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Dec 17 - 30, 2001

Talat Hussain, one of the few TV stars, known as the man of wisdom and vision having various distinctions to his credit is actively engaged in private production these days. He was accorded with a Gold Medal by London Academy for Art and Music. Talat also worked for London's National Theatre in 1972. During his distinguished career spanning over 40 years he gave some masterpiece to the world of art in Pakistan. His heart throbbing performance was widely acknowledged not only in Pakistan but all over the world wherever Pakistani plays are being watched. Among the hits he has performed some of the TV plays are known as "Hawain" , "Kashkol" and "Seeah Safaid" (black & white). Currently he is running his own private production under the name of Studio-9. As Director he is working on serials known as "Sahil Say Door" " Na Kam Na Ziada" and "Umeedon Kay Saye". Talat also contributed in the world of Theatre and presented plays like "Khalid Ki Khala", " Raz-O-Niaz" and "Rakhwala".

PAGE: How do you see the popularity of Indian plays being presented by different dish channels and how would you compare them with plays being produced in Pakistan.

Talat Hussain: Whatever is being presented on Indian channels cannot be described as plays or drama in fact these so called plays are the soap operas and do not fall in the category of art of drama.

PAGE: Can Pakistani TV plays compete with whatever you have called them as soap operas if the free trade with neighbouring countries especially with India is allowed under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Talat Hussain: As far as creativity of art and drama is concerned Pakistani plays are far ahead of what it is being created in India. Even Indian Art and Culture opinion leaders are openly saying that people are fed up with the vulgarity being shown on TV channels in the name of art and drama. It is a short-lived phenomenon and will die soon. They would have to retreat to the originality and what is really belonging to their culture. Pakistan is lucky in a sense that the film and television industry has maintained identity of its art and culture and that identity will help to beat the competitors in all respect. We are not afraid of the influx of what is being said the cultural invasion from neighbouring India. In fact they are copying the West while the West has already been get rid of cheap glamour, hence we do not have any need to follow them because they are already lost, Talat said with confidence.

PAGE: If Pakistani plays, drama and films are so good why this industry failed to operate on the economy of the scale and contribute significantly in the national economy.

Talat Hussain: You cannot describe it as the failure of the film and TV industry, if at all it enjoys the status of an industry. However, it is the part of the society and whatever it has achieved is the reflection of the society. Being the most sensitive segment of the society, the film and television sector should not be seen in isolation. Recalling the days of 70s Talat said that the political and social changes in the society in that decade are directly responsible for destabilization of this industry. The political environment and changes at social front allowed a group of the people to dominate the aesthetic and social values that are generally promoted by the middle class. A certain group of the people having no aesthetic values was allowed to prevail in every nook and corner of the country due to excessive politicization in every department and organization of the country. Time, which is the best teacher, however proved that the change imposed on the people was not worthwhile and that is why that system was put on reversal later on. However, as a result of that imposition of ideology all values, norms suffered, which also adversely affected the growth of the social and economic life of the country.

A certain class of the people who believed in money making and not that values also occupied the film and TV who killed the spirit of quality productions both in film and TV, Talat said. He also mentioned about the creation of NAFDEC in those days, which he feels was also responsible for ruining this industry.

PAGE: What steps you would suggest bringing stability and growth in this industry.

Talat: Generally speaking, in order to run the affairs, the governments appoint bureaucrats in radio, TV affairs. As far as administrative matters are concerned, it is okay, let the bureaucrats run the administrative matters, however to establish this organization on sound footings with a sense of direction in accordance with the need of the society, only professionals should be inducted in policy. There is no dearth of world class writers, poets, directors, and artists in Pakistan. Services of these people with the quality to have their fingers on the pulse of the society are allowed to give a direction to this art making industry, Talat observed. He recalled the good old days when film industry of Pakistan produced such a marvellous films, which out classed the well-established film producers in our neighbouring country. We can repeat that performance provided people having a sense of direction are brought back in this industry. A good piece of art cannot be produced by "sifarshis", he remarked.