Qavi KhanLegendary Qavi Khan talking patriotically on country's politics and bluntlyon the performing arts, shares his lifelong impressions with Kahkashan Farooq & Faiz Younas Butt
Now two generations of fans have admired the incomparable talent of Muhammad Qavi Khan on the TV, radio and in theatre and he has become a legendary figure in his lifetime. Recipient of the honorable Pride of Performance award and Lifetime Achievement award winner, this veteran celebrity started his career at the age of five from radio and than further explored his passion and talents in film, television and theatre. Having hundreds of films, television and theater plays to his credit, this legendary artist is still flying high and busy doing what he is good at, acting. Interviewing such a versatile and legendary artist who has become a household name wasn’t easy since he seldom gives interviews but after our consistent efforts, Qavi Khan agreed to give an exclusive interview to Eyecandy. When we reached his house in Garden Town, he himself received us with great warmth and courtesy. His simple mannerism and politeness charmed us completely and we developed an instant rapport with him. "I am a loner and don’t like to socialize much and so I try to avoid giving interviews but your continuous insistence and professional approach convinced me to make an exception." said Qavi Khan with a smile. Spending his whole life in showbiz, Qavi Khan seemed satisfied with his profession and regarded it reasonable and financially strong enough to secure one’s future. When we asked what he looks for in any project before accepting it, he clearly stated, "I don’t look for anything in a project before accepting it. I haven’t rejected any script as yet since my first day in showbiz and accept every offer that comes my way." He further exclaimed that it’s not his duty to judge the script because, what he likes may be disliked by others or vice a versa. He performed many characters which were weakly written but he accepted them as a challenge and made them livelier with his strong acting skills.
Being a struggler throughout his life, he regards his skill as an inborn talent and considers it a big asset. In his life time journey into the field of showbiz, he has had his shares of hardships, sacrifices and pleasures. Now he’s come to a point where his stature deserves to be considered an institution.
The living legend, Qavi Khan has been awarded with various awards and accolades alike including the great Pride of Performance Award during General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. Recently in 2007 he was awarded with a Life Time Achievement Award for his lifelong services rendered to radio for more than 55 years and he also received another Life Time Achievement Award for his lifelong contributions to Television. Sharing his views on winning awards he said, "People in Pakistan don’t understand the value and importance of an award. The ones who nominate people for different awards are also unaware of the stature and calibre of the personalities they are honouring. This is in complete contrast to West, where personalities who are honoured are considered icons and research is conducted on them. They attain the status of authorities in their field and people are eager to learn something from them. This aspect is missing in our country. I have won many awards and I am thankful to God but, seriously they haven’t made any difference in my life. When these awards are given to actors in the West he becomes a idol, a celebrity and the government uses them to promote various social welfare programmes among the masses. But I was never approached by anybody for any social welfare programme to use my popularity for the welfare of my country’s underprivileged masses."
With this the legendry artist became emotional and our conversation went back in history to the 1986 elections experience when Qavi Khan contested on a National Assembly seat against Liaqat Baloach.
Narrating his experience of competing in elections, he said, "I participated in the non-party based election of 1985 and lost to Mr Liaquat Baloch. But I managed to get maximum number of votes which no showbiz personality had ever been able to get before. And it’s a record so far. This whole experience made me understand mob psychology. I came to know about this whole jugglery, such as: when to get attention through emotional utterances, when to chant slogans and when to resort to poetry. But I found it a very difficult task, as politics requires full time dedication and determination and I was unable to deliver both things in this field. I am an actor and that is what I am best at. People came to me to solve their problems which I was unable to. There and then I realized that I lacked that leadership and decision-making power mandatory for being a good politician. It was not my job to undertake; only a determined politician can solve the masses problems —- if he wishes to," he added.
Commenting on the present political scenario, Qavi Khan said, "Things are not right in Pakistan. We are a very talented nation but our talents get wasted due to lack of opportunity. The political situation in our country is going through crucial times and we have been looking for a good leader who can unite the whole nation and work for the betterment of whole country." He seemed completely hopeful that one day there will come a leader who will think about the nation.
From politics, we moved our conversation to showbiz. Performing different characters in dozens of films and even producing 13 films, Qavi Khan knows all about film making and how the film industry functions. He holds unprofessional and unskilled people responsible for the present decline in film-making. "Basically wrong people are doing wrong things in the industry. When these outsiders and unprofessional people entered the industry, our standard of film making declined and now there isn’t anything stable happening. No one has ever thought of the hundreds of families whose bread and butter depended upon this industry. Because of the decline they are living hand to mouth these days."
Suggesting various measures to uplift the film industry, he said it was necessary to upgrade the condition of cinema houses in order to attract viewers. Moreover he exclaimed that the situation can be improved if the government takes over the industry and producers should directly sell movies to the government, following the measures adopted by Sri Lanka.
He differed on the point that PTV is declining. While commenting on its quality as he pointed out that PTV is a government based organization and therefore it has to follow certain restrictions. Its programmes are generating maximum veiwership. He also appreciated the role of NAPA and other institutes for the promotion and training of new blood in the field of performing arts.
Qavi Khan has been a part of governing body of Alhamra Arts Council Lahore for more than 25 years. When Eyecandy inquired about his impressions about current surge of vulgarity being adopted in stage dramas, he said "From actors to directors, writers and producers to government officials almost everyone says that they don’t want vulgarity and vulgar dances on stage, but still they continue. I ask who is responsible for this? It seems that despite aversion for this vulgarity, there are certain people who are in favor of it and that is why, it’s going on. Firstly, it was only limited to Lahore but now the same vulgarity is ruining Faisalabad and Multan stage culture. Its better to nip the evil in the bud before it blooms out. I tried to stop this but no one listened to me and in the end I had to leave such governing bodies."
Talking of his inspirations, he said that he follows one philosophy in life and completely believe in it, Lamha–e-Maujood aur Aaghaz-e-Safar (Live in the present and start a new journey) and whenever he feels low, this phrase always gives him energy and strength to move on. He also mentioned Zia Mohiuddin as a person who inspires him because of his vast knowledge, high education and wonderful skill.
Talking about his taste in literature and music he said that he loves semi-classical music especially Darbari Raag. Poetry interests him very much and he likes to read poetry of the new era as well. He considered poetry as an intuitive process and is a firm believer of Aamad. He considers Ashfaq Ahmad, Bano Qudsia and a few upcoming new telefilm writers his favorite script writers. Having admiration for his co-stars he has high regard for the breed of new actors, among them Kashif Mahmood and Faisal Qureshi are prominent in his mind.
Qavi has been a passionate cricket player in his youth whereby he earned several injuries. Although, he also played hockey but cricket has always remained his first love.
Qavi Khan is a complete family man. He got married in 1968 and has two daughters and two sons settled down in USA and Canada respectively. When Eyecandy asked about his happiest moments in life he said, "Whenever my children or my grand children smiles and become happy, I become happy." But despite all his love and affection for his family, Qavi Khan prefers to reside in Pakistan. "I love my country, I have visited countless places of the world but was unable to find the level of affection and love abroad which is hallmark of our country," he stated in quite a patriotic tone.
It is said that there are different personas of a single personality. Similarly we discovered religious side of Qavi Khan when he softly uttered "I am not an extremist but a moderate Muslim. I try to recite Surah Rahman and Durood Sharif everyday. I am a heart patient but when I offer prayer, I feel good. It’s a complete exercise for me as it is beneficial for the well-being of my mind and body."
Qavi Khan is a very optimistic person and believes in a very bright future for every Pakistani. He believes that investing much on the education sector and setting a uniform educational standard will help our generations to raise our national calibre.
During all the conversation, we saw many sides of our host, Qavi Khan: humble yet furious, emotional yet calm, buoyant yet modest but nowhere did we sense an actor in action.
It is a journey from birth to death. To understand the crux of life, one should always keep in mind the death; otherwise, life will lead you on the wrong path.
Friendship: True friends are like mirrors and confidentants of each other.
The truest and purest form of love is of mother-child and father-daughter. Someone once shared with me that wherever daughters are, they always pray for the well-being of their fathers (He said this with tears in his eyes).
It’s a relationship which requires undying commitment. It requires the acceptance and owning of both positive and negative characteristics of each other.