Art Malik: From Bond Ally to Hollywood Villain

The Diverse Career of a Cinematic Icon

Art Malik, a distinguished British actor of Pakistani origin, is celebrated for his diverse roles in both television and film. Born on November 13, 1952, in Bahawalpur, Pakistan, Malik moved to London at the age of three. His acting journey began after attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, leading to roles with prestigious companies like the Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Malik’s breakthrough came with his portrayal of Hari Kumar in the Granada Television production of “The Jewel in the Crown” in 1982. However, it was his role in the James Bond film “The Living Daylights” in 1987 that brought him international acclaim. In this film, he played Kamran Shah, an Afghan Mujahideen leader who allies with James Bond, portrayed by Timothy Dalton. This role showcased Malik’s ability to adapt to the action genre, contributing significantly to the film’s dynamic narrative.

Art Malik as Kamran Shah in "The Living Daylights"
Art Malik as Kamran Shah in “The Living Daylights”

In addition to his role in the Bond series, Malik is also known for his portrayal of the terrorist Salim Abu Aziz in the 1994 action film “True Lies.” This role was a turning point in his career, coming at a time when he was facing financial difficulties. His performance in “True Lies” was critically acclaimed and helped him avoid bankruptcy, marking a significant moment in his personal and professional life.

Art malik as Salim Abu Aziz in "True Lies"
Art malik as Salim Abu Aziz in “True Lies”

Malik’s career is marked by a variety of roles, including his portrayal of an Indian mobster’s son in “City of Joy” (1992), and his narration of Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” on BBC television’s Jackanory in 1993. He also took on the lead role in Tom Stoppard’s play “Indian Ink” in 1995 and appeared in the film “Cleopatra” in 1999.

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Beyond his acting career, Malik has been involved in charitable work, notably fundraising for the victims of the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 and the Pakistan Floods Appeal in 2010. He is married to Gina Rowe, a fellow student from Guildhall, and they have two daughters. Despite his Muslim background, Malik describes himself as not a practicing Muslim.

Art Malik and Gina Rowe
Art Malik and Gina Rowe

Art Malik’s journey from a young immigrant to a celebrated actor in British and international cinema is a testament to his talent and resilience. His diverse roles, from a Bond ally to a Hollywood villain, showcase his versatility and ability to captivate audiences across different genres and mediums.

Art Malik’s Diverse Roles

Art Malik’s filmography is a testament to his versatility and longevity in the acting world. His career began with a role in “Arabian Adventure” (1979) as Mamhoud, setting the stage for a diverse array of characters. In 1980, he appeared in “Richard’s Things” as Dr. Mustag, followed by a notable performance as Ali in the critically acclaimed “A Passage to India” (1984).

Malik’s role in “The Living Daylights” (1987) as Kamran Shah, a key figure in the James Bond franchise, marked a significant milestone in his career. He continued to showcase his range in films like “Turtle Beach” (1992) as Kanan and “City of Joy” (1992), where he played Ashok Ghatak. That same year, he appeared in “Year of the Comet” and “Hostage,” portraying Nico and Khalim, respectively.

In 1994, Malik took on two contrasting roles: Alvaro in “Uncovered” and the memorable antagonist Salim Abu Aziz in “True Lies.” His ability to oscillate between different character types was further evident in “Clockwork Mice” (1995) and “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court” (1995), where he played Laney and Lord Belasco, respectively.

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Malik’s filmography also includes appearances in “Booty Call” (1997, uncredited), “Side Streets” (1998), and “Tabloid” (2001). He portrayed Inspector Harrison in “Out Done” (2002) and George Maldonado in “Tempo” (2003). In “Fakers” (2004), he played Foster Wright, followed by a role in “Nina’s Heavenly Delights” (2006) as Raj Khanna.

His more recent works include “Dean Spanley” (2008), “Franklyn” (2008), “The Wolfman” (2010), and “Sex and the City 2” (2010). Malik continued to demonstrate his acting prowess in “Everywhere and Nowhere” (2011), “Ghosted” (2011), “John Carter” (2012), and “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” (2013). In “Diana” (2013), he played Samundar, followed by roles in “The Infiltrator” (2016), “Mirzya” (2016), and “Halal Daddy” (2017).

Looking ahead, Malik is set to appear in the highly anticipated “The Little Mermaid” (2023) as Grimsby and in “The Glassworker” (2023) as Tomas Oliver. This impressive filmography highlights Art Malik’s enduring presence and adaptability in the film industry, making him a respected and celebrated actor.

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