Actor Waleed Zaidi recently spoke about theatre to students at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) on the occasion of their Drama Society orientation. The society, called Dramaline, invited Waleed to share his personal experience as a theatre actor and give pointers on how to successfully stage a production.
Waleed spoke extensively to students at LUMS on how theatre helps in real life in areas such as team building, improvisation, confidence and the like. He also encouraged students of acting to know their audience and shared the ways in which to accomplish this effectively through noting the audience one is performing to and unfortunately stereotyping to some extent. By doing this an actor will know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. He touched upon the obstacles faced by actors performing in Lahore specifically which includes AlHamra as an example, where he feels funds are not re-invested to improve the arts council in any way. There is a 60% tax imposed on selling tickets at AlHamra to be paid in advance via a pay order, which is then supposed to be “reimbursed” at a later date. This of course makes it very difficult for anyone wanting to hold a performance of any kind at AlHamra.
Waleed highlighted the importance of wit in actors which can do wonders for a successful performance and explained how theatre can really help build the skill. He shared a few things he has learnt along the way including how he accidentally got into acting when he entered an LGS (Lahore Grammar School) theatre competition. He recalls that he went with an unserious attitude in denim jeans, a bright orange t-shirt and a jacket. He ended up getting the lead role and is therefore proof that competitions can get hidden talent discovered. Waleed spoke to LUMS students about being confident in front of a tough audience and learning quickly how to know ones audience and improvise accordingly. He stressed on team work being the key in any production where one has to let the co-actor for instance, lead, if he/she is good. If the co-actor is inexperienced then one must take him along in a performance. Coexistence is of utmost importance according to
Waleed as the theater play is the end product that the team has to collectively strive to make a success – it is never about individual egos.
Waleed can currently be seen appearing in ARY’s drama Visaal, playing a character called Doodhpatti who is a street thief that the main character Akku takes under his wing and they end up forming a duo.Waleed enjoyed the interaction with students immensely his aim being to motivate and encourage them to pursue acting as a career and also give them a true insight into the world of an actor.
ABOUT WALEED ZAIDI
Waleed Zaidi is an upcoming Pakistani actor who has successfully dabbled in theatre for the past 13 years and has now also turned his focus to TV and Film. With an impressive body of work already under his belt, Waleed has multiple projects he is currently working on including the setting up of his own production company, working with Ali Noor on a project that is a mix of music and theatre, working closely with actor/ director Ali Tahir and producing an Urdu farcical comedy based on the British Television sitcom Fawlty Towers.
Waleed was born in 1989 in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, the land of opportunity as he jokingly likes to call it. “The first character I played was a wolf in first grade in Saudi Arabia. I was the villain and the main character. The first time I realised I had some sort of stage presence was at age 10 when I did a solo dance at my eldest brother’s wedding on the Indian song chayan chayan”, recounts Waleed.
Having completed his Bachelors degree in Business Management majoring in Marketing and Finance from King’s College London, Waleed exercised his entrepreneurial skills when he began a kids wear brand with a friend, and is also Partner at a Dubai based company called 11th Experience which does fashion events for the likes of PFDC. Waleed has also done drama coaching at educational institutions such as LGS, BNU and TNS. In 2007 Waleed along with two other friends initiated B Theatre Productions under which they have produced many theatre plays, the journey from then to now being quite a successful one. “Now I am completely focusing on acting which is my true calling”, explains Waleed.
Currently Waleed will be appearing as a character named ‘420’ in Ali Tahir’s directed TV serial Mohini Mansion Ki Cinderellayain to air on BOL Entertainment very soon. Furthermore, “A project initiated by Ali Noor (Noori) involves me in the theatre aspect of it. I believe it will revolutionise concerts and theatre (its a mix of both) in Pakistan, and it will take off right after Muharram”, reveals Waleed. Waleed is currently appearing in ARY’s drama Visaal, playing a character called Doodhpatti who is a street thief that the main character Akku takes under his wing and they end up forming a duo. Waleed is in addition focusing on digital content which is the future in his opinion. “There is a satire based online show called “Urtee Khabar” (web series) which I am producing with Ali Tahir and working on with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Comedy, in which we post two minute content thrice a week”, says Waleed. He also works as a freelance creative consultant in his spare time, the last project he worked on being the Ramzan campaign for a well known telecommunications company, where he headed the ideation process.