Shahood Alvi was hooked on to showbiz as a youngster because he “found it glamorous”. Later on he realised that the entertainment industry requires much more than just maintaining your looks and dressing well. The actor says it was his destiny that played a huge part in making a clerical worker into a popular television star. “I believe in fate and destiny so I have never plan anything in advance. I accept whatever comes my way.”
Unlike many others, Alvi refused to take favours from his family; his uncle who is veteran media personality Iqbal Ansari, and started working for PTV in 1997 as a boom operator (an assistant of the sound mixer). “It was primarily my father’s support that helped my progress in showbiz, otherwise my family was dead against a job in this field,” says Alvi while commenting on the conservative values of his family.
The boom operator gradually made his way into the field of acting, which according to Alvi, was “for the sake of earning easy money” because the actor was quite young when he tied the knot and became a father, “The responsibility of providing for my small family made me run in this direction.”
Apart from his acting career that began in 2001, Alvi has done some direction as well, with “Chipkali” (2003) being his directorial debut.
While talking about his fast progressing career, Athe actor says that he is still surprised that he received acclaim for the Indus TV play “Mera Naam Hai Mohabbat”. “Surprisingly, the play did extremely well. Even though another important play was being aired on one of the entertainment channels at that same time, Indus TV viewership still increased. I was pleasantly surprised.”
These days he is busy playing a boisterous and negative role for the play “Meray Huzoor” to be aired on Express Entertainment. “This time my character is very different from what you generally see on television. Usually TV characters maintain a very low key personality and deliver their dialogues in mellow and soft tones. However, this time around, I’m really excited that I’m playing a loud and exuberant character.”
The actor, who is nervous about the reaction his overpowering role would get, shared his previous experience of getting direct audience feedback. He cited a recent visit to an all-girls college, where he received harsh treatment from girl students as a response to his notorious character called Mahjaz in “Bol Meri Machali”.
Their aggression — evoked by the negativity of his role — made Alvi realise how much media can dominate audience opinion. “First a shoe was hurled at me, then a stone was thrown. They even scratched my car and spray painted on it. This kind of attitude was reported once before, when Zahoor Ahmed Khan acted in the PTV’s ‘Khuda Ki Basti’ years ago.”
However, good or bad, Alvi enjoys the response he gets from audience as he believes that a reaction is a confirmation that the audience is watching your programme. When asked if the belief that private productions are better than state-owned television productions is true, Alvi, who himself has directed a few dramas, states, “It totally depends on the viewer’s choice. Today, there is so much variety in television channels that if you don’t like the programming on one channel you can easily switch to another.”
The actor believes that private productions have the potential to get positive audience response. “Though the output is low these days, but in future better productions can be expected from the private sector of the drama industry.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.