It appears that apart from being a great cricketer and philanthropist, two of his sides beyond question, Imran Khan is also a phenomenal actor. One is increasingly convinced that should he decide to take acting up formally as a profession, he will put Oscar winners to the blush. Professional actors learn scripts, practice expressions, gestures and maneuvers and still have the option to do multi-takes before the perfect shot is immortalized in film. Theatre artists have the benefit of countless rehearsals, though they perform to live audiences. But Mr. Khan performs almost every day, almost extempore and almost to perfection. He performs to television audience, and to live audiences. He has no time to rehearse or to learn dialogue by heart, yet he is peerless in the art of drama. Thus, I wouldn’t choose him to lead me or my country, but I would certainly choose him for the lead role of any film I were producing.

Consider: He thunders like the Lyssa, the goddess of raging madness, about the Jang/ Geo group having rigged the elections against him. And when he foams at the mouth, one can almost see the foam flying. It helps that his eyes remain pink almost all the time anyway. And in this spectacle he looks sincerely angry, and genuinely seething with rage. But of course, he knows, and you know, and I know that he cannot conceivably believe it possible for a television channel to conduct electoral rigging on any scale, leave alone on a scale to change results. What a media group, a newspaper or a TV channel can do however, is to report with consistent bias – in favour of, or against, a candidate. And that is unfortunately neither illegal nor ‘rigging’. And Geo/ Jang group certainly happens to be guilty of that, as do other media groups. And Mr. Khan knows it. And he also knows, that Geo consistently (and odiously for Khan’s detractors) favoured him over others for years – till he actually became a force to reckon with. Oh, and who knows which script or cue cards those Jang Group anchors and journalists were singing from when Imran was their darling. But you see, Imran Khan KNOWS all of this. He knows better than anyone else what this media group, amongst others, did for him. Yet, like Enyo, the goddess of destruction, he lashes out. He is so angry, because he is so wronged, that he wants to huff and he wants to puff, and wants to bring the entire house down. And eat up all the little piggies quaking inside the house. And my, oh my, is his ‘anger-act’ convincing, or is it convincing? Except, the cue cards, the talking points, give it all away. But that cannot be his fault, can it? He is still a brilliant actor.

He talks about speeches at 11.23 p.m or 11.26 p.m that cost him the PMship. And he does it with a straight face, rather a spittle-flying-in-your-face face. And the followers scream with hysteria; he probably marvels at his own ingenuity. Inside, one is sure, he chuckles because he knows. How can he not? A year on after the elections, and he suddenly dreams up that he lost the PMship because Geo ‘rigged’ the election. That is the script. It is just a tad interesting that he woke up to the fact only a couple of days after the Geo-ISI disaster broke loose. And just a tad stale that Mr. Khan actually thought, yet again, that he’d like to play Molly the Pretty Mare, in Animal Farm.

Those poor souls not aware of the grand puppet show on show, fall for the anger bit hook, line and sinker. But those who’ve been watching the scene for some decades like Orwell’s old donkey Benjamin, become die-hard fans of the next acting legend. They just wish they had the millions of dollars they are supposed to be “khoring” to produce the next box office hit starring the next big star after Marilyn Monroe. Except for his disciples, everyone knows the score; everyone knows the genius of his talent.

Mr. Khan must sit back and laugh heartily in his leisure and pleasure hours at his own artful accomplishments. He has managed to put on the back foot an entire organization (no saint itself) for leveling what he calls lowly, below the belt, personal attacks against him. He must have slapped his own shoulder red congratulating himself at putting them in the hot seat, all the while leveling far more

serious allegations of ‘treason’ at them, and lending credence to allegations of blasphemy by sitting in one-to-one interviews with every vulture in the media that has cast aspersions of blasphemy at Geo staff. It would be so funny if it weren’t so frightening: Mr. Khan fooling the masses with his straight-faced mantra of religion, morality, honesty and decency – when his own personal life stands up to not the shallowest scrutiny on these standards.

One has a choice: one can be bitter, or one can be hardy. One can cry, or one can admire. For the moment, Mr. Khan has the last laugh. And so do his puppeteers.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist.

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