A golden rule that booming actors like Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks live by is, “You do one for them and then one for yourself.” One actor in the Pakistani film and television fraternity that seems to abide by the golden rule is Alyy Khan.
While chatting about the significance of self-satisfaction and self-preservation in a profession like acting, he asserts, “You have to maintain that normalcy on some level.”
Khan, who can best be defined as the epitome of a journeyman actor, has worked in almost every major entertainment industry throughout the world from Bollywood to Hollywood. Since commencing work on Indian television during the early 90’s, he has racked up work ubiquitously — from starring in high-profile films like A Mighty Heart and Don 2 to performing brilliantly in British, Indian and Pakistani television serials to directing theater plays like Aapki Soniya.
Despite all these years, brimming with travel and high-status productions, Khan has not been able to settle in one place or medium. It may be a sign that he’s been unable to realise his potential, but the star claims otherwise. “For an actor, the chief element is to act. Doesn’t matter if its film, television or theatre, it’s all the same. The point of the matter remains that your skills shouldn’t get rusty like a machine,” exclaims Khan.
He elaborates on his statement, saying actors need to hone their skills by practicing ‘riyaz’ on any medium.
Khan explains that the conscious choice of ‘shifting between mediums’ is not that of an actor’s but completely dependent on his stipulation. “For instance, Manoj Bajpai didn’t want to do TV. He said he’ll sleep on the sofas and starve. All of us said ‘No boss! We need to make a living, so we did it.’” The actor adds, “Me, Rohit Roy, Ronit Roy, Ashish Vidyarthi and whoever else was in that same medium did it”.
Having worked with some of the top-notch names globally, Khan was aware that it was virtualyy impossible for everyone to be as superior as Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan or Shah Rukh Khan at their respective crafts.
“A mature person will always be aware of his limits and will ensure that the ‘innings’ last as long as they can,” elucidates Khan. He related the statement to his own professional life, saying he wasn’t basing his career on a prestigious movie like A Mighty Heart but rather viewed it as one of the “bigger innings”
Alyy Khan with Shah Rukh Khan in Don 2
Alyy Khan, who will next be seen in Mah-e-Meer, spoke about his role in the movie and how he actualyy landed the part. Khan recalls he was filming a serial with director Anjum Shehzad who spoke to him about undertaking the role of a Nawab in Meer’s flashbacks.
“They wanted me to play the part of a Nawab and because my background is essentially from theatre, I’ve played prince and Nawab-type of characters before.” He adds, “I really enjoy getting into that kind of genre. In fact, body language and voice modulation falls in my comfort zone.”
With several projects lined up including the British Channel 4 series Indian Summers and a two-part Agatha Christie series Partners in Crime, Khan is raring to go. Apart from that, he’s also keen on putting his education in film production to use in the near future.
“I want to crack on and make films; craft them correctly and create them nicely.” He further states, “I want to direct a few films at some point in my life but before that, I want to set the business straight and look after the creative process.” The actor hopes to involve his friends who are foreign cinematographers and directors in his forthcoming individual home production. Shooting his own travel show, the actor wants to release his project both online and on television.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2015.