On a personal note: Javed Jaffrey

Javed Jaffrey speaks to Governance Now about his journey as an actor, constantly changing his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | April 23, 2019 | Delhi


#comedian   #interview   #Bollywood   #actor   #Javed Jaffrey   #dancer  
Photo Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama
Photo Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama

After his much-appreciated debut in Meri Jung in 1985, Javed Jaffrey inspired a new generation of dancers. He then turned from dance to comedy. The versatile actor constantly changes his styles and his live, film, TV and radio appearances always promise novelty and surprise. In 2014 he joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and contested in the general elections from Lucknow. 

What do you enjoy most – acting, dancing, singing, song writing, choreographing, adfilms, production, VJing, emceeing or voice-overs?

Sleeping. I call myself an entertainer in whatever way I can entertain. I have had a great time doing everything and given my 100 percent to the zone I am working on. Comedy would be closer to my heart but I equally enjoy drama or a good thriller and anything which pushes me within my framework of work. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed dubbing for Japanese game show, ‘Takeshi’s Castle’.
 
How has the film and television industry changed since your debut?
In films, corporatisation has been good and bad. The good is that the industry has become organised. On the negative side, it loses its organic growth, especially with scripts. Creativity should never be overridden by business. Television is still caught up in its web of ‘yehi chalta hai’ (only this works) and way behind, say, Pakistani television (since it is closest to our own culture, unlike Nepal or Sri Lanka) which has evolved as far as storytelling and acting is concerned. TV needs to grow content-wise and for that reason web space is good.
 
What are the challenges you faced in your career?
I never planned my career and just flowed with whatever came my way. I was cut out for acting and launched as a villain by Mr. Subhash Ghai, one of the biggest filmmakers of his time, in Meri Jung. My asset and where I stood head and shoulders above the competition was dance. In Hindi movies, till today, villains never dance. I was slotted a villain and later it was a huge challenge. I moved on and did some great work and got a lot of respect and admiration.
 
How does the social and political climate impact your creative expression?
It does. The best thing about democracy is that you can have your view and contradict somebody in their interest and thoughts. But it does not happen that way. Fear is created and that is not a conducive atmosphere for a democracy. You cannot threaten, take the law into your hands and get away with it. Creative freedom is important.
 
What are the governance issues that matter to you the most?
We need to learn, imbibe and adopt good points from other countries. In my mind, corruption is the root cause of our problems. Parity and honesty in the system is missing. We have problems of education, healthcare etc. and the government should tackle these issues rather than going into mundane issues that don’t matter.
 
Have you been at the receiving end of mis-governance?
When I got trolled. Trollers (though miniscule and a microscopic portion) are not random people but structured social media where people and bodies work pro- or anti-government. They make the loudest noises, whereas sane voices are quieter.
 
Your memorable role/performance:
My upcoming film Maya Sabha, my role in the web series Final Call which released the same day as Total Dhamaal and earlier my roles in the films Fire, Boom, Dhamaal, Shaurya, Salaam  Namaste and Singh is King, and my song ‘Mumbhai’. On television, my cult shows Timex Timepaas and Videocon Flashback and more recently my show Once More with Javed Jaffrey.
 
The greatest influence in your life: 
There are spiritual and career influences. Personally, on a deeper level, my father and my mother. Then there’s my understanding of the Koran and different faiths and religions; it keeps my morals and values balanced. Besides, you learn from people and every little thing around you.
 
Your favourite pastime:
Observing people. It has also helped me in my acting. And browsing the internet.
 
At the moment you are busy with:
A Malyalam film, a film with Rensil D Silva, two or three projects as producer and actor.
 
– As told to Geetanjali Minhas
(This interview appears in the April 30, 2019 edition)

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