A closer look at Javed Sheikh’s career in film reveals how his recent filmography is a mirror image of how he started off as an actor. In 1983, he debuted with a serious role in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, following it with his comic stint in the film Shaadi Magar Aadhi. 30 years later and quite similarly, he made a smooth transition from his role of a vindictive don in Main Hoon Shahid Afridi (MHSA) to his humorous portrayal of a jobless man in Na Maloom Afraad (NMA). Not one to adhere to the formulaic approach to acting, Sheikh may have finally cracked the code of achieving acclaim as an actor.
“There is a reason why I’m able to slide into every frame perfectly — my diverse body of work,” he says. He acknowledges that in order to attain longevity in his career, he avoided being typecasted and kept pushing the envelope as an actor by experimenting with his choice of roles. Citing his performances in films, such as Jo Darr Gaya Woh Marr Gaya, MHSA and NMA, he explains how versatility is key to success. “I played the villain in the 1995-film Jo Darr Gaya Woh Marr Gaya, which won me the ‘Best Actor’ award, while I played a stuttering man in NMA,” he states.
Having made his film debut when the local movie scene had begun dwindling, Sheikh stood by the industry during its darkest hours, even producing two big-budget films, Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa and Khulay Aasman Ke Niche, during the time. After toiling hard for several years, his dedication has finally borne fruit, as he is set to be seen in four major Pakistani films, Wrong No, Halla Gulla, Karachi Se Lahore and Bin Roye, all expected to release later this year.
Of his character in Wrong No, Sheikh shares he will play the role of a qasai, who is Danish Taimoor’s father. “It’s unlike anything I have done before. It’s one of the most fun characters I’ve played so far.” Apart from this, Sheikh has also proven his mettle across the border and has shared screen space with stars, such as Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar. He will now be seen starring alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in Imtiaz Ali’s film Tamasha. “It is an honour for me when such a celebrated Bollywood director calls me and says he wants me to star in his film,” notes Sheikh, who will play Kapoor’s father in the film.
Despite having mostly worked in Bollywood films between 2005 and 2010, Sheikh says he missed the thrill of acting in Pakistani films. He was surprised to see how swiftly the Pakistani film industry took flight. “When I started working in Bollywood films, I used to look at their production techniques and quality and wonder whether our industry would ever see the same level of expertise,” he notes. “But now, all of a sudden, our filmmaking standards have improved and I am glad that even the equipment used to make them is at par with that used for Bollywood films.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2015.