By Mushtaque B Barq
Memories are sweet and bitter. Sweet memories titter our ribcage and we respond by expanding our cheek muscles and laugh. The bitter ones not only intensify our beats but also snatches a slice of our life for the reason that death is inexorable. Most people live only after they are moved into the realms of ether. They are remembered for their cherished contributions and live in the hearts of their admirers. The mortal frames may not be around us, but the memories, these eternal coins live and multiple with our growth. It is true that an artist lives more comfortably when his works are analysed, debated after this death. Art only can triumph over time and the artist lives for the ages through his contributions. Vijay Suri, an excellent creative writer whom we lost was a genuine creative writer, Producer, Director and Actor as well. His range of creativity was so extensive that he was able to lift up his artistic potential from theatre to Television and landed in the mount of Cinema. His prose writing as per his readers and experts was full of intense in terms of themes. His was considered as Golden Voice of Radio. As a writer, he started with Urdu when he was just 18 years of age. His famous Urdu Novels include Akhiri Sauda; published in 1960, Ak Naav Kagaz Ki ; published in 1963, Kanch Aur Pathher, published in 1966 and A collection of short stories in Urdu. Apart from novels, he wrote hundreds of Dramas, Tele-films, documentaries and Television plays for Television and All India Radio and Radio Kashmir. His Tele-film Mujhe Jawab Do was telecast on National Network and was selected for National Film Festival in 1985. His contribution in writing the script for Vadi Ki Aawaz cannot be ignored.
Vijay Suri’s other dimension was his acting. He was an inborn actor. He was later raised to the level of being A Grade Voice of All India Radio apart from being A Grade Drama Artist of Doordarshan Kendra Srinagar. He acted in hundreds of theatrical performances. His performance as the villain was unmatched. Unchi Udaan by Jagjeet Khurana, Bhed Bhav, by Tariq Shah, Murde Ki Jaan Khatre Mein Hai by J. Omprakash. Maati Maange Khoon, Kalka by Shatrughan Sinha.
As Director he has not only directed Tele- Serials and Tele-Films, documentaries and Television Plays and Theatre Plays. He directed Ram Lila at Tagore hall Srinagar Kashmir with modern additions, including sound recording and music recording.
As a journalist, he has rendered his services as assistant editor for the monthly Urdu Magazine Takhleeq in Delhi. He later joined another newspaper Sandesh as editor. 1n 1970 he joined the daily Urdu newspaper Daily Ujaala as an editor. He was considered as one of the Legendary Artists of J & K and Jammu Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. He served as a Drama Producer in the Song and Drama Division Ministry of I &B. In 1965, First Drama Festival of J&K State was organized in Jammu by Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art Culture & Languages, in this drama festival he acted in a Punjabi play- Naviyan Raawan– and won the Best Actor Award by the State Government. He was awarded for his acting in Utsarg by Tagore, Janwar by Prof Madan Mohan Sharma, Sakharam Binder by Vijay Tendulkar, Aadhe Adhure by Mohan Rakesh and Baki Itihaas by Badal Sarkar, Aadhe Adhure by Mohan Rakesh, Pinjara ( A Dogri play ), Hirkhe Di Chhan ( a Dogri play ), Ek Parchama Badly Da (a Dogri play by Prof Madan Mohan Sharma, Sahitya Akademi Award Winning writer from the state ). He is also the recipient of SUR ARADHNA AWARD and the National Award for his outstanding contribution in the field of Art and Culture.
Bashir Dada , actor, director and writer writes, “Vijay Suri had acted in a Tele Serial Dugh ( in Urdu) For DD – 1. The Character in Tele Serial “Dugh” Mr Suri Played Gani Kak an influential Landlord of the whole area whom the people virtually used to worship. The Serial was written and directed by me so I got the opportunity of witnessing all the dimensions of his actions personally.
I had already acted with that Great Artist in Tele Serial Parvaz Se Pehle written by Late HK Bharati and directed by All times Great Director Mr Rahesh Kaul. The Character of the late Vijay Suri in that Serial was a Gangster and I used to chase him as a Police officer performing that challenging character with an actor of a great stature taught me a lot. Vijay Suri and I became good friends and worked together on many projects. His acting range was extremely rich. His voice modulation and facial expression were superb. His timing was class. He was a good human being and very emotional by nature.”
I have had an honour of working in a theatre play JANWAR under the direction of Late Vijay Suri way back in the 70s. The play was staged at Tagore Hall ,Srinagar . Vijay Suri was a perfectionist and I have observed that he would check the minute details of the entire production himself. Vijay Suri was a friend, and was fond of Late Tariq Shah . Whenever Tariq would visit kashmir Suri would make it a point to party with him and other friend like Ashraf Shawl,
Mushtaq Bala, Film maker.
It is quite obvious, local language always puts main impact on everything, which includes drama as well and if anyone makes a niche in the area which is not his mother tongue region , we can assess the capabilities of that Artist. Yes he was Vijay Suri.A dynamic actor of J&K.
During seventies, I watched a play, titled Janwar on stage , Sh. Suri was performing the title role , on wheel chair , the impact of his body language ,his spoken words , his expression still haunts me in my subconscious.
After watching this play, I tried to be his close to learn numerous things about the performing art and sh. Suri always admired my performance and use to correct me often, that way, he was a great teacher for his youngesters .
Srinagar Doordarshan production by Sh Rajesh Koul, ‘Parwaz se Pehle’ was the serial in which I got an opportunity to work with Sh.Suri. His character had a negative shade and impact was the replication of Amresh Puri of hindi cinema. I am sure, if he had persuaded his career in hindi cinema , he would have been at the top. Sh. Suri, an actor of great potential , great range, proper physique, robust voice with high range gram are born once in centuries.
Among his numerous performances, his role of a gujar in tele film ‘Aajree ‘ shall remain always live in my memory.Sh Suri’s demise quite early is such a vacuum which will remain unfulfilled always, Kamal Razdan, Artist.
Kusum Tikoo (actor, Anchor, Producer and Director) says, “Vijay Suri, a multi-faceted personality of J&K, was a prolific writer, producer, director, actor n journalist. He was one of the finest actors, who wrote prose with equal ease. He was known as the Golden Voice of Radio. He was also known as Bhishm Pitamah of J&K theatre. I got a chance to act in some of the serials written by him, n every time I could relate to my character so easily. That was something which I realise today that how easily he could observe and choose his characters from real life. As an actor, it was always a feast to watch him deliver his dialogues with such ease. He always would make his simple character larger than life by his effortless acting. As a progressive and perfect father, one can relate to him simply by looking at the achievements of his daughters’ Kajal Suri and Kavita Suri. Hence a perfect human being. I will simply call him Master, Master of all trades of art, culture and languages.”
Irshaad Masoom, actor by profession writes, “Late Vijay Suri sir, was a great legend. I am feeling proud to have worked with him in serial Gazala as a father and son. Great personality. A great human being. Great Father. Suri sir, we miss you.”
Anil Tikoo, actor further informs, “ Vijay Suri was an idol for me, as he was a close friend of my father and in my childhood days I used to see him in the movies, I was very fascinated by his personality and the voice. I think his aura was somewhere in my mind, which on later stage came out and I join theatre. He was the source of inspiration to many other artists of the state.”
“Life is eternal and love is mortal and death is only a horizon. And a horizon is nothing save the limits of our sights”.
Late Vijay Suri jee was an artist of repute and disappeared behind the screen. Everything withers with age and heals in time but for Late Vijay Suri jee have seized the passing form and stamped it into the mould of an artist. He shall be remembered for all times to come because a real artist is immortal. Going down the memory lane I recall Lt Shri Suri ji as an artist of high callibre. Besides artist he will have special space in the heart because he was an outstanding human being. He was a mentor besides fatherly figure to many budding artists. I am sure that whoever came across Suri ji in his or her life time would miss him as a splendid human being.
May his soul rest in eternal peace, Kusum Dhar, Artist
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