After giving Bollywood more than three decades, Habibullah of Amitabh Bachchan-starer ‘Khuda Gawah’, Ali Khan is still waiting for what he deserved from the world of lights, camera and action. But the philosophy of ‘Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye’ is something which has been blessing this onscreen villain with good friends off screen since he made his first small appearance in 1984 with Shatrughna Sinha in a movie called ‘Kalka’.
The actor spoke with The Pioneer at length about his journey so far during his visit to Ranchi for his maiden Nagpuri movie named Mahua. Excerpts:
Congratulations for your first Nagpuri movie and welcome to Jharkhand, once again.
Thank you so much. I have born and been brought up in Bihar and have been in Jharkhand earlier also for a couple of movies. But this (Mahua) is my first movie in Nagpuri and I am enjoying a different kind of experience this time.
How did you get into this profession of lights, camera and actionIJ
I did have passion for acting. I used to participate actively in school and college level cultural programmes, especially drama. Once you are thirsty, you start digging. I went to Mumbai to pursue my goals. After couple of years’ struggle, I got a chance to share some shots with Shatrughna (Sinha) Ji in a movie named Kalka, which somehow didn’t click. However, this struggle led me to an English movie named The Somalian Darvesh, and a couple others. Finally, Amitabh Bachchan-Sridevi starrer Khuda Gawah brought me in demand after what I played as Habibullah, a villainous character in the movie.
You moved to regional cinemas before you could be an established name in Bollywood. Was it because Bollywood couldn’t give what you deservedIJ
Yes, in a way. But it is not that I was a forgotten name. I did movies like ‘Escape from Taliban’, ‘Khalnayakon Ka Khalnayak’, ‘Karz’, ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, ‘Border Hindustan Ka’, ‘Khiladi’, ‘Khoon Ka Karz’ and many more, mostly as a prominent villain. But it is true that getting movies only for a couple of scenes was not feasible. Hence, I moved to regional cinemas. I did Tamil, Telugu, Gujrati, Bangali, Bhojpuri and other regional movies and kept myself in demand.
Do you think locals have been ignored or forgotten when a panel on film promotion came into existence last year in the StateIJ
It happens. I have been advocating and fighting for film making infrastructure here in Jharkhand, because this State has everything in terms natural beauty which any film maker could have aspired to have in one of his films.
I think many prominent faces from Jharkhand and Bihar were ignored at the time when Film Making Policy and a promotion board was given shape. But the good thing is that finally it took shape which would ultimately help anyone aspiring to make a movie from the State.
How according to you is demonetisation going to affect movie industryIJ
Vary badly, for good reasons. The amount of black money involved in making a movie has remained unimaginable.
The entire nexus between black money hoarders, smugglers and people like them, if any, in movie making has been shattered just by one move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Now only serious businessmen would think of making movies. Demonetisation has simply destroyed black money from movie making.
Are you planning something in Jharkhand for aspiring local actors-directorsIJ
Yes. I am planning an acting institute here in Ranchi itself for them, as the State remains a mine for talented actors-directors in Bollywood also. I have a small piece of land here, which has all the possibilities to be turned into an acting school. I am working on it, seriously.