By Mushtaque B Barq
The rustle of leaves may initially infuriate a few, it may even at times bequeath an inkling hard to decipher when one in the fancy of euphoria inadvertently plugs his ears. He moves on the dew unaided, feels renewed and rejoiced. Just after a zephyr, the hair signals the change subsequently attire and attitude. This is all that life teaches, nitpicky lessons and soft skills. The sensitive cognizance in reciprocation yanks the earplugs and the swirl of leaves oblige the change. The same is true with artists, no one from the womb becomes what he aims at, though learns early how to refer to its presence by that ‘loving kick’. An artist is a type that knows the way to the summit. He falls, bruises his carcass, learns and rises. His rise is like a ray of optimistic well-lit gleam after a prolonged battle between clouds and an azure roof. The morning dew may wet his sole but then the light of hope is always there to encourage him. Artists know how to rise after a fall and how to win the hearts of his admirers which is his abode of eternity. One such artist who came into the limelight like the morning streaks, but with the passage of time impressed both his audience and professionals as well with the kind of natural and effortless acting is Qazi Faiz Ahmad popularly known as Qazi Faiz, born on 11 April 1954 at Kolipora, Khanyar, Srinagar Kashmir. He passed his matriculation from Hari Singh High School Rainawari and graduated from Islamia College of Science and Commerce Srinagar Kashmir. Qazi Faiz joined the theatre in 1974 and his first play was Yeli Sangar Pholan written by Bashir Dada. Qazi participated in the first-ever stage Drama Festival organised by Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar in Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir in 2006. He has also performed in Opera Tipu Sultan in various states conducted by the J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 1981. His radio career started in 1975 in Yuva Vani Service. He participated in various plays, serials, featured programmes and documentaries. His presence in Lala Joo and Sons, Alif Laila, Kuddar and Hatim Tai was marked and analysed by experts, He became a household name in the Radio feature programme Aalav Baya Aalav. He acted in the Kashmiri feature film Inqalaab in 1989. Qazi Faiz besides acting is a director. He has directed the popular TV serial Voukir Bana. Acting being his passion, Qazi Fiaz has served State Horticulture Department in ministerial cadre for 36 years and retired in 2012. He was awarded by the J&K Cultural Academy of Art, Culture and Languages and Doordarshan in 2005 for various roles he played in plays and serials. He also worked for Debonair Productions in Neela Nagina and in a series of children’s stories in the Kashmiri language. His role in Sarkar according to Shakeel-ur- Rehman, a famous Kashmiri fiction writer and Theatrist has been a prototype of stage acting.
An artist who is known for playing different and unusual characters is categorized as a character actor. To fully transform into a character, to be truthfully and emotionally connected needs tremendous hard work, observation, technique and deep insight into human behavior. Qazi Faiz to my mind is one such actor who excels in playing eccentric or unusual people and adds verisimilitude to the story.
Like many others, Qazi Faiz also walked into the premises of Television Srinagar in the early ’70s with perhaps a set mind that he has to perform as a supporting artist. With his versatility in acting, he carried his persona from role to role and sometimes against the persona as well. Initially, his roles ranged from a college student, protagonists’ friend, brother, humble & faithful servant sometimes cunning and corrupt too. In due course of time, he graduated to playing uncle, father, police inspector doctor or advocate, etc. A humble neighbor, caring friend and a well-wisher type role came to be his specialty may be due to his suave appearance and curve of a smile on lips. Generally, he played “sympathetic” characters but, on occasion, he played the heavy and harsh characters with equal ease which were incredibly powerful.
Rajesh Kaul, Ex-Director and Head of Dept. Media Centre Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts informs us that Qazi Faiz is a person of unaffected simplicity, he has a good understanding of dramatic techniques and the ability to enter into another character. Rajesh Koul believes that Qazi Faiz is a kind of artist who is known for playing different and unusual characters. His acting range has time and again transformed him as a matured actor. To be truthfully and emotionally connected, Qazi has worked hard, his observation are wonderful, his technique and deep insight as enabled him to learn and present human behavior on the screen. Qazi Faiz to my mind is one such actor who excels in playing eccentric or unusual people and adds verisimilitude to the story.
Tariq Javid, a veteran actor of the Valley reveals “Qazi Faiz is a brand in himself. He has played all sorts of roles, serious and comedy and character roles with the same enthusiasm and energy. His acting has a unique blend of emotions and expressions that makes him different from the rest. His growth as an actor is an inspiration to all especially to newcomers in the field. Give him any role minor or major, you will find him accurate and reasonable.”
Dr. Ayash Arif says, “Qazi Faiz is one of the forerunners of theatre movement in Kashmir. He is in a real sense a brilliant artist who has a tremendous command to project all shades of acting whether it is serious or tragic or a humorous. Qazi Faiz is such brilliant artist and he plays all types of characters maintaining artistic excellence that is much required and expected of him. His contribution in all the three mediums of entertainment that is Radio-Television and Theatre has always been outstanding and par excellence. Luckily Qazi has done a couple of famous productions with me wherein his performance has received tremendous applause from our viewers especially his character as KOTRO SAB infamous serial CHARI TRUCH is still alive in the hearts of the public. The most remarkable achievement of this brilliant artist is that he is still active so far as his passion for theatre is concerned. He is born intelligent and self-trained actor.”
Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan, Director / Producer for Theatre, Radio and Television informs that Qazi Faiz is known to him for last four decades. “We acted together in stage plays, in Radio plays and in Films and serials of TV, since eighties. Later on he acted in the stage Plays, Radio serials and TV serials under my direction. He is a very dedicated actor. He continues to work on stage, on radio and on TV with the same zeal and energy. He is a very popular actor in the masses.”
Bashir Dada, another veteran actor-director and poet has provided us a profound insight into Qazi’s acting career. “I know him very closely, his acting range is better than his contemporaries. His dedication and commitment are exemplary. He would wait hours together for his shot without complaint or grudge. I remember once on the sets when things were getting boring, we started to pull his leg by throwing a challenge. It was though so simple, we demanded him to sing in the high pitch, he surprised us by melodious voice. He played so many characters with me and I also performed under his directions. His maturity as an artist can never be ignored.
Mushtaq Bala, another popular filmmaker of our Valley has something special to say. He refers to Qazi as a serious actor who has been much inspired by a famous Bollywood actor Naseer-ud-din Shah. “Qazi has worked for my Production House and I found him so cooperative and well-versed with acting range.”
Q :-What motivated you to be an actor?
Everything is destined and I believe, that one only obeys his instincts. From my childhood I was much inclined to perform on the theatre. I was looking for a chance and when it came to my way I took it as a challenge. I love challenges only because I am self-motivated person. I took that opportunity I was looking for and it worked. I performed that luckily it was good enough to attract the attention of the directors who later on encouraged me to act and I kept myself motivated to accept the challenges. It is not necessary what motivates you, but what matters is how well you know explore your potential and that is enough for promotion. Acting is one such potential I reconnoitered and I worked hard to polish it for the reason that I had a dream to project myself as an actor and thank God I was successful in converting my dream into reality. It is true when you stay enthused you can take your artistic efforts to newer heights. I started with acting and now I am a director and people have appreciated my growth which is the only key that unlocks many unexplorable doors. So keep inspiring yourself, feed your genuine needs and keep learning. These are the modules that ensure fruit.
Q :-You are known as Rashe Lal in public domain, kindly share with us the secret of it.
It is so pleasing for any artist that he is known by the character name he has played. It is a success story. Actually it was Shabrang that was produced by Jenab Farooq Nazki and written by Gh. Nabi Khayal. I was playing Rashe Lal in the said play. My role in the play was much applauded by the general masses and in public domain I was and I am still known as Rashe Lal. The story doesn’t end here when I acted in Setchni Mazoor , my role was liked by my admirers and they would call me Setchi Mazoor. So it is a privilege for any artist if he is known for his work. I am lucky like others to earn a respectable place in the hearts of people who showered love and affection. An actor lives by his characters and that matters a lot because that injects in you a fresh pulse that in turn helps you to stay motivated. An artist creates a niche of his own and lives in it, it is kind of his own world of which he is the ruler and his admirers are his valuable subjects. He works for them, represents them, highlights their plight and pain on the stage, shares their joy and jubilation on the screen and above all he gives his viewers a vent to express anger, anguish and resentment through the character he takes over. A serious performer always picks the characters from the bunch and presents a realistic view before the audience thus he acts as a bridge between the government and the people. He brings out what is expected amidst his artistic performance. I believe that an actor earns a name only when his objective is crystal clear. I am happy because these titles have kept me alive in the hearts of my audience even in times when the digital world has reached its zenith. I am thankful to God that I have been able to peep down the sternum of the audience since I took over as an actor and this is the only strength I keep nursing because I have to do a lot for my audience and I promise I will never let them down.
Q :-What are the reasons of decline in theatre activities?
Well! It is unfortunate because we had an opulent theatre culture that has not been taken care of. In the rat race of mundanity, people have forgotten how to get entertained. Entertainment plays a key role in one’s overall development. There are a few reasons like unavoidable conditions that have engulfed the entire society which in turn has created an unimaginable chasm. The second is that the dramatic clubs have not taken an initiative to attract the attention of a common man. We have recently celebrated a theatre week, so many selected plays were staged but the footfall was less. There are other reasons as well like government should have rescued this industry when it was sinking beyond restoration. The Theatre industry is the worst hit owing to the above mention causes, but we have not lost hope, people who are connected to this industry are active even at their own level and they are trying to restore it. It is a mutual responsibility of viewers and artists to work for its renewal. Whenever we have a theatrical activity, people must visit and observe our efforts and their feedback can uplift the morale of the artists. There is daybreak after every night, I am hopeful that theatre activities shall continue and people will come to see our activities.
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