There are certain actors for whom the television has played the part of an institution. Behroz Sabzwari is one of them. Having started acting from a very young age, he was groomed and polished by the seasoned actors with whom he worked.
His association with television dates back to November 1967 when his first play, Nana Jan Dada Jan was made. He has fond memories of the drama that was telecast live. “I remember I forgot the dialogues that I was to deliver, however, the senior actors covered it up somehow,” he says with a chuckle. Neither was he scolded for this, nor was his blunder noticed by the audience. In fact being very young, he was always encouraged and supported by the people around him.
“I wasn’t aware of the fact that I can act, but all I can remember is that I could mimic people very well,” he reveals.
On being questioned about why he is mostly seen in the comic roles, Sabzwari says that an actor has to do whatever work he is offered. “However, I did act in plays in which I played a negative role or serious ones such as Khuda ki Basti and Uljhan,” he tries to clarify.
The character he played in the serial Mandi is his favourite one as he considers it one of the most satisfying works he has ever done. It gave him the opportunity to portray a person who undergoes various changes as he grows from a young lad to an old man. But this is not all, Kachwa aur Khargosh, Mera Naam Mungoo and Ankahi are also some of his memorable works.
Sabzwari disapproves of the unprofessional attitude of the newcomers in showbiz these days. And what bothers him the most is their unpunctuality.
The credit of Behroz’s most popular performance, in the role of Kabacha in Tanhaiyan, goes to his craze for watching movies. “Shahzad Khalil told me that the character I had to play in the serial was penned by the Haseena Moin,” he recalls. Sabzwari realised that he had to put in his best to stand out in the play which also had other notable artists. The director asked him to watch as many movies starring Peter Sellers as he could get hold of, for the roles the Hollywood actor played in his movies had a lot in common with the character in Tanhaiyan.
Sabzwari says that he is a Marlon Brando, Anthony Hopkins and Robert De Niro buff. He is also appreciative of the acting of Dustin Hoffman and tries to watch all the movies of these actors to observe the finer points of their art.
Among the younger lot, he likes Nicholas Cage. However, the actor confesses that he admires the work done by the senior actresses and has too many favourites to name just one.
The genre of movies that Behroz enjoys the most is romance. “I like love stories and at times thrillers too, it all depends upon my mood,” he opines. The actor clarifies that by romantic movies he doesn’t necessarily mean a-girl-meets-a-boy story, but movies that touch one’s heart and soul, have an emotional feel to it.
Behroz Sabzwari blames the atmosphere of the cinema halls as well as the standards of movies that are made in Pakistan for the audience’s lack of interest in the silver screen. He doesn’t like to watch films in the local cinema halls but whenever he goes abroad, he makes it a point to watch a movie in the cinema.
He likes music of all sorts, and is particularly fond of semi-classical. Like many people these days, taking time out to listen to music is difficult for this actor.
“I don’t have much time to listen to music nowadays, but I still cherish songs by Mehdi Hasan, Adnan Sami and Shafqat Amanat Ali,” he reveals. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a singer whom he admires the most. He likes the late mastero for his versatility as well as his voice and choice of lyrics. However, when it comes to the younger generation of singers, Behroze has little to say about them as he feels that few have come up with any remarkable music to be remembered by. Among the English singers, he admires Shirley Bassey, but over all he is not too passionate about Western music.
Sabzwari laments that he doesn’t have time to read books anymore. The one book that he believes is beyond comparison with any other book on earth is the Holy Quran. Apart from that, he loves to read poetry. That is probably why he has a collection of works by Parveen Shakir and Nasir Kazmi.
He admits openly that he is not much into reading and therefore wouldn’t name books in order to show off.
Favourite Movie: The Godfather
Favourite book: Nasir Kazmi’s Devan
Favourite music: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan