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Spotlight: Tariq Amin

Hair stylist par excellence, who has been dabbling in modelling and acting and has of late launched a company to promote the singing talent of our country, Tariq Amin is a man of unusual tastes. He says he loves movies “because it gives me a chance to shut up. Also, I find it one of the most relaxing things.”

However, Amin is not into watching all kinds of movies. Says he “I don’t like romantic comedies — nothing light, in fact. I like thrillers — movies with good plots and stories which are entertaining.” What is even more surprising is that Amin says he was very much into watching Pakistani movies till a decade ago — whether it was a Reema and Shan movie, or one staring Neeli and Jawed Sheikh. Says he “Those were days when you could go with your family to the cinema. Unfortunately the culture of going to movies is extinct now.”

Amin opines that Pakistan “Unlike India, has denied its people its culture, with the result that the arts have been neglected here. We may have tons of TV channels but few good writers, producers and directors. We seem to be striving for mediocrity. Our youth has no icons, unlike India’s. Today, India has the largest film industry in the world, while once we were at par with them.

Why did we get sidetracked, and what is stopping us from making good movies? Our heroes need to do intelligent stuff and we must get educated people in the industry. Arts are all intertwined, and boosting one form of art has a domino effect on the others. We must get over our prejudices.”

Describing movies as “magical — a slice of life or fantasy” Amin says his favourites include Gladiator — an epic, historical film. He says he has no time for movies like Miss Congeniality but wonders of wonders, actually saw the Pakistani film Shararat and liked it! Says he, “I found Shararat funny, it was an amazing comedy.” In fact, Amin has seen some of the more recent Pakistani films as well, such as Salakhain although he admits he didn’t much care for it.

Among the Indian movies that Amin raves about are Black and Sarkar which he found “fantastic and very real to life.” As for Pakistani movies, he rates Umra-O-Jan-Ada very highly and says, “It was a thousand times better than the Indian version Umra-o-Jan. The former was a fantastic film. Our songs, our scripts, our stories were amazing then, and our movies provided good family entertainment. Now everything is loud, crass and vulgar.” Amin is also fond of watching foreign movies with sub-titles.

He recalls a Japanese movie in particular, called Tampopo (Finding the perfect way to cook noodles) and a French film Irreversible. He also says he loves any movie with Jeremy Irons in it. But if Amin had to name one favourite movie, he says it would be Gone With The Wind, which he claims to have watched 23 times and knows half the dialogues by heart.

As for music, Amin is so fond of it that he says if he hadn’t become a hair stylist, he’d have been a rock star. He likes to listen to hard rock and classical music and says he wishes he could sing. He names Deep Purple as one of his favourite groups. However, Amin says “Music for me is very mood-oriented — there’s a time for pop, a time for ghazals and a time for jazz.” However, he says he is more a jazz person than anything else, and 51 per cent of his music collection comprises jazz. Says he “I can’t listen to pop music in the mornings but I can rock with it all night. However, I can listen to jazz anytime.

Says Amin “Music is about image. Music is fashion. In fact fashion and music have had a marriage for centuries. Our music is a thousand times better than India’s for their music only caters to films whereas ours caters to individual tastes, and has a stronger identity.”

Amin says he used to read books a lot once upon a time, but now his reading is mostly confined to the times he goes to Nathiagali, which is not too often, or when he is flying. Says he “I take tons of books with me when I go to Nathiagali. Basically, the only time I can read is when I am doing absolutely nothing. For me, reading means no traffic, no phones. That’s why I read when I’m on vacation, or travelling.”

Admits Amin “I read every publication from cover to cover — such as Newsweek and Time, as I am very into current events and like to keep abreast with everything, but novels and other books require time. I still have to finish Lord of the Rings. I just get no time nowadays.”

The last ‘inspiring’ book that Amin says he read was Moth Smoke, which made him “lose a hundred pounds.” Explains he “The character, Daru, was described as being ‘fat’ — fat with all its negative connotations. So I tore that page and stuck it on my dresser and it became a super inspiration for me.”

However, his favourite author is Milan Kundera, “and that’s because of Fifi Haroon.” Amin says he likes reading autobiographies and the last one he bought was Clinton’s, although he hasn’t got around to reading it as yet. Says he “I buy books all the time in the hope that I’ll get a chance to read them.”

If readers thought Tariq Amin has unusual taste in music and movies, wait till they hear the name of his all-time favourite book. Amin says the book he rates the highest is “The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.” On a more serious note, though he says “I like Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth very much. I enjoy fun and humorous reading. It’s a story about two drag queens who live across the hall from each other.”

Favourite Movie: Gone With The Wind
Favourite Music: Jazz
Favourite Book: The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

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