Manzar Sehbai: I am not an actor

He gained recognition as Hakim, an ogre in the dusty households of Pakistan in Bol. But a candid chat with the veteran actor reveals that he is far removed from the character he essayed. The soft spoken Sehbai talks about his rendezvous with legendary Dilip Kumar, his passion and his association with the Bhatt camp

Manzar Sehbai has spent the last 35 years in Germany. And while there, he was closely associated with theatre. He was first noticed for his performance in Dark Room (1967), a theatrical masterpiece where he shared the stage with Usman Peerzada, Imran Aslam and Shoaib Hashmi. After that Sehbai dabbled in numerous plays on television and finally gained much-deserved recognition with Shoaib Mansoor’s movie, Bol. While Bol was his first movie in Pakistan, now he is all set to make his debut in Bollywood with Ya Rab!

Tell us something about your upcoming movie, Ya Rab!

I can’t tell you much about the movie. I do not have permission for that. All I want to say is that it’s a collective effort in which many people are involved who have worked hard and with lots of passion. I think it will turn out to be a beautiful movie.

What is your role in the film?

My role is that of a neurosurgeon. I can’t reveal any more than that.

The name of the movie, Ya Rab! has spiritual connotations…

No. Just because the movie has ‘Rab’ in it, it doesn’t mean it is based on terrorism or spiritualism. It has everything in it – action, romance, drama. It’s a kind of social drama. There are many components and elements that have gone into the making of this movie. To create an atmosphere, you don’t need only one thing. And all come together during the making of a film.

Ya Rab! is your first movie with the Bhatts. How does it feel to be associated to the Bhatt camp?

I have still not met them. Actually, I know very few people from here (industry). And I am not conversant with these terms (camp). But I have heard that they are also related to this movie, though I can’t talk much about it. Maybe I will meet them soon.

What are you future plans as an actor?

I am not an actor. I am not the professional kind of an actor. If I get a chance, I do it. If someone calls me, explains what he is doing and wants me to do it, I would do it. But I don’t relate to the tag of an ‘actor’.

What about direction?

I am nothing. I am not a director, actor or producer. I am just a simple man as you are seeing me. All you require in this industry is passion. And I can safely say that I have it in me. Whatever I do, I do it very passionately. You can call it acting, directing or whatever else you want. But I call it passion.

You recently met Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan. How was the experience?

Ah! That’s a difficult question. It is difficult to express it in words. The meeting was very beautiful. And I am very thankful to him that he took time out for me. In fact, he spent a long while with me. I was sitting beside him for one whole hour. He talks very little. He only expresses his joy. We talked about Peshawar. And it’s my good fortune that I came here and I got a chance to meet Dilip saab. He wouldn’t let go of my hand for the entire while. He was very excited. And I kept standing at the same place all the time.