Monday, April 16, 2007
He is the Amitabh Bachchan of Pakistani cinema. Four films old in Hindi cinema and Jawed Sheikh is already getting noticed for his character roles in Bollywood as well. The recent one being in Namastey London where he played Upen Patel's father. "At my age I am playing character roles. So of course I relate to it and I am thoroughly enjoying it", replies the soft-spoken superstar of the neighbouring country.
His next film happens to be Apne which gets the entire Deol clan together. "For a change I am not playing anybody's father in this film. I play a media mogul based in Canada who is a friend of Dharamji. I have a very good character in this film. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Deol family. They are very professional and humble humans", says Jawed.
But Jawed sounds really excited about getting to work with two films under Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies banner. "Farah had choreographed a song in Jaaneman, that's where she saw me and liked my work. She also told me that we might work together. And because of Farah Khan I got Red Chillies first film My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. Director E Niwas was discussing about this character with the writers and Farahji told the whole team that they should take Jawed Shiekh for the role. I play a police inspector called Khan. It's a different role for me and I am enjoying it. The film stars a new boy Nikhil Dwivedi with Amrita Rao and Anupam Kher."
With the second Red Chillies film Om Shanti Om he gets to share screen space with Shah Rukh. "In the first half of the film I am playing a superstar of 1978; someone like Rajesh Khanna from that era. Shah Rukh plays a struggling actor in the film. Post-interval after his rebirth he becomes my son. That is the present day which opens in 2007. I am thankful to Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan who gave me the opportunity to work in their film. I am so proud that I am doing a film like Om Shanti Om. The whole team is marvelous."
However Jawed's Bollywood connection goes two decades back. "It started from 1986 when I had got an offer to do Khoon Bhari Maang with Rekhaji and Sonu Walia. I was signed for that film. Before the mahurat something happened in my family and I could not do that film. Kabir Bedi was roped in for the role later. Exactly after 20 years later I came here to record music for my film Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua. At that time Mr John Mathew Mathan saw me on NDTV and he approached me and offered me a role in his film Shikhar. That was a turning point for me to come back to Bollywood. After Shikhar, I did Jaaneman and Namestey London. Now there are a couple of more in the line."
So now that he is doing a lot of films in India, is he cutting down on Pakistani cinema? Jawed explains, "Apart from acting in a lot of Hindi cinema I have made my own film in India as a producer, director and actor called Khule Aasman Ke Niche. I shot that film in Bombay for forty days last December. Also I recorded all my music here. Ganesh Acharya is my choreographer for the film. I am doing all my post-production work here. I have got all Indian singers in the film. And this would be the first Pakistani film releasing in India simultaneously with a worldwide release. That's the reason why I have to be here for sometime and cut down on projects there."
Ask him if working for Indian cinema is any different as compared to Pakistani cinema and Jawed doesn't get diplomatic with his reply "Oh yes. There is a lot of difference. Indian cinema is too good compared to Pakistani cinema. And I don't hitch to say that. Indian cinema is far superior to Pakistani cinema. I am learning different techniques here and that is why even I am doing my film here. That was the reason I brought my unit from Pakistan to India and the Indian and Pakistani crew worked together for forty days without any accidents. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My crew learnt a lot from the Indian crew. I am already planning a new film with Pakistani and Indian actors together. It is a sentimental film about relationship between India and Pakistan. I have already registered a title for it called Dil Toh Ek Hai. And I am also trying to release a few of my Pakistani films in India".
Has he gained more recognition after working in Hindi films? "Yes, of course. Definitely I have gained a lot of recognition. Hindi cinema has made me a globally known face", Jawed replies honestly.
Which Pakistani films has he worked in recently? "There is this film called Ek Din Laut Ke Aaonga that is releasing on 27th April. It stars Indian television actress Nausheen Ali Sardar with Pakistani actor Humayun Saeed. The film was shot in Hyderabad in Ramoji Film City and also in Bombay. The entire film was made in India. People in Pakistan have seen the trailer and they like it. There is another film called Lahore produced by a new producer Sunil Sharma and directed by Sanjay, they are planning to shoot in Pakistan also. There are one or two more projects but aren't finalized as yet. There are plenty more producers, directors who are ready to come to Bombay. Couple of them are already here and planning their film."
Finally what does he feel about the ban on screening of Indian films in Pakistan? Jawed expresses his disappointment saying, "I don't really understand the ban there. But three Indian films were released in Pakistan recently - Bride and Prejudice, Taj Mahal, Mughal-e-azam. Before this there were two films Noor Jahan and Kashish. And I have heard that there are plenty more to be released like Kaafila to be directed by Amtojie Mann starring Sunny Deol and Sana from Pakistan. Sana is the heroine in my film Khule Aasman Ke Niche too. There is one company from Pakistan who has signed a MOU with Yash Raj. Yashraj will be releasing their film in Pakistan and Pakistani films will be released here through them."
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