The funny man they called Babu Baral
LAHORE: Despite taking the blame for standardising lowbrow entertainment, regional stage dramas, especially Punjabi theatre, have over the last few decades consistently produced acting giants, one after another. Be it the formidable Amanullah Khan or the versatile Sohail Ahmed, there is no dearth of performers who are stars in their own circles.
Comedian and stage actor Ayub Khan, better known by his stage name Babu Baral, was also amongst them. Friday marked the late artist’s fifth death anniversary. Talking to The Express Tribune, his widow Sobia Baral said the late funny man worked in over 2,000 stage plays. “He was a great actor and his no doubt his play Shartiya Mithay was a super hit production,” she said. Sobia said never in his life did Babu care about saving money or accumulating his earnings. “Today survival for us has become very difficult. Our daughter Tabeer quit her studies and has joined theatre herself to keep the stove burning.” His family today lives in a two-marla rented house. “I approached many people to hold a programme in his memory but no one was interested,” Sobia added.
His nephew, stage actor Chand Baral said no one has been able to replace Babu. “He was unique in his own right. I myself learnt so much from him,” he said.
Stage actor and director Goshi Khan said Baral was a towering artist yet extremely humble. “Many of today’s leading stage actors are all his contemporaries,” he said.