Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Majid Jadali interview

"Majid Jadali - A Taste Of Showbiz"

Interview with actor Majid Jadali from Durian Jam's blogsite, posted on November 26, 2007

To us, he is our friendly Persian known for his mouthwatering kebabs, biryanis and his other delectable Iranian cuisines with his stall along Rizal street which has become a must-go -to gastronomic destinations in this city. Mr. Majid Jadali is not just the owner/proprietor of his Majid Kebab. He is an accomplished film actor as well with over 70 films (yes seventy!) in his filmography.

Mr. Majid is one of the most sought-after character actors/stunt/bit players during the heyday of Filipino movies in the 1980s when the country was producing more than 200 films per year, he also appeared in foreign productions when the country was still being preferred for shooting locations by cost-conscious international film companies.

He has appeared with several of the country’s finest and popular actors and actresses like Vilma Santos (in Baby Tsina), Dolphy, Richard Gomez, Aga Muhlach, Jean Garcia, Anthony Alonzo, Nida Blanca, Gloria Romero among many others. His stint in foreign productions also gave him the chance to work with international stars like Susan Sarandon, Richard Harris (known for playing Albus Dumbledore in two Harry Potter movies; Chamber of Secrets and Sorcerer’s Stone) , Chuck Norris, Chuck Connors, Lou Ferigno, Nicholas Hammond, Davide Carradine, Linda Blair.

Majid was born 54 years ago in Tehran, Iran. After finishing a compulsory 2-year military training, Majid decided to study civil engineering in the Philippines enrolling at Far Eastern University, however a year after, a revolution jolted his homeland. The Shah of Iran, the country’s monarch was deposed by Islamic fundamentalists led by Ayatollah Khomeini. Majid decided not to return to his country. In 1983 after graduating from FEU, with his country’s future uncertain, Majid decided that he will stay in the Philippines for good.

“Before I left, my country was ruled by a Shah, it was a very westernized country, very much like Europe.” Majid said. “I decided to stay, because its magulo back home, and with that decision my focus now was on how to survive here in the Philippines.

“One day in 1983, a German buddy, who was appearing as a bit player in an international film being shot in Laguna invited him to try out as a bit player. Sensing it as a means to make income, Majid agreed. The German introduced him to film director Teddy Chiu and was given his first screen role; a gangster. “My role was to carry a suitcase full of drugs.” Majid said smiling. Teddy Chiu liked what he saw in Majid and invited him in some of his other productions. “He asked for my number where he could contact me and that’s how I started in the movies.” Majid said.

Majid became an extra and also became a stuntman in many foreign productions and also Filipino movies. “My role at first was contravida, I was a gangster, a Colombian druglord, a rapist, a terrorist, I was really a criminal.” Majid said of his early roles. Among his foreign movies include Missing in Action, Seals 2, Delta Force I, Women of Valor (TV movie) and Blood Chess. However Majid roles progressed in movies like “Trident Team” [actually Trident Force], a Filipino-international venture which starred the late Anthony Alonzo, “I was part of the elite Trident Team,” said Majid.

He also was a supporting actor in Black Cobra 2 with Fred Williamson and Nicholas Hammond (famous for portraying Friedrich Von Trapp in the very famous Sound of Music movie and played Spiderman in the Adventures of Spiderman TV series in the late 70s).

Majid says among the memorable actors he worked with were Chuck Connors (famous for his cowboy roles in the TV series “The Rifleman“), “very friendly, a very nice guy, he recounted. Majid also remembers a fine actress named Susan Sarandon, who shot a World War II made for TV movie Women of Valor. “She is very mabait, very friendly.” One night while he caught Shall We Dance (which stars Ms. Sarandon with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez) he can’t help but recall his movie days with the friendly Ms. Sarandon. Sabi ko “nakasama ko na iyan, nakasama ko na iyan sa pelikula.”

Aside from foreign productions, Majid became involved in many Filipino movies. Where he appeared as stunt man and extras to many films, he acted in films directed by Cirio Santiago, Eddie Garcia, Peque Gallaga, Marilou Diaz-Abaya and the late Eddie Rodriguez.He had roles in Vilma Santos-starrer Alyas Baby Tsina and the Dolphy comedy Nang kinagat ni Adan and Mansanas ni Eba where Majid remembers he played a TV reporter trying to interview a pregnant Dolphy.

In 1989, came his most memorable Tagalog film role in the horror flick Impaktita. “I played the role of Boy Bombay in that movie and was the stunt double for Jean Garcia in her aswang scenes. I remember the death scene where the aswang Jean Garcia was inside a burning house, I was the one inside being her double. I remember that it was very hot, the house was really on fire. Majid remembers working with Richard Gomez, Aga Mulach, Vilma Santos, Dolphy (very mabait), Gloria Romero and the late Nida Blanca. “They were really nice, very friendly people,” said Majid.

According to him, the reason he was able to have many movies was the fact that he was the only foreigner stuntman in the Filipino movie industry at that time. “I was the only foreigner-looking stuntman that’s why I have lots of movies.”“There were many Filipino movies being produced and also there were lots of foreign productions here because it was very cheap to shoot here.” Majid said. I enjoyed my movie career very much. Its lots of fun, you make money and you do not work very hard. And also movie work is not boring especially when you are a supporting actor because you have many projects, you have many roles.

By 1989 Majid saw himself improving as an actor in terms of facing the cameras, working with the dialogue and playing on the right camera angles. His roles were also progressing, he has become a major supporting player, in fact his last film Black Cobra 2 he was already billed in the supporting cast.

During the aftermath of the December 1989 coup d’etat, the government became strict and a moratorium on renting firearms to film companies was implemented, during that time action films temporarily stopped productions for a few months, for Majid it meant a temporary break from movie work.

However in January 8, 1990 while driving to visit his friend in Angeles City. Majid met an accident where he sustained a hipbone fracture and that signaled an end to his film career. Majid’s entrepreneurial survival instinct drove him to totally severe his ties with the movies and focus on his business which is making Pita bread and running his Persian carpet enterprise.

For many years, his friends doggedly urged him to go into food business, “my friends who like my home-cooked kebabs urged me to go into that business. And in 2001, I decided to come here to Davao City, which is the place of my wife Arlene.” Majid said. And the rest is perhaps history, from a small three table stall; Majid Kebab has became a favorite with many Dabawenyos addicted to its tasty Persian kebabs and after a few years Majid has expanded his Kebab eatery into two branches (Rizal, Gaisano Mall).

Tidbits: While eating at Majid’s Kebab at the Rizal street stall, you can gaze at some of his movie pictures which he has posted at the eatery’s nook. You can ask him of his showbiz life and the ever-friendly Majid will not hesitate to tell you of his interesting life as one of the most in-demand character actors/stuntman in the 1980s.

No comments:

Post a Comment