‘Dilip Kumar once asked me to give one of my sons to him’
Interview by Ayesha Gull & Azka Meer
The media are controlled by owners and you can’t say what the owners don’t want you to say. They only want money at the end of the day and they are making it. People start channels and their only incentive is to sit with the president of Pakistan and turn their black money into white money. Dilip Kumar once asked me to give one of my sons to him so he could train him but my sons refused and one of them even stated that our grandfather stopped you from joining this field as well. This was expressed by Khalid Abbas Dar also known as Darling due to his famous TV character performed on Express News, in an exclusive interview with The Educationist. Following are the details:
The Educationist: Sir you are an actor, director, producer, entertainer, journalist and a legendary mimic too. You perform so many roles. Which role is your favorite?
Khalid Abbas Dar: I like every role that I decide to perform. I cannot live same kind of life. I have done every work in this field except dishonesty and enjoyed everything. First I started with mimicry, I worked on radio where I used to sing and conduct children’s program when I grew older in age I also started theatre along with mimicry and then age of TV came.
To be honest I’ve done everything but I enjoy theatre the most. My life started as a mimic and then I worked at the theatre and movies and I still work on radio and TV. By the grace of God I’m so blessed that when I was in GC they gave me role of honor and this is the only role of honor in 150 years which I received and no one else has gotten it. Then the government gave me presidential award for pride of performance then Sitara-i-Imtiaz and then Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
The Educationist: So do you consider yourself an entertainer in real life as well?
Khalid Abbas Dar: No, I’m not an entertainer in my personal life. I entertain in studios and in front of the camera. In ordinary life it isn’t feasible to entertain 24/7. I’m a commoner in general public and I don’t have the urge to do this at every hour of the day. According to me, in this world created by Allah you are an individual first and then a character and a professional. I’m an ordinary man with ordinary life and I’m very happy like that. I’m happy to travel in aQingchi or a donkey cart. Sometimes, I travel via van for fun and when people ask me why I say that I wanted a change of pace.
Double role star plays single simple life
The Educationist: How many difficulties did you face in your career and how did you overcome them?
Khalid Abbas Dar: I’m probably the only person who does not know the meaning of difficulty or its concept. I have told you before, if you are honest, if you are hardworking then it is against the grace of God that you do not receive the reward. By the grace of God I have never faced a difficulty. I’m alive on merit and I work very little but God blesses me a lot. Difficulty is nothing according to me.
The Educationist: When you started your career did your family accept it happily or did you face oppositions and restrictions?
Khalid Abbas Dar: My family and forefathers were orthodox, they used to say to me “which work have you started”. At that time the kids who used to go to theatre and radio were said to be spoiled. In the beginning kids of a few houses were spoiled and when kids of many houses became spoiled with time due to us (while laughing) they upgraded it (theatre) in 1985-86 as Performing Arts and said it’s really a wonderful thing. Then youngsters of many houses joined this field and it was concluded that this was a very good field.
The Educationist: Can you recall some of your most memorable and difficult characters?
Khalid Abbas Dar: In 1967, I did the role of a beggar on TV and for a month or a half or so I visited numerous tombs so I could deeply analyze the life of beggars. I was given an award for that role.
For another role, I visited the mortuary in King Edward Medical College (now university) and I used to drink tea with the person in-charge of dead bodies over there to observe his behavior and patterns. I always did my research from the society to perform any character. Another character which was tough for me was the role of Satan and I asked my producer Yawar Hayat how to perform that character. Ultimately, when we acted, our live show was praised by everyone.
The Educationist: Who is your ideal personality?
Khalid Abbas Dar: My ideal personality is Dilip Kumar because out of the 12 State Awards, he received 12 as a comedian and five for his tragedian role. So he is the epitome of a comedic actor for me. Moreover, I am also a very big fan of Gary Cooper. Dilip Kumar once asked me to give one of my sons to him so he could train him. But none of my sons agreed to go to India. One of them even stated that our grandfather stopped you from joining this field as well.
The Educationist: Why do you think your show “Dar and Darling” is popular even after 9 years?
Khalid Abbas Dar: The case with Darling is that, my last performance was in 1986 on PTV and then I left for 24 years after that. Later, I accepted the offer of Express News in 2009 and started the program. Then they asked what kind of show I wanted to host. I said I and Qawi Khan could do something together. They said that they were not making Buddah association, and to be honest their wording didn’t sound good to me. They said that they had a concept and I would realize it. In the programme, there would be two people. But I resisted that there wouldn’t be two people, I’ll perform alone and I’ll perform both the characters. My friend Qazi Saeed, who is working on Public TV, a very good anchor said to me that I should name the programme Darling. My writer Yasir Peerzada said to me that I could play one role as an individual and the other as an idiot but I said that my admirers wouldn’t accept me playing a defected role , leave it I’ll handle it myself. Then one character became Darling, he was from general public and the other as Dar Sahab who is Khalid Abbas Dar an educated character, aristocrat and who talks keenly. I have seen artists who have faced failure after their great success. I’m the only one in the entire showbiz, thanks to God, who is successful. Before people ask you to stop, you should do it yourself. In our culture like Akmal Khan, Mazhar Shah, Nadeem, Shahid, Muhammad Ali, these film stars left when they faced downfall.
The Educationist: In your show Dar and Darling, you do satire on government. Has PEMRA ever noticed you?
Khalid Abbas Dar: No,PEMRA has never gotten in my way because I know where I have to stop. I’ve never received a single notice from PEMRA in my nine years doing Darling. A lot of journalists were served legal notices but Alhamdulillah I’ve never been. If you are honest, no one can harm you.
The Educationist: You’ve played important role in projecting soft image of Pakistan, do you think the national media is responsibly contributing to it?
Khalid Abbas Dar: The media are controlled by owners and you can’t say what the owners don’t want you to say. They only want money at the end of the day and they are making it. People start channels and their only incentive is to sit with the president of Pakistan and turn their black money into white money.
Today a lot of channels are closing due to shortage of finances and the contribution of state has a big role in that. And if the state doesn’t support then there will be problems. As a result there are no jobs in media today.
The Educationist: Do you think that young generation must not join this field?
Khalid Abbas Dar: The young generation is better from us. Firstly, they have Google to borrow many things and learn. Secondly, we all are remembered by youth that what Qavi Khan has done what Khalid Abbas Dar, Nanha Kamal, Ahmad Rizvi and Nusrat Ijaz have done and our elders Aslam Pervaiz, Muhammad Ali what they used to do. These young people in showbiz remember all of us, the performance of 70 years, that’s why they are comfortable and better from us. No one is weak and they are educated.
In our time people were not educated but they used to work a lot and now when you have education and total performances in your mind, Google it and when you go into archives and see what Johnny Walker used to do, then a person learns many things. These days, so many shows have the same format. There is a girl whose sole role is to act as a laughing machine, one is a presenter and there are comedians. Honestly, I don’t believe that female artists are the ticket to success.
The Educationist: What is your advice for aspiring and upcoming journalists?
Khalid Abbas Dar: Read as much as you can. Until you study and analyze and by study I don’t mean read course books and get good marks and you become a good journalist. I mean observe deeply. Go to Punjab Public Library and read Zamindar, so you can realize what makes it different from everything else. Moreover, be honest, that’s the only key to success.