Posted: 30 October 2006 at 2:04pm | IP Logged
TV & Film Actor
It's said that age is not important unless you are cheese…or an actor. It is the excellence of an actor, and the audience, which keeps you going. And the countdown is still going high for Talath Hussain -- an actor par excellence. • Talat Hussain at the pinnacle of his career as we see him today, governing the single room production company 'Studio 9', began as a child artist from Radio Pakistan and since then there was no looking back. • Though, never an outstanding student, he traversed the road to success to acquire instant fame. After years of hard work, he finally decided to try this hand in directing and stepped into the realm of production. "I was forced to direct a play by a friend and after that I started my own production company," goes Talat. • Adding another feather in his cap, this actor turned producer aimed at improving the standard of production which has deteriorated and is certainly not what it had been in 50's and 60's. Providing a reason for such an outcome he said, "when you talk about quality of production, you refer to technical facilities, content of a play, the role of a director and other professionals like engineers, editors, lighting people and set designers. If you expect quality from these things then you would have to analyse the personalities of people involved which are determined by social, cultural and intellectual environment. These very people have mediocre minds which leads to weak conceptualisation. In this case, the execution of a particular concept into reality would obviously be of low standard." • Drama projects reality and is based on various aspects of life. It enhances the insight into various problems and relationships. Illuminating the very fact he said, "during our times, the ruling elite represented the middle class and despite being very conservative in approach, they had a very tolerant attitude and that came into play when the policies were made. The whole scenario was changed when General Zia came into power in 70's and 80's. The policies became very orthodox during the Martial Law and though now that orthodoxy is receding, people governing various crucial matters are not very liberal. This very attitude restricted the creative artist and his choices due to which everything is sliced and divided into pigeon holes. It is very difficult to revert back to the era of 60's where the quality of production is concerned and to some extent the censor policies also have a role to play." • Talat believes that people themselves are responsible for such harsh censor policies. He says that the younger generation handling production is not aware of their own cultural norms and traditions. They try to imitate what they see on foreign channels which is not in total conformity with our society and so obviously the censor becomes active. Stating his own example he said, "I have directed and produced two serials of 13 and 11 episodes respectively. Out of these only two shots have been censored. I always say that give me a boy and girl. I'll make them sit 10 feet apart and shoot that scene in such a way that it will be censored. Then I'll make them sit next to each other and the censor will not touch the scene." He believes that the way a certain relationship is projected decides whether it should be censored or not. The people exercising power find normal behaviour offensive. "They belong to the rural set up and their social environment is completely opposite to the urban culture," he said, "we make plays based on urban lines which they might find indecent and so people sitting in the parliament raise hue and cry." • Apart from the policies, rampant commercialism and lack of workaholic professionals is also responsible for deteriorating quality of production. Earning quick bucks is the ulterior motive of the fresh blood coming in this field • "Our whole society has become commercial now," he confided, "the set designers are more concerned about money, actors about glamour and directors about making a hit play and when you have to sell everything, the norms and values take a back seat." Though, he thinks that his generation worked with passion and the priorities of the young budding actors are different. He feels that Yasir Akhtar, Nabeel and Shabbir Jan have what it takes to be good actors placing Shabbir slightly above the rest. "Shabbir has achieved that point where he can be recognised as a mature actor where as the others are still in the making." • Talat Hussain has worked in five western productions and found them well organised technically competent and very committed to their work. He thoroughly enjoyed working in them. "It was wonderful working with professional actors," he expressed, reminiscing his experience in the movie Jinnah "despite being so well known, they were very down to earth. Unlike our directors, they respect the actors working for them and do not take them for granted." • He admits that there aren't any training grounds for aspiring directors, actors and behind the scene technicians, but still he considers our dramas much better than those of India. Denouncing those who compare both, he vehemently expressed his views, "there are people who say that Indian drama is better than ours. There isn't any comparison between the two. Their genius is in music. If you look at drama as a genre, the way it exists, it originated from Greece. If Indian drama had energy, vigour and force, it would have over shadowed Greek drama. Indian drama does exist but it is not their genius." • Being one of the few well read performers, his priorities are to produce the best possible serials. "I am not interested in any kind of competition," he said while adding, "I don't want to surpass anyone. I have always tried to produce a product with a 100 per cent attention to make it the best." He refused to reveal any immediate future plans but is thinking of making a film. • An internationally acclaimed outstanding performer, he aspires to prove his mettle in production as well and give something outstanding and different to the viewers.
Edited by indian_masala - 30 October 2006 at 2:05pm