MUSHTAQUE B BARQ
Dreams know no lessees; no ruler has ever measured the appetite of a dreamer and no earthly book has ever guided him to follow a set of commands. Dreams are dreams; they reside in a world beyond mortal ‘altitudes’ and ‘gravity.’ A dreamer is the monarch of his own sphere drawn on the bank of the ocean to let the sea waves transport him afar the human reach. Art is one such source that enables an artist to live even after the marble on his grave leaves the stationary epitaph as a mark of respect. He lives in the hearts of his admirers and expands his span of life. Art is eternal, so is the artist. One such artist who belongs to a middle-class Agriculturist family who created his own nameplate in the hearts of his lovers and directors by virtue of his talent is G M Wani, known for his seriousness and voice modulation. He was born on 2nd May 1951 in Shivpora, Ram Munshi Bagh , Srinagar Kashmir. After graduating in Arts stream, he was the one who let his incubated ideas crack the shells of limitations and carried forward his passion to be an actor. G M Wani, popularly known as Pran of Kashmir. He has played a major role for the welfare of drama in J&K and sets an example how hard work and determination can turn a stone into a piece of art fit to be decked up. He has participated as British General in prestigious academic production Tipu Sultan staged at Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi and Chandigarh by J& K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. He has acted in more than 400 tele serials, plays and Tele films. G M Wani acted in National hook up tele serial Gul Gulshan Gulfam and Rang Tarang. His role in Kashmira, a feature film produced by Children’s Film Society of India was much applauded. In Sargoshi Wani Sahib played a pivotal role as a friend of Bollywood actor Aluk Nath. In a Web series The Family Man he played a vibrant role of Prime Minister of Pakistan with his Bollywood co-starts like Manoj Vajpai and Gul Panag . In D K Kanwal’s feature film Inqilab he was seen as a matured actor who not only impressed his admirers but also lifted himself up to the expectations of film critics. Apart from his acting he has directed many short films like: Prave under the banner of T S Films for Doordarshan. He directed tele-serial Tchataras , in addition to musical compact programmes for Doordarshan Srinagar like Ranga Rang. He has in his credit tele serial Waaris and Teen Raste and numerous short films on AIDS. His versatility came at fore when he acted as Samad Mir for National network series Samad Mir. He also directed tele-series Kashur Tele Theatre, Mati Aab, Vitasta Ki Sair, Yim Kam Zolan, Dastan Daluk , Dodae Majnoon and Vartaav. In Harud, a popular serial written by Engineer late Mohammad Amin Shakir in 1980, he played the leading role and by sheer touch of excellence attracted the attention of viewers and directors. His role in Harud has made him a household name. In a bi-lingual serial Dhoop Chaon he again proved himself as a resourceful actor for playing a leading role. He is a recipient of prestigious G M Sadiq Memorial Award (2004). He has also been awarded with citation certificate by Prasar Bharti Gandhian Philosophy and Public Service Broadcasting Award 2003.
“Realism is a developed set of dramatic and theatrical conventions with the aim of bringing a greater fidelity of real life to texts and performances. It is a movement to replace the artificial loud style with accurate depictions of ordinary people in plausible situations. G.M.Wani is one among few artists who can easily be dubbed into this category. Wani a diligent and sensitive artist made a mark for himself as an actor in Television. I have seen him transform into a mature actor over the period. Initially, he started with small roles but his determination and constant follow-up proved fruitful and got him a chance in a very popular Serial ALLAV, (1985) written by Mr. Farooq Masoodi and Directed by Farooq Nazki sahib. His portrayal as Khoji Saeb (a timber smuggler) was realistic, sleek & superb which shot him to popularity. He thus emerged as a strong Character Actor of eminence. Thereafter he performed prominent character roles in many productions. Another memorable character that offhand comes to my mind was he as Post man (a widower bringing up his son with moral values) in serial PARVAAZ SE PAHLE, written by Late H K Bharti and Directed by myself. I have always found G M Wani a humble human being, well-mannered, punctual, and disciplined.” Rajesh Kaul, EX. Director Doordarshan, Media Consultant and Educator.
“One of the very senior and seasoned actors of the Valley. A very dedicated artist with a lot of passion for acting. He has worked with me in a number of productions like iconic serial HARUD, telefilm BHAVNA, Play DAAJ and many others. Out of these Serial Harud produced by me and telecast in 1983 was a milestone in his career. The serial and his character Aijaz are remembered to this day. He played this negative character with great finesse. After this, there was no looking back for him and he kept on giving very impressive performances one after the other. He remained one of my favourite actors owing to his diligence understanding and talent. A versatile actor capable of playing varied characters convincingly.” Ashok Jailkhani.
“G M Wani is known as local Pran, a famous Bollywood actor. He started his acting career in the 1970s from DD Srinagar. I remember his role in the serial Dhoop Chawoue this serial was the first multilingual Urdu Kashmiri serial his role as Thakadar was a masterpiece. Wani is a versatile actor with a multidimensional personality. His role as Walter Lawrence is unforgettable. Wani Sahib has worked with me in many serials and plays as an artist. He has the power to improvise scenes. In serial Imaandar, he played as Cobra and that was his best role.” Shabir Mujahid.
“G M Wani is a different kind of actor who knows his worth and applies it sincerely. He is nice man to work with and a skilful artist who is always ready to help the others. I found in him all the traits of a good actor, may it be a serious role or a negative role. He adjusts himself in every role assigned to him. He is a good director as well, under his direction we have witnessed many master pieces.” Zameer Ashaie.
Q:- What prompted you to acting?
I have neither any formal training in acting nor have been backed up by any training school. One thing I have proved i.e. passion is the biggest school where you learn. Basically one is a born actor and the need of the hour is to recognize it as soon as possible. Initially, I took part in Dramas and by the advent of Television, my desire for acting touched newer heights. I submitted my audition form in the drama section which was supervised by Mr. Farooq Nazki but for some advanced training Nazi Sahib had to attend his training in West Germany and I passed my audition under Ashok Jailkhani who approved me. This was the beginning and I never looked back. If you live for a desire, you have the entire world before you, all you must do is to be open to learning. Acting is actually to screen the inner voice through a character you keep living with. The one who knows how to open the doors knows that the gates of excellence shall be waiting for him to gain entry into the world of art and same is true to me.
Q:- It is a dream of every actor to get major roles, how did you find leading roles coming on your way?
It started just after the return of Mr. Farooq Nazki Sahib, he made a serial Alaav in which I got the major break. It was Farooq Masoodi’s script and during our rehearsal, Masoodi Sahib suggested Farooq Sahib that the role of a corrupt contractor needs a mature actor. It was a jolt to my acting career, but Farooq Sahib came to my rescue by convincing Masood Sahib for the reason I had already acted in his film Mujah Mera Naam Dou and Farooq Nazki Sahib was impressed by my acting. The film after almost completing 80% of the shooting was not telecast for the reason best known to director and producer. Working in Alaav was the beginning where I started to cast as the main character. I must admit that in artistic field Farooq Nazki is my ‘God-father’ and I have learned a lot from him. He roughed up my rough edges and polished me to the extent of getting some important role both for Television and Bollywood. I received a lot of encouragement and appreciation from him which really helped me to emerge as a serious actor. It was again Farooq Nazki Sahab who has at his credit to start the first lengthy and most appreciated serial titled Shabrang which was carried forward to 104 episodes by Shri Ashok. This serial was based on the problems being faced by the people in their day to day life. I played one of the leading character in that serial as well. As long as you keep honing your skills, you will always find not only find apt roles but also leave foot marks behind to be followed.
Q:- Why are you called as the Pran of Kashmiri Television world?
I was inspired by watching movies of legendary Bollywood actors Dilip Kumar and late Pran Sahib. I was so much inspired by the acting of Pran and as an actor, I used to imitate him a lot and when I was able to create my own space in Television I performed a few memorable negative characters in many serials especially in the Kashmiri serial Imaandar written by a renowned writer and legendary actor Bashir Dada Sahib and Produced and Directed by Shabir Mujahid Sahab for DDK Srinagar and it was the role of Black Cobra perhaps I got this attribute. When you impress your viewers you often get such attributes and this is a commendable gift every actor would love to enjoy. We all have ideals and I am not an exception, I too follow some of them. I have learnt how to get into the character and deliver by watching Dilip Sahib and when you have to play a negative role, I keep in mind the accuracy and façade of Pran Sahib to justice my role. One learns from experts and one should keep learning.
Q:-What are your memorable films and serials?
It is too difficult to remember the names of those productions which may go beyond 400 in number. However, some of the most memorable serials and films are: Woni Chhu Gatchhan , Telli Chha Marnui , both written by a legendary writer Mr. Farooq Masoodi, UJalee ki Dehleez , Chauraha and Apne Ajnabi, these serials were directed by Shri J K Zutshi. Popular serials like Hazaar Daastan, Juma German Directed by Bashir Budgami Sahab. Sir Walter Lawrence, who has been in Kashmir as settlement commissioner, I feel pleased to have performed this character under the direction of a well-known actor and a capable director of high grade Mr Ayash Arif and of course, series titled Kashmir Ki Sarzameen. I performed a role as Pakistan Prime Minister, in a popular web series The Family Man in 2019. SARGOSHIYAN, a Bollywood feature film, where I played one of the prominent and important character as a friend of famous Bollywood actor Alok Nath and with other Bollywood actors like Fareeda Jalal, Late Tom Altor, Ahsan Khan, Shahbaaz Khan, Hasan Zaidi and Sara Arifeen Khan. I feel myself lucky to work with some of Bellwood’s finest artists namely Parikshit Sahni, Alok Nath, Manoj Vajpayee,Zareena Wahab and Imran Khan. I worked in many popular Kashmiri serials, Insaf, Imandar, Hazar Dastan and Shehjar. In Shehjar, I played an important role of a father and that was much appreciated by one and all.
Q:-As a senior artist what is your message for the forthcoming aspirants?
There is lot of scope in acting and I have faith upon the budding artists that they will carry forward the art of acting. I suggest them to read theatre related literature, watch it keenly, learn from the experts and never keep performing. Hard work can never let you down this is my conviction. I have recently read that Government is looking ahead to initiate theatre classes and training programmes. I wish and hope the budding artists will take due advantage of such programmes. I wish them luck. Out young generation has lot of avenues nowadays and they must come forward to showcase their talent before it gets dumped under the heap of negligence.
Mushtaq B.Barq is a Columnist, Poet and Fiction Writer. He is the author of “Feeble prisoner, “ Wings of Love” and many translation works are credited to the author like “ Verses Of Wahab Khar” and “ Songs Of Sochkral”