Veteran Bollywood actor performs Haj discreetly

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Updated 08 October 2014

Veteran Bollywood actor performs Haj discreetly

Prominent Indian actor and scriptwriter Kader Khan was awestruck by the Kaaba when he saw it for the first time, according to his son who accompanied him on Haj this year. Sarfaraz Khan, who is also an actor in the Indian film industry, said the 78-year-old simply stared at the structure.
“He looked at the Kaaba seemingly forever and was completely mesmerized by it,” he told Arab News during a conversation in Mina on Monday. “There is a huge difference between theory and practice,” Sarfaraz said, quoting from his father. “We read a lot about religious practices but to come here and see it all in reality provides a real and tangible context to our prayers.”
Sarfaraz, 38, and his younger brother, Shahnawaz, 35, accompanied their father on Haj. Kader Khan, who acted in more than 400 films and scripted an equal number, was ruffled by the attention from his fans and curious onlookers. “They would come and shake hands with him and he would look a little disapprovingly at them,” said Sarfaraz. “He told them to focus on their religious duty and to allow him to do his duty toward Allah.”
Sarfaraz said his father never hankered after fame. “It came to him unasked. He was not into films. He was teaching civil engineering at M.H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering in Mumbai and he would do theater as a hobby. One day, Bollywood’s legendary actor Yusuf Khan, popularly known as Dilip Kumar, was looking for a character actor when someone told him about my father. Dilip Kumar liked my father’s acting and cast him in a film called ‘Bairaag.’ That is how his film journey began in 1976,” he said.
Arab News did not persist in seeing Kader Khan because Sarfaraz said his father did not want to give interviews and sought to carry out his religious duties in peace.
Sarfaraz said his grandfather, Kader Khan’s father, was an Islamic scholar of repute. “My father too is a scholar in his own right. He has written more than 200 books on Islamic studies. He loved teaching. My father had a knack of explaining complex things in a very easy way and so my grandfather asked him to use that talent to good use,” he said.
Sarfaraz said his father was born in Kabul and not Baluchistan as is widely believed thanks to a Wikipedia entry. “My mother comes from Quetta,” he said. His father has never been to his country and city of birth, said Sarfaraz. “But now he wants to.”
He said his father has a close relationship with Abdul Kuddus, 46, the eldest son in the family, who is based in Canada. “He is more like a friend to him. Whereas we are simply dutiful sons, always nodding our heads to everything he says,” said Sarfaraz with a smile.
Sarfaraz recalled many anecdotes from his father’s life. “Our eldest brother Abdul Quddus would always end up fighting fellow students at school in Mumbai because they would tease him by saying, ‘Look, your father got a good drubbing in that film,’” he said. “Such frequent fights at school led my father to give up playing the role of villain in Bollywood films.”
In an industry known for actors promoting their progeny, Sarfaraz said his father never picked up the phone to ask his fellow actors, directors or scriptwriters to give them a break. “He never did that,” said Sarfaraz. “He wanted us to chart our own course, create our own space.”
Both Sarfaraz and Shahnawaz have acted in and directed films. Despite being in the film industry, they are deeply God-fearing. “That is in our DNA,” said Sarfraz, who was very courteous and affable throughout the conversation. The two sons took turns carrying their wheelchair-bound father at the holy sites. “It was extremely gratifying and heartening to be here with our father,” he said. “It is always an indescribable feeling to see a smile on your father’s face. As sons, what else can we ask for?”


Saudi Arabia among top 10 in UN’s e-commerce index

Updated 09 December 2019

Saudi Arabia among top 10 in UN’s e-commerce index

  • The index ranked the Kingdom 49th in the global ranking

RIYADH: The UN e-commerce index ranked Saudi Arabia among the top 10 countries in the e-commerce sector. 

The index, issued by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, ranked the Kingdom 49th in the global ranking, rising three places in the general index.

The report indicated that the improvement achieved by the Kingdom came from two criteria: The proportion of Internet use — which has risen to 93 percent — and the rising postal reliability standard.

Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha said that this achievement came as a result of unlimited support from the leadership.

He added that the ministry works with partners to develop the Kingdom’s digital capabilities to invest in the growth of future projects in order to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans.