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Habeeb Khan is a ‘Special Person’“Extremely good looking. You see I had lots of money. My father left me $96,000 when he died. I got a lot of things for women…gramophone, bicycles, children. A lot of respectable women in Georgetown got houses too.”By Leonard GildarieIt is difficult to start writing something about Habeeb Khan.? There are so many areas to cover-his jokes, his legacy, his character…his good looks???When Kaieteur News first contacted him, he was all for it. He came two hours late for the interview. “You see, I had more important things to do.”What does one say to Habeeb Khan?Unfortunately, at that time last week, our timings would not allow it and the interview for this column had to be rescheduled.Habeeb KhanOn Wednesday, the newspaper managed to grab hold of Habeeb at his Friendship home on the East Bank Demerara.Growing up, there were legends about Habeeb Khan. He had a house with a gate and a big padlock but no fence. An antenna cable ran to his sewing machine. His many children and ladies. The legends were too numerous to mention.His portrayal of an “abused” husband, “George” on the Torginol Paint advertisement was memorable. Then there is that movie in which he starred …“If Wishes Were Horses…”If one is to speak about comedy in Guyana, the name Habeeb Khan would invariable come up.I would bet that there is hardly anyone in Guyana who doesn’t know the name Habeeb Khan.I didn’t know what to expect but there was no fence to Habeeb’s yard and no gate and he was standing on his little balcony,Cheap Jerseys Free, his eyes faraway.His face lit up and he made a place on a chair for me to sit while he sat on a little bed in his? sitting room.Habeeb is ill. He has asthmatic bronchitis. Too many cigarettes, he said.“Stay away from them. You young yet,” he warned.Early DaysHabeeb is 73 years old and a father of 16…two are girls…produced by four different mothers– two sisters, an aunt and a cousin. I was in no mood to question him on this.In his early life, Habeeb grew up in relative comfort in Queenstown, Georgetown. His father was a doctor.“I was in the middle.” He saw the look of puzzlement and explained. “There were three and then I and then three more children.”The family had a gardener, a maid and a nanny to look after the children.Habeeb attended Central High School. “Central was a school that had a lot of professionals (staff) and produced a lot of professionals in those days.’He bemoaned the fact that teachers are now losing their authority with students because of attitude. “You see teachers nowadays wearing the same kind of clothes like the students, short skirts including. You tell me when they are competing like this, where would the respect be?”The comedian also grew up not far from former President, Forbes Burnham.He described his mother as a highly qualified woman with 21 certificates.“But my father, you understand, he was a strict Muslim. He believed that he is entitled to seven wives. My mother didn’t see it that way.”Habeeb lived with his father for a while after his parents separated. “He had some dictatorial attitudes you must do what he wants even if it was wrong. I would tell him I was sent for and that ended our arguments.”Before his work as an entertainer (he did not describe himself as a comedian), Habeeb worked with the Venezuelan Embassy,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, in the interior and on boats.Habeeb Khan: In younger days“I was scheduled to study International Law in Venezuela on a scholarship.”However, that was not to be. Habeeb got a 16-year-old pregnant and he had to stay.Was he a good looking man? “Extremely good looking. You see I had lots of money. My father left me $96,000 when he died. I got a lot of things for women…gramophone, bicycles, children. A lot of respectable women in Georgetown got houses too.”Sad to say, the money soon went.ComedianHowever,Cheap Jerseys For Sale, Habeeb Khan’s work in the entertainment field really kicked into gear in the ‘70s. “I was always a safety valve. I just like to see people laughing.”He hooked up world-renowned Guyanese-born British actor, Norman Beaton of the “Desmond” fame and formed the “4 Bs” band playing at the Strand Cinema, Suriname, Palm Court and the Belvedere, among other places.It was during this time that he experimented with a little comedy. Sometimes a guest artiste would come late and Habeeb would just hold the audience with a joke or two. He got better and soon it was a routine.He was hired to voice ads also. “I did two-three, four voices for the ads. I like doing ad-libs and they became a household thing.”Soon, he ventured overseas and was performing with Ben E. King, Percy Sledge, Count Basie, the Mighty Sparrow and Bob Marley.He has been hailed as Guyana’s most popular comedian and described as this country’s “Ambassador of Comedy”.Habeeb was also known throughout Guyana for poking fun at public figures.While at Radio Demerara as part time guest on the radio programme “Night Ride” he would mimic former President Cheddi Jagan and even Burnham.On one occasion, an event that is memorable in the minds of Guyana was born during a competition to name the Demerara Harbour Bridge.Habeeb, strangely enough, was hesitant but opened up on this incident.Nobody could explain it but one of the entertainer’s many voices was heard on the programme urging the then President of Guyana, Burnham, that since everything was being named, “Roxanne” this and Burnham that, maybe a good idea was to name it after the President’s wife. Habeeb suggested “Viola’s Passage”.It would be needless to say that Habeeb was summoned “for fitness” to Burnham’s office where he made an attempt to explain.Businesses were reluctant to place ads on the programme after this, as Burnham’s temper was legendary.It was in the ‘70s that Vivian Lee, a close friend of Habeeb, came up with an idea of movie, a decision that placed the entertainer’s name even more firmly on Guyana’s map.One year later, Lee was finished with the script and Rank Organization, a production company from England came down.The movie was acclaimed, as it was a Guyanese “thing”. “It is based partly on my life story.I didn’t make a whole lot of money but Lee did. He still sends some for me from time to time.”Habeeb’s popularity grew and he traveled the Caribbean, US and Europe. He was sent for regularly to perform in Trinidad by Frank Martino.Things were going well. “I stayed in first class hotels.”The offers to be part of different shows were many. “I was even offered to be part of “Caribbean Affairs”, a movie. But I declined since the price was not right.”Tough TimesUp to three years ago, things were good; Habeeb was getting jobs. But things have been bad in recent times. Years of smoking have caught up with the entertainer. His sickness is costing him a pretty penny and except for a few businessmen and others, Habeeb is struggling.“I have to drink a lot of medicines for my illness,” he pointed to the many empty bottles.While Habeeb’s voice is still heard on the Torginol ads,Cheap Wholesale Jerseys, he is also seen on the Elegant Jewelry and Pawnshop commercial as well.He still cuts an impressive figure in his trademark military-like outfits and briefcase.The entertainer has received several awards from overseas for his work including a special one from a New York group for the 2006 Guyana Folk Festival Award.Yet another one came last year recognizing him for being involved in “International Comedy” by Gama Awards of Canada.However, none would be dearer than an award from Guyana. As yet,Supply NFL Jerseys, according to Habeeb, he has not received any from his home country.So where is Habeeb Khan at the moment? The entertainer is hoping to get better soon but bemoaned the non-recognition from local authorities.“For the second year running, GuyExpo has not even called. I see my CDs and DVDs being pirated and I even have the names of the guilty party on Water Street selling these.”Does Habeeb consider himself a handsome man? He switched to a Trinidad accent,”My mirror don’t lie.”Doing an interview with Habeeb is a rather unsettling affair. After a photograph was requested, he opened his wardrobe. His clothes were neatly arranged and pressed. He puts on a shirt, grabbed a Guyana flag and settled himself on a stool.“Hold on a second,Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic,” he says. Habeeb had forgotten his dentures or as Guyanese say, false teeth.He fixed it in and grinned triumphantly. “Now I am ready.”There was no doubt on my mind as I left through the fenceless yard that I was walking out on one of Guyana’s treasures.It would be impossible, one would admit, to devote only this column to Habeeb’s work.He has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry.Is it too late to honour him? Too often, we have taken the reactive approach rather being proactive. Maybe we should not wait anymore.For me, Habeeb Khan, is a Special Person.


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