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Spotlight: Qavi Khan

Living legend Qavi still in quest of best role

Government should make a policy institute for the performing arts
Qavi Khan has worked in more than 200 movies and performed in countless TV, radio and stage plays. When we talk about acting Qavi Khan definitely occupies a place where we can call him a living legend. Qavi , 64, is still imbibed with the spirit of youth. He daily goes for a morning walk and is enjoying good health.

This scribe talked to him to bring the maximum out of his vast memory house. The highlights of the same are as under:

What is your most memorable role?
The best is yet to be. I am still in search of the role which will bring the best out of me as an actor and I will remain in quest of that throughout my life.

What are you doing nowa days?
I am doing two TV plays. One of them, a comedy play Shaharan, written by Younis Butt, is being telecast on Ptv and second play Mar Jaein Ham to Kia is being aired on ATV. I am performing as a villain in the second one.

Are artists playing any role in the Indo-Pak peace process? Would it be helpful in the long-term relationship, especially to solve the Kashmir problem?
The artists of both the countries had started the peace process right after the partition in 1947. I think they are playing an important role to bring the people closer. We can surely play an effective role even to solve the Kashmir problem.

Are you going to work in some Bollywood-Lollywood joint venture?
Yes. I did get an offer from an Indian film producer. The other cast included Indian ace actor Shami Kapoor and some other Bollywood bigs. I have asked him to send me the script so that I may decide. If the subject and role suits me, I will surely say 'yes' to the Indian producers. But if I find it just like the roles played by other Pakistanis who went to India before me, I will say 'no'.

How do you compare the artistes of both the countries?
Both the countries have very good actors and performers. India has great actors like Mr Bachan, Shah Rukh Khan and many others. We have also very good actors but the only difference is that their actors have academies for proper training but ours are not technically skilled. Another important element is that Indian writers write scripts keeping in view the cast, but Pakistani directors and producers select the cast after the script is completed.

You have also worked in movies. Who is responsible for the decline of our film industry?
I started my career in showbiz in 1964 and left it in 1995 after working in more than 200 films. I think that one of the reasons for this decline is that now we don't have artistes like Khalil Qaiser, Riaz Shahid, Masood Pervaiz and Khurshid Anwar. The industry is in the hands of illiterate and incapable people. The government, film associations, producers and directors are equally responsible for the fall of our film industry.

What are your views about the screening of Indian movies in Pakistan?
I think Indian movies should not be allowed to be screened in Pakistan as it would increase unemployment after rendering a number of people jobless, especially countless extras and helpers in Evernew and Shahnoor studios. Such a step would only help the millionaire cinema owners to become billionaires. The government should properly think about these people before taking such a step.

Our TV plays are losing popularity. What is the reason?
Yes, you are right. Due to cable the competition is very tough and TV dramas are losing popularity. But still Pakistani dramas are seen all over the world.

What will you say about the popularity of Star Plus in our country?
Indian soaps are very popular among Pakistani women, especially among the teenage girls. In a way it is a matter of concern for us because our youth is being greatly influenced by the Indian culture.

Being a stage actor did you ever take any step with regard to moral decline of our theatre?
I have been associated with theatre for the last 35 years. I had been a member of the governing body of Alhamra Arts Council for 25 years. Some time back I also launched a special campaign in connection with increasing vulgarity and obscenity in theatre. But no one was ready to pay any heed to my word. 'Alhamra grabbers' even hatched a conspiracy against me and they succeeded in ousting me from the governing body. Government has no right to interfere in art institutes; instead these should be run by committees comprising senior artists.

Tell us about your marriage and family?
I had a love-cum-arranged marriage in 1968. My wife was working in the Population Welfare Dept. Our first meeting took place in Alhamra Hall. My two sons are in Canada and I have two daughters. Both are married.

What message would you like to give to the young actors?
You should come in this field after getting proper education and training. You must take your time to decide whether you want to come into showbiz or not. Once you enter this field you should work with full commitment and devotion.

What are your suggestions for the uplift of our film, TV and theatre?
The government should make a policy institute for the performing arts and it should invite the senior artists and take up their suggestions for the uplift of our film, TV and theatre. I think some concrete steps must be taken to save our industry.

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