The comment, “I am a very poor communicator,” is some what surprising coming from film and television, artiste Rahat Kazmi. Elaborating on such an admission Rahat --- explain, “I am a person of intellect an enjoy conversation that is stimulating to the mind. The moment conversation veers towards people, events, and things;
I lose interest and retire to a corner. I hate frivolity and superficiality intensely.” You have to assume then that the actor must have been a rather silent soul during his years with the celluloid,
as one can hardly imagine an intellectual stimulating conversation within those spheres. Perhaps that was one of his reasons for beating a hasty retreat from the big screen.
Fired with recent enthusiasm, for the recently concluded artiste’ strike Rahat began almost with out cue with the issue closet to his heart and mind these days.
The retraction of their recent raise in pay scales and the association of 32 years with PTV compelled him to take up the cause on their behalf. “I was very reluctant to step into this, not for fear of any repercussion but simply because I am not cut out for all this.
I am a rebel of a literary nature, but the unfairness was too glaring to ignore. The last time the artiste’ pays was a revised was nine years ago. A peon in TV earns a larger annul salary than the artiste.
The raise in question was not that unreasonable. With my seniority and category there would have been a difference of only 1200 to 1400 rupees, PTV is in a state of apathy.
The people at the top are almost somnambulistic, mulling over decisions for years and bureaucracy and red tapism in just an excuse for all this insensitively. The artistes’ payments constitute only 1.5 percent of the total budget. It is these people that are mainly responsible for the success of programme.
“Royalties are almost a joke, you receive about RS. 1000 for a rerun and that also over a period of years, of the total number of PTV producers, 85 percent do not get more than seven hours of work annually.
The overheads have risen astronomically. PTV makes not professional but political decisions, it seems to be the mouthpiece of the government in power. There was a time when PTV paid income tax worth RS. 18 crores; today it is a beggar’s bowl.
The main reason being over staffing through political appointments. I see no reason why if a government needs the services of PTV it shouldn’t pay for it.
Why the free exposure? When the government travels by PIA doesn’t it pay for the tickets? If the government uses electricity doesn’t it pay the KESC or WAPDA? Why does PTV have to do everything with out remuneration?”
Rahat’s solution is that PTV should sell time internationally; now that they are beaming to 32 countries they can earn an independent income and subsidies their own earnings. Certainly a profound thought but who it is bell the cat, surely not the favored appointee’s.
Rahat has had a taste of the political arena so would he, like other fellow artistes, want to take the plunge? “Firstly I am not cut for the wheeling and dealing of politic, and secondly I do not have the money or landholdings to sustain such involvements,”
Rahat Kazmi gives the impression of one who believes in ‘live and let live’, “You should not make another person miserable to make yourself happy.” He is a great believer in the emancipation of women.
and under no circumstance feels that the fairer sex is the weaker. “A good relationship needs a certain amount of freedom and respect of each other’s individually.
To me there are no marked areas of male and female duties; each one should complement the other. I have been ruling the wave all my life, at times ruling the crest yet at other times being submerged into the deep. Sahira understands my inability to conform and has never forced me into a regimen. Similarly, I respect her identity and allow her to grow in her preferred direction.”
For his children Rahat has the same principle. Being a rebel in his youth as his conservation family did not take favorable to his the article interests,
Rahat had a break away to pursue his creative instincts. He does not want to impose such rigidity off spring. “They will always have the guidance and support of their father and can choose their own niche.”
Referring to his short stint in the film world, Rahat candidly admits to his failure on the big screen. He came into it equipped with a university degree hoping to revolutionize the industry. He thought he could circumvent singing and dancing around trees and put it on a saner and more educated plane, but nobody there was ready for it.
Asked if he would return to it some day, the answer is a firm NO. “My dream actually was to be a writer, to one day stand in line for the Nobel Prize of Literature, but despite all my efforts I feel I do not have the talent to produce work that has universal appeal. So I gave up, but it still remains as dream.”
Being a director of the Beacon house chain of schools, Rahat is now in constant touch with the new generation. “I find them content to the extent of being lethargic.
They have access to so much so early that they lack the passion to acquire. Their early exposure to the harsh realities of the world has turned them into cynics and they see their bounties as compensation to the ugliness that society doles out to them. The world of make believe is so mundane for them.”
The teacher in him laments the decline in the habit of reading in the younger generation. To him no amount of visuals can replace the written word. This and the disbalance between the rapid speed of advancement of technology and the relatively slower speed of progress of the society has got the students confused.
Even though Rahat Kazmi has changed courses frequently in his life he says the fundamental link has always been the creative edge. He has always chosen to do things where the independence of thought is not undermined.
Then what about his stint with the Civil Service? “I choose that to release the pressure of my family and to be able to strike out on my own. Also as a decoy, for my mother-in-law wouldn’t have let her daughter marry a struggling. Starving artiste,” he states laughing.