in-law, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In a unique collaboration, his wife, Salima Hashmi, illustrated the book, resulting in a powerful combination of their artistic talents.
Recognizing the dearth of Urdu playwrights and drama publications, Hashmi took it upon himself to translate English dramas for local theaters. His dedication to promoting theater in his native language showcased his commitment to the arts and his desire to bridge cultural gaps through performances.
Shoaib Hashmi’s passing marks the end of an era in Pakistani theater and entertainment. His exceptional body of work, marked by satire and wit, will continue to inspire generations to come. His contributions to academia, theater, and literature have left an indelible mark on Pakistan’s cultural landscape.
In memory of this legendary playwright, let us celebrate his life and the legacy he leaves behind—a legacy that will forever resonate within the realms of Pakistani arts and culture.