Art Malik. TCM Overview.
Art Malik was born in Punjab in Pakistan in 1952. His family emigrated to England when he was four. When he was in his late teens he started acting with the Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. He acheived international fame for his role of Hari Kumar in the television epic about the Indian Raj “The Jewel in the Crown”. He had a major role in the Timothy Dalton 007 film “The Living Daylights”. He is featured in the 2010 film “The Wolfman”.
Art Malik will be remembered for quite some time as Aziz, the terrorist going to his death riding a missile in James Cameron’s “True Lies” (1994), but he is a well-traveled stage actor and is familiar for his many miniseries and features based in India. Born in Pakistan but raised in London, Malik began acting after losing interest in his business studies. He spent the 1970s on stages throughout England performing in the classics and contemporary plays alike.
Billed as Athar Malik, he made his film debut in Peter Brook’s “Meetings With Remarkable Men” (1979), based on the memoirs of the meditative cult figure G.I. Gurdjieff. 1984 proved to be a breakout year for Malik. He first came to the attention of American audiences as Zarin in the HBO miniseries “The Far Pavilions,” co-starring Ben Cross and Amy Irving. He was seen on the big screen as Mahoumed Ali in David Lean’s final feature, “A Passage to India,” about the waning days of British influence. And he gained critical acclaim and widespread notice as Hari Kumar, the gentle Indian who romances an Englishwoman (Susan Wooldridge) much to the consternation of a British officer (Tim Piggott-Smith).
The success of these ventures brought Malik to Hollywood, where he appeared in the short-lived medical drama “Hothouse” (ABC, 1988) as a young therapist involved with an older female doctor (Michael Learned). On the big screen, he was an Afghan rebel leader who teams with James Bond (Timothy Dalton) in “The Living Daylights” (1987). In Roland Joffe’s “City of Joy” (1992), Malik portrayed a brutal gangster who demands graft from the local inhabitants of the area. Opposing him are an American doctor (Patrick Swayze) and a woman who operates a medical clinic (Pauline Collins). While the film was uneven and failed to win an audience, Malik’s villainous turn caught the attention of James Cameron who cast the actor as Aziz in “True Lies” without even meeting him. Aziz gave Malik a chance to demonstrate further his range, making the portrayal of the fanatic terrorist believable even in the cartoon aura of the film. He subsequently was featured in the acclaimed British drama “Clockwork Mice” and appeared as the sinister rival to the King in the Disney-produced “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court” (both 1995).
The above TCM overview can also be accessed online here.
Interview with Art Malik on “Digital Spy” can be read here.