'King of comedy' Shadi Lal Kaul passes away

Renowned actor, Shadi Lal Kaul, passed away at Jammu on Sunday after a brief illness. Kaul was 65.

A theatre and television actor and radio jockey, Koul was the best known Kashmiri comedian, who acted in several Television serials.

Born in Kani Kadal area of downtown Srinagar, Kaul had migrated to Jammu in 1990.

A statement issued by a group of Kashmir-based theatre and Television industry artistes and film-makers said Kaul played different riles in several Television serials like Amaar, Adam Zaad, Pazar Yeli Muod, Pagah Sholi Duniya, Anjaam, Ghulam Begam Badshah, Jetti Wanai, Naav Daar Aab, Soada, Treti Buzun, Cherry Truch and Gaash Pholnas Taam. They held a condolence meeting at a city hotel to pay tributes to late Kaul.

Speaking at the condolence meeting, Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan, an actor and filmmaker described Kaul as a “beloved friend, a fellow actor and star of Kashmir”.

“It is a personal loss to me. A vacuum has been created in the field of Kashmiri drama,” said Khan.

Other artists who paid tributes to Kaul said every Kashmiri loved the veteran actor for his talent and for being a humble and soft spoken human being.

“His work earned him a huge fan following, appreciation, regard and following besides many awards. We are faced with an irreplaceable loss. A great soul has departed from among us but his memories will never fade away,” said senior film maker Mushtaq Bala.

Theatre Director and actor Reshi Rasheed while paying tributes to Kaul said he was an icon of Kashmiri drama, especially in the genre of humor.

“He will be remembered for his contributions to the TV and theatre,” said Director and actor Mir Aijaz. “Kaul sahab was like a teacher to me and I have learnt a lot from him while working with him.”

Senior actor in the Television industry, AG Khan described Kaul as “a king of comedy”.

TV and theatre actor Shaikh Mushtaq, who has worked with Kaul said: “I have learned so many things from him. I don’t think we will have another actor like him”.

Theatre and Television Director Hassan Javaid said Kaul was an honest human being and used to encourage young artists, while Dr Muhammad Ayub Matoo, social activist highlighted that entire Valley was shocked on the demise of Kaul.

Kaul was widely respected and had immortalised his roles he played in Television serials. Born in a middle-class family, Kaul was a self-taught man.

Together with his friend, Ayaash Aarif (actor and director), he founded Kali Dass Theatre in Srinagar. He also joined Abdul Rahim Kuchhay and founded Yasmeen Dramatic Club, his Nukkad theatre in Kashmir.

He became a house hold name after his performance in Doordarshan serial ‘Shab Rang’ in which he played the role of Shamsuddin. Hundreds of people still know Koul by the name of Shamsuddin in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) expressed shock and grief over the demise of Kaul.

In a statement, JKAP senior leader Rafi Ahmad Mir expressed solidarity with the bereaved family.  “Kaul was a comedian par excellence. He will always be remembered by people for his mesmerizing performances that enriched peoples’ lives with laughter and happiness,” said Mir.

“We have indeed lost one of the finest comedians and an iconic actor,” Mir said.

The JKAP leader said through his unique and memorable acting, Kaul had not only carved a niche for himself but had immensely contributed to the enrichment of Kashmiri culture.

“Besides being a veteran actor, he was a great human being and very down to earth. JKAP offers deepest condolences to the bereaved family, television artists, his fans and friends at this time of grief. May his soul rest in peace,” Mir said.

Senior JKAP leader Vijay Bakaya also condoled the demise of the veteran actor, describing him as a humble human being who was extremely talented. “He appeared on television and the stage and created characters which are etched on the minds of those who identified with them. His comic sense and timing were extraordinary,” Bakaya said.