Believe in yourself: Javed Jaffrey

Believe in yourself: Javed Jaffrey

City Times met with the inspiring actor on his recent trip to Dubai to adjudicate a talent hunt for the UAE's blue-collar workforce

By Saman Haziq

Published: Sun 14 Jul 2019, 9:11 AM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jul 2019, 4:58 PM

Although Bollywood is ruled by just a few actors, there are some actors who are defined by not the number of hit movies they have delivered but by their ability to entertain the audience in whichever role they play onscreen. One such gifted actor who has entertained the masses all these years in various films with his iconic roles is Javed Jaffrey.
The multi-talented actor who is known for perfecting many other roles such as dancer, singer, choreographer, VJ, emcee, and ad filmmaker among others, was recently in town to promote a meaningful event. With the thought of delivering happiness and simple pleasures of life like entertainment to a very hardworking section of our society, Jaffrey, best known for the longest running dance show on Indian television Boogie Woogie, visited Dubai to judge a blue-collar workers' talent hunt, Colors Ka Sartaj Season 2.
City Times caught up with Jaffrey, who is also known for his comic caricatures in Hindi cinema, to chat about how he unearths talent at talent shows, what he loves about the UAE,  and his take on reality shows.
How is this reality show for blue-collar workers different from other reality shows you have judged?
Firstly, of course this show is limited to a certain group of people who belong to a different economic strata and they all come from very humble backgrounds. In fact most of them have a lot of pathos and tragedy they hide behind the smiles and performances they give. So for them, these moments mean a lot. Secondly, for me to be at such a show is a learning experience; this is the second time I am attending such a show here and seeing so much talent in participants with such limited resources just amazes me. Also the love and adulation they show towards me is really touching and encouraging. They look up to me as a role model but I feel I haven't done anything to fit that category.
Role models are people who bring about changes in the world and make a difference in people's lives. I haven't done anything but be an entertainer and I feel blessed that they acknowledge my work. Their love and excitement means a lot to me.
What is the difference between older talent shows such as Boogie Woogie and newer ones?
Boogie Woogie was very organic. Now, I feel, shows lack emotions and have become too mechanical. I agree that a lot more talent is coming to the fore through these innumerable shows and platforms but sometimes I feel such shows get a bit manipulative and the essence, emotion and intention is lost among all the drama that is created, such as zooming in on tears or showing crying parents repeatedly just to create a hype. In Boogie Woogie, we let the whole interaction between the participant, his family and the audience take shape naturally. So we believed in having fun with them and not making fun of them. We as judges were never arrogant because of the position we were in, on the contrary we were grateful to our participants and audience because of whom the show became the show that it was.
We believed in giving respect to all who came and participated in the show, which is why I believe the show ran for so long (1996-2011), and it garnered respect even among conservative families, who allowed female members to come out and participate as they saw the respect and values we adhered to.
What impresses you as a judge?
Although performances can be of different types - singing, dancing, acting - but the deciding factor apart from of course the performance itself, is the attitude with which the performer takes the stage. What I look for is a participant coming on the stage with confidence, with an emotion to appeal to the audience, and whether he has that hint of arrogance. One should have confidence, and not be too meek, yet not show arrogance. And of course then the performance, the effort put into it - from picking the right song, to matching it with the right expressions, costumes, props, and the way one executes it on stage.
Any advice you would like to give youngsters on finding their calling?
Give yourself some time and believe in yourself. You know what your heart wants and your interest in that particular activity shows your talent that you can hone further with practice. Your talent will speak for itself, and you will realise this when people take notice, rather than blowing your own trumpet. When I was young I received this advice and I give it to my children too: Be honest, give your 100% to your work and don't lie, cheat or do things that can harm or hurt people. The rest is your destiny and you will get what is destined for you.

What appeals to you most about Dubai?
It is a very international, cosmopolitan kind of a space where you find a great mix of East and West. It is impressive to see a balanced intermingling of cultures in the UAE. The best part about Dubai is that over the years, although it has evolved in terms of technology, education, architecture and more yet it has managed to retain its own culture despite being inhabited by over 200 nationalities. That is absolutely amazing and I find Dubai in particular is a great model of co-existence for the world. 

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