The generation over late thirties is quite familiar with Shahzad Hussain. Over a period of time he has been able to add couple of feathers in his hat from getting best actors award while still at school to becoming the first freelance director in the State of Jammu and Kashmir for Doordarshan Srinagr.

Excerpts from an interaction with Rajesh Prothi

There is always a first break. How did your break come by?
 It started too early and as far as I can recall it was way back in 1977 during my school days that I  got a chance to perform in the Red Cross Society event in Himachal Pradesh. Ironically, for my this performance I won the best actors award. I still recall how surprised I was. But let me confess that this award not only boosted my interest in this field but kind of determined my way forward. This is how it all started

Actors who are in your age group started their journey on stage, either at school or in collage. Which was your first major break and when?

As I said it all started in Himachal Pradesh. However, on my return home I worked with few amateur theatre groups during which I was highly encouraged by Late Shaminder Raina jee and Mr Kanaya Dhar jee. This further boosted the artist in me. Somehow, as if destiny was playing its hand, all this made me serious towards this field. Way back in 1980 Alanker Theatre was started under the President-ship of late Shaminder Raina jee, I was one  of the founding members of the Group. This in itself shows how serious I had become.  The Group staged a play called “Delhi Ooncha Sunti Hai”. This play gave me an opportunity to act in a full-length theatrical drama.

The theatrical play “Delhi Ooncha Sunit Hai” was directed by whom?Shahzad Hussain
This was Directed by Mr Ashok Jailkhani and was performed at Tagore Hall  in Srinagar.

How old were you at that time?
I was the youngest artist and I got an opportunity to share the stage with the then senior artists like Late Shaminder Raina jee, Maharaj Shah jee,and many more. I was still a school going boy.

You also were seen in DD Srinagar plays. When did you make your first debut on television?
The year 1980 was the year the foundation of acting career was laid. I cleared the audition for DD Srinagar and made my television debut first in a Tele-film in 1982 Directed by Mr Ashok Jailkhani and then in  Tele-serial entitled “Harud” which  was one of the most popular on air serials of that time.

Besides the year you stepped into you acting career are there any other miles stones you would like to talk about?
I made my debut as a director in 1991 for television. I was the first freelance director in the State. This marked the era of freelance direction in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and paved the way for a whole new generation of freelance directors.

Education plays an important part in person’s personality. In your case how was it?
My school life was no different then that of youngster growing up during those times. Except that I studied in various schools between Srinagar and Jammu. Interestingly, I was always a silent kid who found it very difficult to make new friends at new places. But, by the time I joined college things were just the opposite. I was already a known face, thanks to television and making new friends was just looking part of daily chores.

You started your acting career when the situation of Kashmir was very different. Has this industry moved in the right direction?
Much has changed since then. Unfortunately, the change is not something which should have been part of this industry evolution in the State. Earlier, work was worship and every one was committed and was a professional. However, during the interim period, many people exploited the situation. This has resulted in lots of degradation of the industry which otherwise had the best of people. It became more a money game. However, I strongly believe that good things do survive.

Was there any resistance from the home front when you opt for acting?
My family never had an issue with me becoming an artist as a matter of fact both my parents were keen followers of theatre, television and cinema and supported this journey of mine.

What are the challenges as an artist you faced in Kashmir?
My journey was no doubt a hard one. I had to face my share of challenges which were financial as well as technical. But my passion helped me to get over them and it somewhere helped me to grow as a person also.

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