A legend – Sohail Ahmed (Azizi)


Sohail Ahmed (Punjabi, Urdu: سہیل احمد), born as Sohail Akram (سہیل اکرم) is a Pakistani comedian, and stage and TV actor. He is most notable for comedy stage dramas based in Lahore. He is famous for using improvised dialogue during stage plays. He is an outspoken opponent of vulgarity and obscenity in stage dramas. He was born in Gujranwala (Satellite Town), went to school at Millat High Gujranwala, graduated from Government College GCGujranwala. His father Mian Muhammad Akram (Late) was a senior Police Officer. He is third in line of four brothers. The oldest brother Javid Akram is a journalist, the other older brother Mian Aurang Zaib Akram is an Educationist like the younger brother Muhammad Junaid Akram. He is the nephew of a great Punjabi Poet known as Baba-e-Punjabi Dr. Fakir Muhammad Fakir. He is Mian by caste. He is also the writer and director of many stage plays. Recently Mr. Sohail Ahmed has proved himself to be an outstanding director when he produced and directed his second Drama Serial SHAAM, which was written by Mr. Iqbal Hasan Khan, a known playwright and short story writer of Pakistan. This play went on air this year in Jan.


Azizi is the persona Sohail Ahmed walks into when he appears on the show Hasb e haal. The character over time has come to symbolize the voice of sanity over the apparent apathy in the society. He mocks the flagrant disregard for law, lack of policy architecture by the government and equally blatant lack of incentive from the civil society to change the squalid they occupy. The popularity of the character is understandable in a society which has lost its relevance and looks at reality through half open conduits. Where scruples are sham and morals mostly a facade to impose upon each other one’s perceived dominance: Azizi brings the freshness of being unabashedly pedestrian. he got lifetime achievement award this year in 2010.

Genesis of the Character

Sohail Ahmed appears on Hasb e Haal as Azizi, while the rest of the crew Junaid Saleem and Najia are playing themselves. It’s ironic that the only character who is posing to be a fake comes out looking as the most original and prominent voice. It is symptomatic of the collective deficit of trust in the society. Characters like Tyler Perry and Azizi, who are clearly in character – gain credence by the very fact that they are declaring the role-playing part of the appearance – the society is tired of people wearing masks – hiding behind veneers yet seeking to gain trust. When one looks at Azizi and Sohail Ahmed in the context of evolution of media and response of the viewers as they set the agenda by controlling the remote, the closest analogy to Suhail Ahmed following his journey as a stand up stage comedian and gaining respectability as a socially conscious sounding board for the collective wisdom of the people, one can compare his second coming to TV with Bill Cosby of the show bearing the same name.

Television career

The show Hasb e Haal airs on Dunya TV and then is downloaded on the internet through various media portals and distributed via social media websites. It has a viewership of 100,000 viewers on the internet ( mostly in Americas and Europe). The numbers are picked from youtube and www.pinditube.com, there are surely ten times as many ( unaccounted in this study) viewers watching the show on cable TV. However if the internet numbers are seen as a sample study and a proportionate approximation is made about the larger viewer population – the raw data-points indicate that the character and the show has the highest hitrate count in the west for any show on air currently. In November 2010 Sohail got his life-time achievement award from Pakistan Television.

Research subject for Linguistics

One of the abilities in Azizi’s repertoire is his particular knack for coining novel words—words that are novel even at the atomic level i.e. he frequently introduces novel morphemes with surprising facility. He remains a subject for language researchers especially for those investigating whether languages evolve in punctuated bursts. The idea of punctuated evolution was first proposed by Niles Eldredge andStephen Jay Gould in the context of biological evolution. Recently Atkinson et al. have demonstrated an interesting parallel in the evolution of languages, but in a forensic fashion by analyzing thevocabulary bursts in the histories of languages. Characters like Azizi help language researchers in pinning down the underlying engines that feed such vocabulary bursts.

Moreover, Azizi’s character is a fodder for cognitive scientists interested in finding the neural basis of word formation. Not surprisingly, Azizi is also a trope -churning machine, constantly rejigging existing idioms and metaphors by skillful juxtapositions, transpositions, and more interestingly, generating new meaning by portmanteauing apparently disconnected tropes.

A Case Study for Students of Performing Arts

Considering the extent of credibility Azizi enjoys among his audience raises a fundamental question for students of performing arts—how to handle the pressures of responsibility that such a stature of credibility demands. Azizi is a living case study of how performers may handle a role that catapults them to a pedestal of credibility.

Stage career

Most stage-drama fans know Sohail Ahmed as a comedian, however, most of his TV appearances, specially on Pakistan Television, have been in serious and often negative characters. He has played many diverse characters on TV which vary from a professional killer to a feudal lord.

Stage dramas

  1. Ik Jhoot Aur Sahi
  2. Deewane Mastane
  3. Topi Drama
  4. Aashiqo Gam Na Karo
  5. Sooey Laal
  6. Shabash Begum
  7. Double Swari
  8. Swaa Ser
  9. Wonderful
  10. No Tension
  11. Fika In Amrika
  12. Ketchup
  13. Andaz Apna Apna
  14. Mian Biwi Aur Chor
  15. Nizam Saqa
  16. Shartia Mithay
  17. Kali Chaadar
  18. Kotha
  19. Ik Tera Sanam Khana
  20. Bara Maza Aye Gaa 1
  21. Bara Maza Aye Gaa 2
  22. Methi Baryani
  23. Nawab ZadA
  24. Jab Daag Nazar Aaya 1
  25. Jab Daag Nazar Aaya 2
  26. kuch na kaho 1
  27. kuch na kaho 2
  28. Love Spot
  29. Roti khol dayo 1
  30. Roti khol dayo 2
  31. Tetlee
  32. Garam Garam
  33. Ishq Hua Chori Chori
  34. Hot Pot
  35. Sohni Lag Di
  36. Allah Waris
  37. Baran Masalay
  38. Darbaar Lagao-Part 2
  39. Kuriyan Munday Chalbaaz
  40. Teray Piyar Main Jani
  41. Wailey Masroof
  42. Fiqa in America
  43. Bajaay Waloun Ki Baraat-Part 2
  44. Chabian
  45. Kaali Chadar-Part 2
  46. Baba Cable
  47. Dam Damadam

Pakistan Television dramas

  • Andleeb (PTV Drama)
  • Fishar
  • Shab Deg
  • Kiran
  • Qasmi Kahaniyaan (Permeshar Singh)
  • Kajal Ghar
  • Dukh Sukh
  • Hawaili
  • Din
  • Reza Reza
  • Man Chale Ka Suada
  • Ranjish
  • Garib-e Shehar
  • Piya Ki Diwani
  • Susar-in-Law (Comedy Drama PTV)
  • Regzar
  • Malangi
  • Juda
  • Cchotey
  • Mashwra Muft Hai
  • Sohail Clinic (Comedy Drama ATV)
  • Saray Gamay (Comedy Drama PTV)
  • Shaam (ATV)
  • Malangi (PTV)
  • Chuban (PTV)
  • Khuda Gava (ATV Drama)
  • Khawaja Online (ATV Drama)
  • Chuban (PTV)
  • Qabza (Geo TV)
  • Home Sweet Home (PTV)
  • hasbe hall (dunya)

Source: Wikipedia

A legend – Sohail Ahmed (Azizi)

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