Kashmir's ''comedian King'' Shadi Kaul is dead

JAMMU: Noted actor Shadi Lal Kaul, popularly known as ''comedy king of Kashmir'', died at a hospital here on Sunday, his family said. He was 66.

"Kaul sahib was suffering from cancer and was admitted to a hospital about a week ago. He breathed his last around 2.45 am," his son Vijay Kaul told PTI.

Shadi Lal Kaul is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

Having an enormous fan following in the Valley, the versatile theatre actor had played lead roles in hundreds of serials and live plays over the past four decades of his association with the art world and the television industry.

Born in downtown Srinagar, Kaul migrated to Jammu following the exodus of his community from the valley after the eruption of militancy in early 1990. However, he kept his date with Kashmir and played roles in different television serials.

He was known among his fans as ''Shamas Din" after his lead role in a 104-episode serial ''Shabrang'', which was telecast for three successive years from 1981 to 1983 on Doordarshan Srinagar on popular demand.

The self-taught artist, who won many awards besides the title of ''king of comedy'', had also played a role in a Doordarshan serial under a Shyam Benegal banner with Om Puri and a houseboat owner in Balwant Gargi''s play "houseboat".

Kaul's popularity grew in the valley with his role in ''Dastaar'' (Turban) which was staged at Tagore hall in 1978 in a drama festival.

The other television serials which became a hit among the people included ''Rangan Heund Rang'', ''Cherry Treuch'', ''Ghulam Begum Baadshah'', ''Tijarratuk Aasan Tarikaa'', ''Gaash Innuss Taam'' and ''Gul Gulshan Gulfaam''.

Noted writer and convener at the northern regional board, Sahitya Akademi, Aziz Hajini expressed grief over the demise of Kaul.

"His inborn talent gave a new direction to the theatre in Kashmir during the 20th century. Later he emerged as a leading and everybody''s beloved actor on the screens of Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar and DD Kashir," he said.

"His death has created a void in the field of performing arts, especially in the Kashmiri Language. It is next to impossible to fill this gap for a long time," Hajini said.

People''s Democratic Party (PDP) also paid rich tributes to the deceased and said his acting "rekindled our love for Kashmiri language and rejuvenated the world of vernacular art and television".

Another prominent actor King C Bharat, in his message on social media, said Kaul's departure has left a big void in the Jammu and Kashmir artist fraternity. "He was a master of his craft and a perfect gentleman. It (his death) is a great loss to J&K."

Kaul''s son Vijay said his father was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 but he did not allow the dreaded disease to overcome him and tried his best to see the smile on the faces of the people through his acting.

"I am indebted to his fans for their love and concern," he said after the cremation of his father at Ban Talab cremation ground here.


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