Pakistani Waleed gets his teeth into Bangladeshi role

MIXED FAITH relationships, for many, are a taboo subject, but Redbridge based actor Waleed Akhtar is determined to bring the issue into the spotlight.

Multi-talented Waleed Akhtar, of Derwent Gardens, Redbridge, has a background in film-making, writing and acting, but his latest role playing a working class Bangladeshi boy who is love-struck when he meets a typical English middle class girl, has proved to be the most thought-provoking and challenging for him.

“My family are Pakistani, and playing a young Bangladeshi boy was tricky – I had to do a lot of research.”

Waleed’s determination to become an actor started after he finished his English degree at Nottingham University.

He then went on to work at MTV, managing bands and acts, before enrolling on an evening acting course in London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.

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But his desperation to get into the world of acting did not leave him, and his luck changed when he landed a role in a play four years ago, thanks to an actor dropping out.

“It was a youth production, and I was only given two weeks’ notice. I knew by then that acting was what I wanted to to.”

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Waleed will be performing the role of Naz in the play Black-i staged by the Soho-based Kali Theatre group.

Black-i is the story of two different worlds which collide on a roof high over the city when Naz (played by Waleed), meets Rose (Gina Abolins) and so the working class Bangladeshi boy of east London meets the middle class typical English girl.

Waleed’s big break may be on its way, after being cast in a small role in British film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which stars well-known actors such as Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt and is due to hit the big screen in 2012.

“We went to Scotland for the part I am in and it was incredibly exciting.

“Working alongside well respected actors has given me a taste of what can be achieved.”

Black-i is running at The Oval House Theatre in south east London from October 19 to November 6, each Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm. Tickets cost �12 (�6 for concessions).

Kali Theatre, which is celebrating it 20th year of staging plays, is giving Recorder readers a special three for two offer when booking tickets to see Black-i.

To get your free ticket when buying two, simply quote “birthday” when purchasing tickets.

Call Oval House Box Office on 020 7582 7680 to book.

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