Today’s guest is Usman Peerzada. He is my life partner. But for a long time, both of us have been very busy. We didn’t find time to sit together and talk. Today, I have invited him to my show. And I will talk to him alot. And there will be some things that I might not know. And even you won’t know. Lets meet, Usman Peerzada. Peeru, when was the first time you fell in love? The first time in my life? Haha, yes. At what age? I’ve been in love alot of times. What age? Yes. A mad crush when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. And who did you fell in love with? I think somebody in my school. Somebody? You don’t remember? Not now. How could you not remember? Usually its the teachers that you fall in love with, no? Or with a cousin. The people you see first, you usually fall in love with them. Yeah, but I wouldn’t call it love as such. It’s just kind of a crush. Or infatuation kind of a thing, for a little while. Okay, and then, when after that? Lets rewind a bit. Lets go a little back, before your first love. You were born in Lahore, right? Yes. Lets start from Lahore then. Born in Lahore. How many siblings are you? 7 brothers and sisters. There’s Salman first, then two sisters, Tasleem and Qausar, then Yes, Salman, Tasleem then Qausar. And then you’re in the middle. Yes I am in the middle. Then Imran and then the twins, Faizan and Sadan. Yes. Whats the benefit of being in the middle? You call it Manjla, right? Yes. I don’t believe that there is a difference between sons and daughters. We ourselves have two daughters. So, I think after two daughters a son was born. You know, so being a majla and on top of that, a son you know. I don’t know if there is something special about it, but I have never thought of it that way. That being in the middle has a benefit? I think the middle one has less burden. He can be more mischievous and stay innocent. So, what kind of a child were you? You used to get caught after doing something naughty and were scolded? Or were you saved by your elder brother? No, I was not mischievous. Faizan and Sadan were the ones who did pranks Or maybe that’s what I think. But they were quite naughty. What kind of a house was it? A happy house. What is your first memory of your life? The one you remember to date. Alot of people. We were lot of us. And when you are a big family, with alot of sibings. There’s a happiness in the family. I think we were a very happy family. We were very on the ground because of our father. So what, did you tip toe around the house that maybe your father is studying so the kids are not supposed to make noise? Or maybe the kids are not supposed to be seen running around or something? No no, it was never like that. And it was a big house. It was our old family house, big and wide. Were there old trees? There were old trees, eucalyptus, taalis Cordia myxa trees, orange trees. Did you ever climb those trees? Yes, very often. Did you ever fall and got hurt? Yes I did fall and got hurt. We used to wait for Basant, desperately. Because our house was on Mazang road. No sorry, on Bahawalpur road. when you go to Chaburji via Mazang Chungi. If you know Lahore. So it was there. And at the back of our house was Mazang, Saadi park is an area of Mazang. And when on Basant, people used to fly kites there, we prayed that the wind would bring them here so that when they got cut they would fall here, to us. So at that time, as kids, i remember we were little looters and we used to collect kites. You used to carry those big sticks to trap kites? No not those, that was with the people outside on the road. So the kites that used to fall in your house. Yes, the ones that fell in our house or got stuck in our trees. So it used to be like this. Gradually, Sadan and Faizan became very good kite flyers. What is your early memory of Lahore? First childhood memory. I have a memory of my grandfather. He used to live on 7 Queens Road. Opposite to YWCA. So, he used to take me with him to his house sometimes. He had two wives. That is, we had two grandmothers. One of the them was the mother of my father. She was a Pashtoon. And was from South Waziristan. The other one was a British. When my grandfather went abroad for studies, he married an English woman. So now when I talk about my memory, my grandmother, who was my fathers mother, had passed away. So we had granny. Who was our English grandmother. So I remember very well, that when grandfather used to take me home, I used to sleep with him in the afternoon, and when we used to get up in the evening, he used to wear his cotton suit, his stick and put on his moniker with me holding his other hand we used to get out of Queens road, crossing a plaza cinema and then Goldsmith which is a shop, maybe it is still there today. when we used to come on Mall Road I remember it very clearly, that there scents coming from all around. It seemed as if someone had sprinkled some sort of cologne on the roads And the roads used to be washed because, at 3 or 3:30 the committee trucks used to come and wash the roads. And the scent smelled like Jasmine. Jasmine flowers, which are a gift to Lahore in a way. By nature. So, when we used to crossover from there, towards, which is now, Ferozesons so there goes a road between Indus Hotel and Ferozesons that lead towards the back which was then and still is called Victoria Park. Victoria park was the area where mostly Anglo Indians used to live My grandfather used to have a small house there, where he had his cats So he used to go to feed his cats regularly. So I used to get very excited about the cats. But the other visual of it is, There were flowers falling down from small lawns and balconies. And the Anglo Indian women sitting outside on their tables with tea. And a guy playing saxophone on one of the balconies. So I would be transported into another world altogether. After a very long time, in Paris I turned into an area while I was on a stroll, so all of sudden I felt like I have entered Victoria Park. That’s how Victoria park was, it was so beautiful. Then when we used to leave that area and come back on mall road on one side there was M.Yaseen Khan baker. Whose bakery is amazing. I can taste the cream roll in my mouth, just by talking about the bakery. It used to melt in your mouth. And their lemon tart was just outstanding. The bakery was an item of the British. That’s also one of the places you took me to. Yes, I took you there. So, M.Yaseen Khan was a part of our growing up life. And there were just two bakers in Lahore, who were good and known. One was this and the other was in Neela Gumbad. This was M. Yaseen Khan and I forgot the name of the other but there was another bakery. Because bakery was an English thing. We had other things like breakfasts naans, kulchas, parathas poori halwa So these bakers were a trend by the British. Mogham Deen. The other bakery was Mogham Deen. So that was the Lahore that I remember. And then I remember a lot of music on mall road. I have memories of couples dancing on mall road. Later, when I traced that out Did research? Did some research and studied about it a bit So I found out, That there were open air restaurants on mall road. And this particular restaurant had Jazz music playing And there was a dancing floor. Open air. Like Paris. So this is the Lahore that I saw. Beautiful Lahore. So when you went to school How did you prepare for the first day? Was the school selected? Or was it because your older siblings were already there? No. That was the school where my father sent all his kids. Especially the boys. That was a co-education school. Later I understood why my father sent us there. Because after some time, Imran, Faizan and Sadan went to St. Anthonys. But stayed in John McDonald. Because I was the Principals favourite. Do you have a memory? Yes. First day of school. I think so. I was too young at the time. Yeah, I went with my father. So I was taken care of Because Salman was studying there at the time. in school. You were saying that you understood, why your father got you in a co-ed school. Especially the sons. So that we should respect women. So that we could be comfortable in their presence. And not think of them as something very different from us. And not think of them as something less or more from us. They are part of you. They’re as important as you are. So I still have a lot of girl friends. Girls, who are my friends. You call them Saheliyan. Saheliyan, yes. My Saheliyan. So whenever I am working even, I have good relations with my female colleagues Because I am very comfortable with women. I don’t have a problem working with them or talking to them or listening to them I have no problem. Or charm them even. Yes, even charm. Some people charm both men and women Okay, so the gift of story telling that you have, and explaining them When did this start? At what age? You became a story teller. First I was a listener. Were you ever? Yes. I personally feel every storyteller needs to be a very good listener first. Only then he can understand Actually whenever I think about it. We used to have a cook, Ismail. Ismail was Behari. So at the time of partition, my father found him very young. At the railway station. He brought him home. So Ismail, was with our family for a really long time. And he eventually became a cook. My mother trained him in cooking. I remember very clearly, that is how I have this Art of story telling. Art of storytelling and cooking. Oh cooking. That’s where cooking developed. I used to watch him while he used to chop vegetables. While he was making Koftas, I still remember the spices and everything. And how he used to mix them I used to listen and watch what he’s doing. And he used to speak along? Ismail, had to watch a movie everyday. He used to run for it after 9 at night. How old was he? Who me? Yes. I must be about 6 or 7, probably 6 years old. And when he used to come the next day, he used to tell me the whole story of the film. With songs and dialogues. What happened, how it happened, Who did what in the film. These, Deedaar, Andaaz, Bhai Bhai, are all the stories that I heard from him. So it was fascinating for me to listen to him. And the way he used to tell the stories. So I personally feel that he taught me story telling in one way. Plus the instinct of cooking that I developed. You need to enjoy food Plus you need to enjoy how to cook food. So Ismail, used to enjoy cooking food. Because that’s how he was taught to make food Because if you don’t really enjoy cooking food the food wouldn’t turn out tasting delicious. No, you’re a good cook So you need to give alot of love and affection to the food. So, how was the environment of the house? Because I have been told that Peer Sahab, My father in law, your father Was mostly reading books. And stayed in his library, writing Because he was a play-write. So he spent more time writing, in his library. So how was the environment in the house? What did your mother and sisters used to do? What did Salman used to do? There was never a chaos But there were too many of us. 7 is okay, its not too many. But still. 12, 13, 14 is too many Still its a lot because we were in all ages. And then Faizan and Sadan came, twins. They were two, together. So its like you are growing up and siblings keep adding. So how was your mother? Was she strict? No she was very kind And calm. I have no memory of my father ever hitting me. I only got one slap once in my life. I remember it to date. And how old were you then? I was about 12. And what had you done to deserve that? No i must be 8 years old. Sadan and Faizan the twins, That is a tragedy of our language actually. Which caused this. And I learnt a lesson too that day. We had a maid for laundry, And Sadan and Faizan were at the stage where children repeat everything you say, so she taught them something in Punjabi. So I told her not to teach them this language because its bad. So this is when i got a slap. So this the tragedy of Punjabis that they dont talk to their children in their own language. Not even my mother did. We were never proud of our mother tongue. And we always preferred Urdu. Or English. Yes or English. That the language of an educated person should be Urdu. And we promoted it visually on television as well. So when you received that slap, what did your father say? He said this is wrong. Never say a thing like that about the language of your father and your grandfather and your great grandfather. And your mother Yes. You don’t say such a thing about the language of your forefathers. Then what did you learn from this? I was intrigued to think. that what did I actually say and why i said that? Why did I say that word? Where did it come to my mind from? that Punjabi is not a good language. So, that day to this I speak alot of Punjabi. I write Punjabi, speak Punjabi. What did you all use to discuss on the dining table? If we were ever together, Because our kitchen was always open So there were no strict timing? No no, my father was totally against regime. That there shouldn’t be regimentation. Human beings are ever changing. You cannot lock human beings in a system or a box. You cannot make humans a machine. That’s the reason he did not let me go to the army. I was fascinated with my cousin My cousin Raja Bhai was in the army. and he was in guides cavalry a beautiful arm of the army. Of our Pakistani army. Obviously started by a British. Its an armor division. And the ceremonial dress of guides cavalry is out of this world So I still remember we were in Peshawar and I saw Raja Bhai get ready with swords, belts and everything. And he was a very handsome guy he was known as ginger Raza in the army because of his red hair And he was fixing his hair with two brushes. And I was totally fascinated when I saw him. So that was the fascination and time that I wanted to join the army and my father made me sit down and said that you can serve your country in so many other ways. He thought that army keeps you in a systematized system. Like when we were there at the rangers we saw everything moving in clockwork. So, isn’t discipline a good thing? Don’t you think there should be some discipline in life? You’re probably right, but that was his concept. Because you need a discipline for everything. Even as an actor. As a writer also. You have to for certain hours a day. He was not strict Like this is the time for having dinner or lunch this is the time that everyone will get up or sit So whoever gets up will, have breakfast? Have lunch or dinner whenever they want? Yes, yes. Because I remember when i came to your house after marriage My first question from your mother was That you don’t say anything the kitchen stays open the whole day Why doesn’t every one eat at the same time? And she smiled And said that no, this is the way Peer Sahab wanted it. So what do you think if it was disciplined how would have you all been like? I don’t know, maybe you would be married to a General in the army. I might have taken over the country, Many times over. Okay, so why did you want to become an actor? Whats the early memory? Early memory is, that I saw my brother on stage productions of Government College Dramatics club. Beautiful productions. I still remember while the sun shines. It was a play about all the French, German and British army. So beautiful uniforms and all that. Lights and beautiful people on stage. Then I remember, Julius Caesar, when Mr. Zia Mohiuddin returned from the Royal Academy of America Arts after his training So he performed Julius Caesar in Urdu. In open air theater of Government college. I saw two performances of that. And you went with your father Once with my father and once with Salman. Because I wanted to go and see it again. And I still remember that play. Calpurnia Julius Caesars wife. Begum Khursheed Shahid. Naeem Tahir was Brutus. Cassius was Zia Mohiuddin himself. And Salman bhai was Mark Anthony. the coveted role And it was a beautiful play, costumes and all done in the open air theater. So I developed a fascination. Then I spent most of my time running in radio stations with my father we used to go on Saturdays and sometimes when we got annoying we were handed over to meezu apa Faiz sahabs house was on the opposite side Muneeza Hashmi? Yes, so thats how we grew up and then our lawn, in 25 Bahwalpur road was loaded with young artists. Actors and aspiring writers. In which were, Kamal Ahmad Rizvi, or Dr. Anwar Sajjad or Shoaib Hashmi All the youngsters of the time who were very serious about theater and drama there was a small hall in arts council where there was a capacity of 250 people theater was performed there. And well educated young people used to come and participate. Faiz sahabs own daughters Salima and Muneeza used to perform. I remember a few names like Ishrat Hamid Ghani and people like that they were a highly educated lot. I don’t remember at what time did our level drop down so much. and a cheap mentality developed and entered our theater I have no idea. But its not just our theater. This mediocrity seeped in our politics and as our society opened to more exposure, it seeped into that as well. And I think that Lahore’s very own remarkable culture There was a culture in inner Lahore And then an outer culture started developing. which started with the development that the British brought. Like mall road was constructed, GOR Victoria park, Bahawalpur road, Queens road when these are developed a new culture seeped in but the culture of the inner city where all your elites, musicians used to live and big music maestros used to live in inner city. And there were areas where wrestling used to take place. I remember there was ring in front of our house where wrestlers used to wrestle. And maybe you and I don’t have enough knowledge of classical music as much as these wrestlers do. There’s a reason for this, they have grown up to see all this How important is such an environment for a persons growth? I feel its not only important for the growth of a person, but for the nation. Art which is music, theater dance and painting The most important thing is that the multi culture of Lahore that had developed The outer Lahore and the inner Lahore. the beautiful combination that was being made of this beautiful culture it got ruined from small town migration. Although the people contribute, but it did not contribute in this case They become a part of us They bring their small town moralities along. So they were not able o leave behind their small moralities So they came and destroyed. They could not understand the big city culture. they had no idea of what Lahore really is. But I think that Lahore’s culture should have had enough power to fight small time mentality and morality. and instead getting molded in their colors should have molded them accordingly. this is the power of a city where did it go wrong there is still some of it left, otherwise it have been wiped out clean totally. Then here comes in the state level decisions Every new man tried to color us a new way Like Zia-ul-Haq imposed his own ideology. Now this is the time when you were a teenager No it was Bhuttos time that I was a teenager. In Zias time You were in your twenties. Yeah, we were already there. And we saw the destruction of values We saw the destruction of everything which was created. And how vulgarity moved in. Because when you restrict things and try to shut them down that this wont happen or that wont happne then it does happen, and spreads in the wrong way so it ruined everything, in every aspect of society. What were you dreaming when you were a teenager? About how would life be, how would Pakistan be. When I was a teenager, I never even thought of how would everything be. We lived in the time that we were living in. Our aspirations were doing Drama, Theater We were all very excited when a new drama or poem came in. Sarmad Sepahi came into our lives. Things like these. We didn’t have these fascilities. like computers, telephones which have limited us of our abilities to think and comprehend. Probably, you have more knowledge on your finger tips but your mind has been limited. creativity and imagination have been sabotaged People don’t read books. You dont read books because all the romance of the book is finished The romance of writing letters Because everything is make believe. If you want to do something visually, like a film you can do anything in front of a green screen. You can create what you think on screen. so these benefits are also there. Its not like everything is ruined. This is another technology, another world, another people. But that was a different romance. The romance of going in a train. The things were slow, it gave you the time to imagine because a train moves slow. letters take time to be written. Books demand time and attention. Do you remember the first book that your father handed to you? As a kid, to read. He sometimes handed over books that were difficult to understand. I remember him giving me because philosophy was his subject and there were alot of philosophy books in our house. You’ll be surprised I read Martin Buber And nietzsche when I was in matric. He handed me the book that read this I told him that I read but I did not understand anything. He said okay thats very good. Its very good that you did not understand it. Now tell me what did you not understand. That you questioned because you did not understand If you would have understood you wouldn’t have questioned. So questioning is very important. Did he ever read Shakespeare to you? Yes yes With all the kids sitting around. We used to have a puppet house in our house every month. We used to have recitation. And if you wanted to listen to peer Sahab so at night after 2:30 he used to read loudly in his library Because we understood it later That the bookaholics our father was like that He couldn’t live without books. Yes, man of letters. So there were 7 to 8 lacs of books in our house. And can be more but not less. Because our house was old and huge so the drawing and dining rooms were filled with books. There were piles of books on the floor Imran and I, sometimes used to play hide and seek between them. they were this much in number. And those books were series of general knowledge. I still remember going through those books pictures. Pictures about Africa All that was available to us So book was something very important for me. It is very sad that now the habit has died. But I’m picking up, trying Samina: Going back to reading. Usman: Going back to reading. Because we are from the reading generation. We are from the generation for whom book reading was important. Anyways Then? What? Tell about your teenage life. How did you go to GC, Government College University? Yes, I was still in school when the school I used to go to I d to face a small incident there where we had a teacher he slapped me twice, but I did not let him slap me the third time and it so happened that the Principal got to know about it. Then the Principal talked to both of us My teacher and me and sorted it out I apologized, the teacher also hugged me but somehow or the other i didn’t feel like sitting in the classroom after that. So I used to leave home for school, i used to have a friend Faiq, who is not in this world anymore. Faiq Ameen. He was already in Government College first year so I used to leave home for school I used to change my tie into the Government College tie. And used to go to Government College. So who cares there, whether you are enrolled in class or not. So I was in Government for almost 6-7 months without being enrolled. Samina: And nobody found out? And nobody found out. And I prepared for my matriculation exam So I passed my Matric exams with second division. And second division from 9th you have given 10th exams you know. So that second division was very close to third division. So It was hard to get into Government College. During this time, my principal came to our house for me and my father had found out that this kid hasn’t been going to school for months. So it was a panic situation at home So i told the reality. Then what happened? I want to know Abba’s reaction? Faiq was called. Abba used to like Faiq very much And Faiq said yes he goes with me to the college. So, when they found out that I have given Matric exams and the result is soon to be out and when the result was out, Then my father told me to not expect any sort of bribery from him. Because this is your decision, you go if you get admitted fine, otherwise appear again in matriculation exams. So I went to Shoaib Hashmi Sahab. I was a very good athlete. I was fantastic athlete. So I got some marks in athletics and some in drama. What games did you play? I was in relay race, Long jump, short jump I was Tennis player? Badminton. Okay. And a few more games. So I did not score enough to get an admission. But I had to get into Government College and not in any other college. Our childhood was spent in Government College. So then my great grandfather came to our help. My great grandfather, Peer Kamar Deen graduated from Government college in 1868 And me, his grandson, That was the first batch? Yes, first batch of Government college. He got admitted in 1864 and he graduated in 1868. So this was the first board of Government colleges history. And I think he was the only Muslim. Who graduated. So me, his grandson was going there after a 100 years. So from there, great grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers admission, multiplied and got me around 75 marks. Peer tahajuddin was a Ravian also? Peer Tahajuddin was a Ravian, Rafi Peer was a Ravian. I was And Salman? Salman was. Okay. And its about generations, not brothers. Second generation, third generations. I was fourth generation. And sometimes I think, if my father had not married my mother at the age that he did which is almost 40 when he married Amma. or 38 39. So I would have been, atleast 6th 5th or 6th generation. So, great grandfather helped and I got into Government College. After that 6 beautiful years of Government college. In which drama and lots of fun Romance and poetry. I am very interested in that. Everything happened in those years. In that time. Enjyed life to the fullest. Yes. I did romance with theater Then, Sarmad sepahi came into our lives And you started writing poetry. Yes I wrote some poetry. You wrote drama as well. Yes I did. Did alot Dramas And television was new at that time. Frankly speaking, I did not have alot of interest into going on television. We were more excited about theater. But Mr. Yawar Hayat Whenever there was a role of and English speaking child or character. the TV van used to come to Government college searching for me. Once I even had an argument with them. I said why do you do this Yawar Sahab? Whenever there is an English speaking role you give it to me. Aren’t you type casting me? So he used to laugh alot. Mustansar Hussain Tarar was saying that if Usman hadn’t become my younger brother So then you wouldn’t have met him because thats where he became an actor He wouldn’t have met you, you wouldn’t have gotten married. So I have a really big role in this. His play was ‘Rayt ka mahal’ I played his younger brother in that We were very involved, very excited. These were exciting, very exciting times, right? Alot of walks Going on cycles. No cycles had disappeared from our lives at that time. after going to college. Cycle was in school days. There was bus in college. Buses and walks. Coming out from Government college and then walking to Alfalah building and Wapda house was a must. The concept of not walking wasn’t there. Because I remember, when I met you You took me to Garden Town from Punjab University. And then from Garden town you took me to Gulberg. This was normal walk routine. We also walked to Punjab University on mall road. Yes. Yes, you took me for a walk there too. took me to NCA too. So you see the whole concept has vanished now. Because there is so much pollution now. You can’t even think of walking this distance. And how many hearts did you break? In this time period. No, I didn’t break any hearts You also experience heartbreak yourself, its not only that you break someone else’s heart. Oh so you did have a heart break? No, we didn’t have time for it, we were excited about other things. It was very strange. How was Lahore? I know the Lahore of your childhood. But when you were growing up. And of course I remember You all used to on the streets for Mr. Bhutto Yes. So you got caught and went to jail as well? We stayed locked in Civil lines for two days. What were you thinking at that time? That what are they going to make? What is about to happen? How will it all turn out to be? We didn’t think of any of this. But, I don’t know why That there will be a revolution. We had started first year when there was a call that we have to go out on mall road the whole of government college is going to mall road. We went out for protest. there was not so much violence back then. But boys did attack wine shops Not that they burned them down. They took chilled beers and vodkas and drank. Whichever one they got hands on. Shops got plundered. Thats not a good thing. That is not a good thing at all. Thats a horrible thing to do. And this trend of plundering still goes on today. Its not a good thing. Whatever the cause may be. Because we forget that this is our own country. It doesn’t belong to someone else now, it belongs to us. We should remember this. I remember very clearly, that back in the time I used to lecture in NCA. So mall road got locked up. Point was that.. But we’ll not come here yet, we’ll go back because these times were very interesting. There was a revolution all over the world The beatles were singing amazing songs. About change, equality, Vietnam, flower power, hippies This is all that time. When youth of that time was trying to bring change on earth, everywhere in the world. Wanted to move towards equality economic equality, equality in opportunity, and was trying to bring revolution through music. through films. So you were part of that. Ofcourse. You were very much part of that. Thats what I was saying that we were involved in all this. The new writings coming in The new writers writing things Thats what I am saying. That at that time what was Pakistani youth dreaming of? What did they want? To change the face of the politics Pakistani youth was wanting change. And in that, was democracy, freedom of speech then you had dynamic people like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Whose speeches, whether he meant it or not Or whether you agreed with him or not. So there was this dynamic politician who could speak the language of the street, who talked to the people and they would understand him. And although he came from a a feudal background, but he could talk the language of of the masses he knew what will click with them. But why does it happen, that all the dreams that are shown whatever the plans are whatever the political cloud is of the time They never fulfill their promises. I think that every leader needs this. For the satisfaction of their self. But their should be social change as well. The ones who follow them, they also have some right, no? Those promises should be fulfilled for them. In a way politics changed after Bhutto. Politics did change. The nicest thing that happened at that time was Although the promises and manifestos were not fulfilled but Public did gain courage. and self confidence. That they did not remain slaves Their body language changed. But that freedom was taken away instantly With coming of the army. That freedom was killed. That free spirit, That free thinking That creativity was murdered. When that got murdered, then as a result of it we are suffering its consequences to date. Things are disappearing. You tell me, from that time onwards how many poets or writers or dramatists or research scientists have been born? What have people done in the name of creativity? Now the effects of it are getting worn off. Now you can see things being done in pockets. Yong are breaking through. Some are going to Hollywood and getting awards Some are working in the back drop. So you have these these changes coming, but we would have been as a nation, I don’t know where if this this horror slot, the 71 war had not happened. even the 65 one shouldn’t have happened because these wars actually took us back, economically they took us back. They do, wars do. There is no win win situation in a war. Someone else who is selling the arms and bombs and tanks and guns for the war wins. Tha nation never wins. Where are you today? You look back at so many things , where are you today? Are you there where you should be? Or there where you had dreamt of being? Are you happy? I am not frustrated or anyhting. I am not angry anymore, I used to be very angry. Why were you angry? Because the way things happened in this country. because this country can offer much more to people. our country is a remarkable country, it doesn’t have it has intelligent people like you and me. and so many of us are here, its not like we are small there is abundant talent in this country There are opportunities as well. if you won’t manage the opportunities. If our politicians won’t manage this country and if we stay pawns to other nations and give our assisstance to them in their adventures from our army to our bureaucracy if everyone will be busy in assisting them so then, that why we are where we are What would you like to change? But I don’t want to think about it anymore I want to concentrate more on what I am doing. I want to enjoy as an actor I want to enjoy as a writer I want to enjoy probably as a director, my first preference was always directing So i want to enjoy those things. And I want to do with the best of my abilities. Would you train young people? Yes, all that I have learnt I want to pass on that knowledge. And I want to share it with people. So that’s what I am doing. Have you ever thought that Peerzadas should start an academy? We are very seriously thinking of a school for acting. because I personally feel it is very important here in Lahore. and like there is an academy in Karachi called NABA which is doing a wonderful job. But for Lahore students, we want to introduce short courses because sometimes people don’t have time to spend 4 years. so we want to introduce short courses like 6 months to a year. where there is training for acting, script writing the work we do keeping aside the technical side removing the camera and editing stuff development of the raw material how to work how do you pick stories how do you create stories. what are the things that you would like your audience to watch and see What makes you happy? My daughters. Make me very happy. because I can see how enthsiastic they are how creative they are and how excited they get to do things And what makes you sad? what makes me sad is about my country what is happening to it Is the public responsible for it Maybe the public is All of this starts from the top instead of going from bottom to top. we ask ourselves, what have we done maybe we did less, maybe we did not speak up at that time All the weird things happening infront of you its very strange how religion, in our country is being traded and shown as a commodity. whether its the media or a mosque Although religion makes you spiritually alive. Takes you to a next level because if your spirit is free your spirit is alive then automatically your body can also work, when you are alive. so spirituality is the most important thing of your being. What is success for you? I don’t know, success what can be success? Frankly speaking, I never thought about it. like people wish for alot of houses, cars, so that is success. People think that material gain is success. No i dont think so. So what is success for you? For me material gain is not success Success is when you are very happy with your work. work makes you happy, work makes you successful. if you are not happy in your work then how can you be a success then you can say i am a successful person in my life I thank God that I do the work that I love. Thank God that I don’t have to do the work that I don’t want to do. And what is failure? Failure is where you dream alot of things and you are not able to achieve it then you come to a road where it ends and you say okay its finished now. I can’t go ahead from here and I have not done what I thought and I dreamt of doing. And then you can turn it into a success. You can go back. If you have the time. Is there anything like, if you had an eraser and you would back and erase it? Any regret? No, what has happened has happened. I never regret. Long time ago my father taught me this lesson that if you make a mistake in life don’t sit and cry over it you learn from it, that why did you do that never repeat it again, that is a success. So I have tried to repeat a mistake over and over again. You enjoyed it so much I was like no, this time it should, this time it should. And what is that? I trust people. And then they disappoint you. I personally feel nobody is a bad person. Nobody is a bad person, everybody has his own way of going about life or maybe their circumstances have made them like this obviously, circumstances make a man what he becomes. so i think no one is bad in this world. its the way I think its the moment, its the reaction. some people alot of people hate other people they are bad, they keep grudges they have anger and lie in them and these are all the things that every religion tries to take out of you, so that you are clean you dont have anger, grudges you dont hate. You tried alot to take away my anger. So I don’t know what I was angry about. That anger was on mediocrity on the way things were our training as a family and then when you don’t see things going that way maybe I was angry about that. Have you ever hated someone? Maybe I did, but not now. I think it is I don’t understand hatred, from anything. how can man hate? Are you ever jealous? yes. You’re jealous? At times. To the extent when you are jealous of good work and you want to do it yourself. Not that you become negative in jealousy. And stop appreciating someones work You appreciate someones work and wish that you could do like that. so that I think is a good sense to be like that I have always wanted to know this, and I am going to ask you today. Many years ago, almost 43 years ago when we met second day of our meeting I had said that you are good husband material on the first day I proposed you What were you thinking when I asked you to marry me? And we had just met. I thought you were crazy. I have always wanted to ask you this What was going into your mind when I said that will you marry me? And if you won’t then please take a walk. I thought this girl from Karachi is crazy Lets say yes if she wants to marry We’ll see what happens later. What else would a person think on the second day? i remember you smiled but i wanted to know what was going on in your mind. Crazy girl from Karachi What is this? So what was on your mind? So what was it? what attracted you about me? I really want to know. Your mind, the way you talked andyou had the confidence you had the confidence of asking me to marry you. that also And your energy it was a very positive energy. oh thankyou. And then when i came to you and said that lets go get married today what happened then? you looked at me confused and suggested to do it on Sunday. so the two days between Friday and Sunday You were trying to buy time. what was that? No no, I wanted to shave. To get married you should be clean and all that. I wanted to shave. Oh so you were thinking that. Yes I didn’t have that proper beard. so i wanted to shave so in these years that you have been with me almost 43 years in January. What would you say to me? About? About whatever. You say you have never been able to say, you can say it today. Thankyou very much for tolerating me all these years I can say that much. Aw Thankyou. Because I am a crazy person myself. No, I love your craziness. I think I like being with this mad man. Sometimes angry young man And then later angry old man. I think its fun being with you Old is a bad thing. I am not old, I am still very young. You see you should never kill that child in you. The child who wonders The child who thinks. The child who dreams If you kill that child, that’s the time when you become old. And that is when you are 35 years old, you are old. I have seen some 35 year olds as very old people. No my child within me is very happy and very excited. My child is jumping and smiling and happy. Thats the reason we are the way we are. I want to know one more thing, we waited 12 years to have our first child, Anum. Because I have no memory, because I was not allowed to hold her because I was under anesthesia But you held her first what was that moment? Great. Because we waited 12 years for that moment. But before that we didnt know whether it was a boy or a girl Because the doctor didn’t tell us maybe they were thinking that it should be a boy after 12 years kind of a thing So I still remember Anum was a caesarean child. You were in operation when they brought her outside i had no idea about the gender They were two nurses They came with their heads bent, i stepped forward she was in a pram they were taking the baby so the nurse said to me, What the God wills is what happens so human beings are helpless infront of Gods will So when she started saying things like this I got terrified I thought something went wrong. They meant that its not a boy but a girl First child after 12 years and that too a girl So that jolted me and that confused me. Those words are still in my memory. But ofcourse, holding Anum in my hands was beautiful Although at first the baby is newly born even the features are not completely developed Do you believe that men and women are equal? Yeah, I think so. Why not. That’s how I grow up. Then why do men hit women and rape and are so violent why does man do this? i think this is an old phenomenon it is from years what does man get by doing that to a woman? because he feels physically stronger than the woman. Why is it there? You have never hit me. even if two men are stayingg in the same house or even four. They end up fighting even Fighting is another thing. raping, hitting, enjoying the oppression, why? I think its an old instinct that’s still in the genes You have never hit me We do fight but you have never hit me You are also a man because I never saw my father doing that to my mother So it is important, that if the father respects the mother of the child, then the kid will further respect his wife. And now we have a son in law. Do you feel that you have that relationship with him now? That you would have had with your son. yes, probably. slowly and gradually. you guys are becoming friends. What is life? Life is to be I think, celebrated, enjoyed, felt and it is zero without creativity. because creativity is life Life by itself is creativity. Its created. So when you are You need to create, you need to you need to express and think and you need to bring those thoughts into action Thats what life is. And death? Death is the final curtain.When you say when you wear out. When its like this camera when model gets old it becomes useless But it doesnt happen that way always. Sometimes people leave in their prime age. Like Faizan. He left in the prime time of his life. Look at our mother. She lived her full life. Then slowly and gradually Her faculties stopped She lived her life She gave us time and prepared us but Faizan didn’t prepare That is sad. That part, when you suddenly go away from this world like a young army officer dies on the front suddenly. everything is working fine and he dies in an unnatural way with a bullet or we say it was fate maybe he was meant to die that day in that way Do you believe that it is written? I strongly believe. because i have lived through that. we were going to watch a movie auriga liberty cinema was newly made and suddenly a friends car came Yousaf Salauddin. So we hid from him that we have our movie plan God knows what Yousaf has to say we went inside his house and locked th door An we told Faiqs younger brother to tell Yousaf that Faiq is sleeping But Yousaf had seen us. He knocked the door and said lets go for movie. Now we were walking because our houses were nearby so we sat in Yousafs car he took a turn to mall road main gulbergs jail road we asked him where are you going, he said no we are going to another cinema all these cinemas were new at the time Faiq told him 2-3 times to go back I don’t feel like watching this movie After that we had an accident Today there’s Yousaf and me but Faiq is gone. Do you ever think that where will we all go? No I dont. What kind of a relationship do you have with God? Whether its heaven or hell, where I have to go I dont want to think about it He can send wherever He wants to.