BY MUSHTAQUE B BARQ
Merciless is death, miraculous is life and in between this scrimmage of lifespan and decease, a man breathes amongst his companions and carries on what fate has inscribed. The dawn of magnificent morning has but a wringing dusk to follow, making the wheel of time to complete the gyre of life. From the first streak of light to crimson mist up in the Vast, one is ignorant for he is always followed by an invisible angel to pick him up as the choicest one. In this mighty ‘move’ of an infinite loop, we are either carried to rise the next morning or terminated before the dusk to mark our grave. Nothing is permanent save human memories and agonies for the show never to be stopped. While I was preparing a synopsis for this series, his name was suggested by many big guns of the film industry and I started to frame his profile only to have a friendly chat with him to complete his interview. Alas! This profile with a heavy heart has to be changed into Obituary. Dear Tariq, you pulled the curtain before I explored your capacity as a dynamic Bollywood actor-director.
Tariq Shah was a smart actor who shifted to Mumbai in the early 1980s. He was the discovery of Bollywood king Dilip Kumar who introduced him to the film industry for the reason he was a dashing young man with a lot of potentials. He settled in Mumbai and married a famous Bollywood actress Shoma Anad. He is considered as the film Kashmiri actor who acted in Bollywood films and later directed films as well. He started his career in the early 1970s from Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar when he was seen as an anchor in the youth programme Nayea Chirag. He could hide his actor in him and brought it on the mini screen when he played major roles in plays and TV films and worked with D N Goswami, Zaffer Ahmad and Mehmood Qureshi. In 1991 he acted in Bahaar Aane Tak along with Sumeet Saigal, Rupa Ganuli and Mun Mun Sen. He directed Janam Kundli in 1996 in which Jitendra, Vinod Khanna, Reena Roy, Anu Agarwal, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal played their respective roles. He also Produced Yeh Manzelein Hai Pyar Ki. The Television Serials he directed in 1988-89 were: Kadwa Sach , Jawab Inihe Deejiya (A Tele-film) Khatti Methi Baatein, Wohi Hota Hai Jo, Doosra Pehlu , Gumnaam Hai Koi, Be Pyaraan Intizarus and Mumbai Central. He directed Heena, Tu Naseeb Hai Kisi Aur Ka for Sony TV and for Zee TV Tariq directed Philips Top Ten. He acted in Kalinga, the incomplete film directed by Dilip Kumar.
The condolence messages all over the world have been carried by leading newspapers of India and Dubai. People of his land are equally traumatized because for the most of the people he was an actor of par excellence, but those who were unaware of his stature as a Bollywood actor are shocked to know that Kashmir had produced such a dynamic actor who made it to Mumbai. His confidence to prove himself in a metro city is considered a source of inspiration. He has macadamised the road to Mumbai and upcoming artists only have to follow in his footsteps.
“Tariq was so close to our family. He was an excellent actor and above all best family friend. He was a skillful director. He lived in Mumbai with honour and dignity and created a niche of his own. His struggle taught him much and he channelised it perfectly. He was humble and full of humility. I can’t believe that he is not with us today. It is life, my condolences to his family.” Saira Banu .
“A kind man was Tariq Shah. He was known for his gentle behaviour and polished conduct. His loss is a national loss. He was seriously thinking of doing some big projects for the artists of Srinagar. People of his land must be in shock as we are all.
Death is inevitable and we all have to taste it. May Tariq rest in peace.” Tabassum Fatima Hashmi, known by the mononym Tabu, Indian Film Actress.
“Before shifting to Mumbai Tariq Shah was a household name in Kashmir because of his personal charm and the memorable roles he played in Doordarshan Kashmir. I had a delightful experience of directing him as the hero of Ali Mohammad Lone’s stage play Jheel Bula Rahi hai for J&K Cultural Academy in 1975. The play was the highlight of the Kashmir Festival in Bombay. He was a very spontaneous actor and it was in that production that he was noticed there by the film fraternity that had come to witness the play. We have lost a very talented artist and a good human being.” Pran Kishore, Director and dramatist and novelist.
“He was a talented and versatile filmmaker, a dynamic character and above all a good human being. He always remained number one on Srinagar’s screen and when he moved to Mumbai he never lost the touch. He is one of the earliest telecasters of Doordarshan India. He started from DD Srinagar and was going well for last 40 years, but nature cut his journey short which is a shock to me and my generation of people.” Faruq Nazki, Broadcaster and retd. Director Doordarshan.
“Tariq Shah became a part of Srinagar DD right from its inception in the seventies. He got associated as an anchor and as an actor. With a very attractive personality, he got noticed everywhere and was sought after as an actor. Though we never worked together yet we had a very pleasing rapport. Soon after he left for Mumbai to make a mark in the Film Industry. He sought of became a role model for youngsters who harboured an ambition for films. That was the time when I was very active in theatre. I remember very vividly that he called me up from Mumbai expressing his desire to do theatre and act in my productions. Probably once in Mumbai he realised that a stint in theatre shall give him more exposure and confidence to work in films. Sadly for some reasons that did not happen. A fine very cultured gentleman with a very warm and expressive smile. Once he came to see me in Delhi. I was staying with my Aunty in Green Park Delhi. In the very first meeting, he and my Aunty struck a warm cord. Thereafter he visited my aunty a couple of times in Delhi without me being there.
The last time I saw him was in 2012 when I was still in DD as ADG. I found him sitting in the waiting room of the office waiting for some officer. I immediately took him to my room and made him comfortable. His smile and warmth have always remained with me. Though we were not very close nor did we meet often, yet somehow I feel that I have lost someone very close.” Ashok Jailkhani, an eminent broadcaster and well-known theatre personality.
“Tariq and I entered Television Centre Srinagar at almost the same time in the later part of 1972, he was an anchors and I was as a participant in youth programme Yawun. Tariq that time had just returned from Bombay (now Mumbai) after completing a diploma in acting from Sagar School of acting there. His talent indigenous style and photogenic looks and suave personality soon gave him recognition and popularity. With his gaining popularity Television authorities engaged him in presenting the most prestigious show of that time SHOKHYAN (a progamme based on film songs and dances). But he could not satisfy his actor within. The acting was his prowess and soon he was roped into television dramas by the authorized audition committee that time. It was Late Zafar Ahmad an NSD product and drama producer (then) who cast him in his Plays. We acted together in some of the plays. Shri Devender Goswami (then programme executive) TV Srinagar recognized his potential and wrote and directed plays like EXTRA NAHI, ZAN- ZAN- ZAN and TARUF keeping Tariq in mind as the protagonist. Extra Nahi gave him further recognition as the play went in chain telecast from four major stations including Bombay (now Mumbai). Thereafter Tariq landed in Bombay in the mid-70’s to try in films.
Tariq Shah’s debut film in the lead role was AAYI TERI YAAD released in 1980, directed by Krishna Naidu and starring Shashi Puri, Meera. He is known for his films Bahaar Aane Tak, Gumnaam Hai Koi, Mumbai Central and multi starrer Janam Kundli (Vinod Khanna, Jeetendra, Reena Roy and Anupam Kher). He also directed the TV serial Kadwa Such in the 80’s for DD National.
Tariq was a sensitive actor, capable director, sensible human being ever- smiling, soft spoken and descent. He was a caring friend a refined host with a golden heart. It is hard to believe that this dear friend is no more with us.
You went in a jiffy… ‘Dost’. It is beyond the words to express this grief. You will be missed dearly. May you be blessed in the next life. Rest in eternal peace dear friend. My heart aches while saying ….. Adieu Tariq…. adieu.” Rajesh Koul, Ex- Director and Head of Dept. Media Centre Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts.
“I have always enjoyed writing. It’s my job, my passion because it gives me immense pleasure and helps me live my dreams. But when I was asked to write about Shah (Tariq), I couldn’t. My hands are trembling, I’m crying, missing my SHAH PUTRA. I never called him by his real name as it’s been my habit of giving a nickname to the people who are close to me as it gives me a sense of security and is just a way of expressing my love for my loved ones. Tariq and I started our journey together in July 1974. Like many others, we came to Bombay with lots of hopes and dreams. Most of the people thought we were brothers as we were always together. Sometimes they would call me Tariq and ask about Talat and the same would happen with Tariq Shah too. We were one soul with two bodies and we were literally inseparable. We did everything together from struggling to starving, crying, and laughing together, and finally saw fame and name together as well. We enjoyed every bit of life even though we had our tiffs too. Sometimes we would have arguments in our work session and I could not control my anger and I would just walk out of his office and stop talking to him for days to come. But then he too had a strange way of reacting to my anger. He would call another replacement writer to his office and also make sure that I got the news. Every day the new writer would come to sit, wait and Tariq shah would make an excuse and send him off asking him to come back the next day. Shoma ( Tariq’s Wife), our common friend used to watch this happen all the time and get angry and ask Tariq, “When you don’t have the time and are in no mood to listen to other writers, why do you call them every day? I know you don’t want any other writer. You are missing Talat, let me call him.” He would just smile back and say, Non-veg banana uske liye, aus ko bohat pasand hai. Not easy to continue, my fingers and hands are numb. The choice of selecting a script was always given to me and he never interfered in my writing. Whatever I wrote, he shot it. He never learned direction, he was an actor, but with every shot, he took he always surprised the best of the technicians. He was a great director, a great actor, and a great friend, be it from TV serials to movies, he saw so many ups and downs but kept on giving his best. He was a brave man, but couldn’t see a drop of blood. I could have never even dreamed that one day he will leave me and I will have to write about him. He took a part of me with him leaving me lonely and empty. I am going to miss my SHAH PUTRA till I am alive. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah (Aameen).” Talat Rekhi.
“As an actor, he proved himself on the mega screen. I remember when in one of the interviews film star Jitendra was asked who had impressed him as a director. The actor without any hesitation declared Tariq Shah and Basu Batacharia’s as his choice. He counted Tariq as the best directors he has worked with. He was keen to promote Kashmiri talent and there was something big on cards, but with his death, so many things died with him.
I remember how I persuaded him to shoot in Kashmir. Initially he was not willing to come,but then on my request he changed his mind and agreed to shoot in Kashmir. It was after a gap of two decades he shoot a multi starrer TV serial ‘ Pather Ki Lakeer’ for ARY Digital and ‘Gulmuth’ for Doordarshan. The stricking features of this production was that he involved local artist who had only heard of Tariq Shah, but had never worked under his dynamic direction. It boosted their morale and that worked in favour of the production. Tariq not only occupied stage but also big screen at Bollywood. His loss is huge both for the Kashmir Film makers and Bollywood. May Allah grant him Jannah.” Mushtaq Bala, Film maker.
“I was shocked to know about the sad demise of the famous Bollywood film celebrity Tariq Shah. A Kashmiri based star who was a great human being also. I had met him only twice and both times I felt proud of him. His demise is a great loss to the film world in general and the performing artist fraternity of Kashmir in particular as he was a great source of inspiration for many talented young artists of his homeland. I pray for the eternal peace of his soul. May Allah give strength to the bereaved family to bear this painful tragedy.” Aziz Hajini, Convenor of Sahitya Academy.
“He was a perfect person for screen. He later on preferred to direct films for the reason that he knew the art of making films. His personality is a prototype for mega screen. His loss is huge. May Allah grant him highest place in Janna” Bashir Dada, Actor- Director.
“I knew Tariq from the early seventies. During my SP college days, he was associated with the Drama group and had a great sense of stage management. God had gifted him catchy looks which made him a more sought out actor for lead roles in different stage plays. With the advent of the Srinagar Television center, he shifted to a new medium of the silver screen and excelled. He was favourite of all and played some memorable roles in many TV serials and plays. He shifted to Bombay and craved a deserving place in Indian cinema. He had a great association with the thespian of Indian cinema Dilip Kumar. I always found him down-to-earth, soft-spoken, and above all honest to the core. Alas, the cruel hands of death finally snatched him from us; Leaving us crying. Tariq, we shall miss you always.” Bashir Arif, Dy.Director General, Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
“Tariq Shah was a kind human being. His grace would inspire any not to talk of TV artists. He was an introverted kind of person, but with me he was what a friend must be. His style and splendor was beyond words. His was a skilful actor. His loss cannot be fulfilled. He left us in tears and we will always remember him for his contribution in earning a space as a Kashmiri actor in Bollywood. May Allah grant Jannat-ul-Firdous to him.” Tariq Javid, Actor- Director.
“When I joined the field of art Tariq Shah had moved to Mumbai and made a mark with special reference to praises showered by legendary Dilip Kumar. I met him through my friend Mushtaq Bala who had been his close associate all along. By the time I developed a personal equation which I could term friendship too Tariq was trying to accomplish what he couldn’t do in front of the camera but was keen to do it as a Director, where he looked like a daydreamer with the potential to translate dreams into reality. Many of my memories with him are related to this period. He had a sense of appreciation for literature and poetry. During a shoot at Srinagar, we had leisure time in the lawns of a hotel at Raj Bagh. During our conversation, I quoted a verse from Bashir Badar
Dushman Bhi Jo Chahay Tou Meri Chaoun Mein Baithay
Mein Eik Ghana Paied Sare Rah Guzar houn.
Tariq in response quoted:
Log Pathar Maartay Hein Unko Phal Deyta Houn Mein
Aadmi Ki Apni Fitrat Paied Kay Apnay Asool.
The title of the directorial venture film of Tariq was Bahar Aanay Tak (Till the spring comes) and in his real-life too he waited till the spring came and left his friends and admirers in tears. With every blossom, he will be remembered as if he has opened his speaking and mesmerising eyes in every flower in the nook and corner of his motherland Kashmir which will miss him after his demise more so because Mumbai his city of dreams has become a place of his final resting.” Amin Bhat, Writer-Director.
“The untimely demise of legendary actor and director of Bollywood and a son of soil Tariq Shah Sahib has thrown all of us in a terrible state of shock. Tariq shah is the first actor from Doordarshan Srinagar who proved his extraordinary mettle not only small screen but made it to the big silver screen as a hero and as a director, His extraordinary talent and his beautiful looks and smart personality with a tremendous amount of hard work is the key of his success .other than a brilliant actor he was a great friend and down to earth personality. He entered the Indian film industry when there was no chance for outsiders as there was complete dominance of dynasty rule but he made his way in Bollywood with his great talent and hard work. Nowadays it is not so difficult for newcomers to find their entry into the film industry because there are multiple sources available for an actor to survive in the film industry like small screen and other web platforms are available for them, but during the 80s when Tariq shah shifted to Mumbai his ultimate goal was to act in feature films and it was too difficult for new talent to survive in Mumbai without any patronage and financial support. But Tariq Shah fought against all odds and proved himself a good actor and a talented director. He would welcome all his friends and made them comfortable whosoever visits him even during his early days of career, nothing had blocked his head he was always YAROAN KA YAAR. May his soul rest in peace.” Ayash Arif, Actor-Director.
“He was the finest actor I have come across, a great human being, full of compassion for everybody. He never ran after publicity, money and fame. A rare blend of moral attributes. He was a great director. One can think of his talent when actors like Dilip Kumar recognized him as a genuine actor. He was a God-fearing man. It is not easy to describe him in words, you need to feel his personality and passion. If I start describing him he would look like a saint than an actor, so kind, down to earth, no ego and above all, he was an epitome of fellow feeling. He was humble, he never struck an attitude and was helpful to everyone. He used to go down to help anyone irrespective of his race and region and religion. He did not get what was due, the kind of talent he was equipped with because he was against self-praise and promotion. He would often say that there will be a generation that will discover his talent. It is painful to me to lose someone like Shah. I have lost my brother, my companion. To be sincere one cannot find any such person in this century in Bollywood.” Ashok Koul, Film maker Mumbai.
“Tariq Shah was a lovely person, a friend of friends. I remember when I was working with Dilip Sahib, Tariq would drop in to discuss films. He was an impressive director than an actor, had he focused on direction from the very early ages, he would have been considered as one of the icons in Bollywood. He was a serious director. His death is a personal loss to me and the entire fraternity.” Deepak Kanwal, Writer.
The ways and means of survival have decked up this life to the extent that its interesting mystery has further sweetened it otherwise the world would have been a boring game without emotions and feelings. In my life one of the strongest threads that toehold my relations was Tariq Shah now that is torn into bits. I know Tariq when he was not an actor and I was not in direction. We would either communicate on the phone or on occasions when he would come here or I would visit Mumbai. He impressed one and all when he performed in Match a Kashmiri drama written by Dr. Nazir Mushtaq. He was keen to do something for Kashmir. He is no more with us today and I have lost a great friend. May he rest in peace.” Zahid Manzoor, Ex DD Asst, Director.
“While attending a function in the press club I heard the sad news that Kashmiri actor and producer-director in Bollywood Mr. Tariq Shah is no more. Everyone was shocked and we offered Fateh there only. Tariq Shah was a handsome intelligent and best and dedicated professional. He started his career in DD Srinagar as anchor and then he acted in many plays and serials. He earned a name in a very short span of time. He acted as a hero in my first script Maetch, a Kashmiri play of a mentally deranged woman. It was a super hit production of DD Srinagar. He became my friend. Tariq had big dreams so he left his motherland and settled in Mumbai. He acted as the lead role in 25 feature films. He was not satisfied, so he moved to production and direction. Tariq Shah was a very hard-working and talented actor, Producer and Director.
He was always busy and in search of good scripts. He was respected in the film industry for his humbleness. Last few years he was not in positive health. He had chronic kidney disease and had to undergo dialysis frequently. He fought his illness like a brave soldier but alas! He lost his battle on 3rd April 2021 and left for an eternal journey. He left his wife Shoma and daughter Saira behind him. He will be remembered always by his fans and friends. I will always miss him. May Allah Grant him Janna.” Dr. Nazir Mushtaq, Fiction writer.
“Tariq, Talat and I started our career around the same time way back in 1971applying an admission at Poona institute, knowing the fact that we all cannot get admission in the same stream two of the three would be dropped off, but still competed with each other, finally, none of us making it to the institute, later in 1974 we all began all over again looking for stardom in tinsel town and over the period of time all of us found our ways in Bollywood, when as a producer in 1989 I was making my first feature film Naya Rishta once again we three came together Tariq playing the lead, Talat writing the film, he not only acted but a time came when the project was hit by some financial problems Tariq came forward with financial help and I completed the film.
One thing is worth mentioning that Tariq never lost his appetite for Kashmir, he was always dreaming, that whenever he will get an opportunity to make a film he will come back to Kashmir to shoot, it so happened that when he got the project of Bahar Aaney Tak he made it a point to shoot the film in Kashmir. The ‘70s was a time when hardly anybody would opt for a career in the film industry but today Tariq Shah has been an inspiration for the younger generation, there is a lot to speak of a forty five years of association but time has its own limitations, I sum up here with the last Post of Tariq Shah.”
Roz Milna aor Pass Rehna Aasan Nahi Laikin Roz
Dauaon aor Achay Lafzoun Mein Yaad Karna Mushqil Be Nahi
Rub ul Aalamin Aap ko Hamesha Khushhal aor Aabad Rahke ..amen.
It was the last post I received from Tariq Shah”,Parvez Malik, Film maker.
“It was really shocking news about the demise of Tariq Shah. The entire artist fraternity is in shock. He was a nice human being, down-to-earth, great actor and director. He proved his worth in Television Srinagar then in Bollywood too. We have spent a very good time together in Srinagar as well as in Mumbai. Everybody knows that one has to leave this world one day or the other. He has left us. He will be remembered always for his good deeds and his contribution. May Allah bestow HIS choicest blessings on his soul.” Zameer Ashaie, Actor- Director.
“It was way back in 1974 when I started doing acting in short plays/skits for the Children Programmes of DD Srinagar (that time it was called ‘Srinagar Television Centre’). I was a kid those days and I used to watch Tariq Shah and other senior actors doing plays and serials. I was inspired by my seniors, especially by Tariq Shah. From the very beginning, he was a very nice human being, always smiling and very handsome. He was the heartthrob of many. Within few years he shifted to Mumbai (then Bombay). In the early 80’s we met again in Mumbai when I was part of the Cultural Troupe of Kashmir University.
He invited all of us to watch his latest movie Aayi Teri Yaad in a small auditorium specially booked for us. Then in 2017 when I started holding ‘KASHMIR WORLD FILM FESTIVAL’ in Srinagar, I contacted him and invited him to the festival so that we could ‘Felicitate’ him. Being very shy he was reluctant to come. I also approached him through our common friend Mr. Ashok Kaul. Then I along with Mr. Talat Rekhi went to his residence to invite him. He accepted the invitation and promised to attend the next edition of our festival as a guest of honour. Alas! We did not get a chance to have him at the festival, he left so early.” Mushtaque Ali, Actor-director.
“I knew him since 1974, we met for the first time in the makeup room of Srinagar TV, where he was rehearsing for the comparing of Naye Chirag in which I also had a segment to perform. Tariq did some memorable roles in some plays. He left us but he will remain alive in our memories. May his soul rest in eternal peace.” Syed Zeeshan Fazil, Writer and Film maker.
“I was the floor Manager when he moved to Mumbai, but we remained in touch with each other and would share work experiences. He was a noble soul and would guide everyone whosoever approached him. He was a seasoned actor and above all a man with golden heart. He had leant a very important lesson of life i.e. Unity in diversity.” Shabir Mujahid, Ex-Director, Doordarshan
“Death is a noble truth. It is just a matter of time, we will all be following you Dear Tariq Shah. We can only send our vibration of sweet memories, and you will occupy special shelf in the back of our minds. Tariq Shah, we feel helpless that we cannot communicate with you anymore. My you rest in peace. Phonsok Ladakhi.” An FTII trainer actor from Ladakh worked in many Bollywood films.
Death is an unescapable reality. We all have to bury our dear ones and get buried in reciprocation. Those who are buried conceal their memories in the pulsating hearts of those who close the gate of graveyard and leave in disguise but in their profundity, they place the memories on their safe shelves of love and in seclusion they weep and pray. The entire Film fraternity of Kashmir is shocked and stand with the bereaved family and pray for the deceased soul. May Allah grant patience to the grieved family and peace to the departed soul.
Let thy epitaph read
The grief concealed in our hearts
And let our eyes see
Daffodils whirling in prayers
Like our submitted heads before the Lord
To ask for mercy and pity… M. Barq.
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”