Unlike before, Omair Rana , a film and television actor and a theatre director is now frequently appearing on the screen and is giving us one fine project after another. While he presented an informative travel show in the month of Ramzan, he also played a manipulative film director in Saji Gul’s “O Rung-Reza”, a patriarch acting as the keeper of his family’s honour in Zafar Mairaaj’s “Qurbaan” and an abuser in Amna Mufti’s “Zun-Mureed” recently. While his currently running project is “Adhuri Kahani” running on TV ONE, his upcoming project is a mega serial of HUM TV titled “Aangan”. It has been written by Mustafa Afridi, with whom Omair also did “Sang-e-Marmar”, undoubtedly a modern classic. I asked Omair Rana a few questions, which are as follows along with their answers.
Your back-to-back appearances in dramas suggest that you are giving all your time to acting these days. Is that true?
Not all the time, but yes, I am back! And this time, it’s serious! (laughs)
Recently, you have worked in some of the best drama writers’ works such as Mustafa Afridi, Saji Gul, Zafar Mairaj and Amna Mufti. How have the experiences been?
These are the primary reasons why I take up the projects. Imagine a car-racer being offered to race in a McLaren, a chef being offered to prepare a dish with the best of all ingredients, an engineer being offered to construct something with the world’s finest architects…I could go on and on. We actors get to bring inked characters to life. And it is these geniuses who ink these very characters.
This question must be asked from the producers first. Anyhow, you are appearing in an upcoming drama serial titled “Aangan” while another drama serial by the same name has recently ended on another channel. Don’t you think this might create problems for the modern viewers who also search and watch dramas on the internet?
Yes, I agree that the producers can better respond to this. Perhaps, they have a packaging idea to differentiate the brand. But at the end of the day, our viewers are smart. Even if so, I guess we would need to generate enough desire for the seekers to find us on the web. Besides, even if they find out the “other Aangan”, they are not losing out on anything.
You worked with Nadia Khan recently, an award-winning actress who has made a comeback. How was it like working with such a lovable personality from the industry?
Like everyone else, my major association with Nadia Khan was through her talk-shows, including the brief stint she had from Islamabad where she interviewed me for the film, “Chambeli”. She brings with her an air, and it was very pleasant for me to have clicked with her during the shoot. We had our share of giggles and shenanigans. Although we ended up with not so many scenes together, but fortunately, it worked.
“Zun-Mureed” is based on an issue that is common in the lower-middle sections of the society as well. Has any step been taken to spread the drama in those areas?
Television is a powerful medium. It not only has a great reach in terms of geography or demography, but also in terms of time. This is now out there and whenever anyone wishes to reach out to it and experience it, one can. Please also note that this sad state of affairs is not exclusive for any particular class. Unfortunately, oppression is blind to wealth and qualification. We need to provoke thought and feeling and stir discussions on such matters everywhere.
You did a show for the last Ramazan transmission. Amidst numerous Ramazan transmissions, does it feel at times that your hard-work has been neglected?
Absolutely not! The experience itself was phenomenal for all who witnessed it, and many witnessed it. Even the “meters” proved how the program, and our segment in particular, was amongst the top two watched during Ramzan. I personally attribute this to the team behind the effort, headed by Hamza Ansari and the fact that we all respected our audience who does want to watch something more profound than “Musalmaano tukka lagao cycle le jao!”
You acted in many films when the revival of our industry began, such as “Tamanna”, “Toba Tek Singh”, “Chambeli” and “Dukhtar”. Now we are making one film after the other. What do you think has changed in our films in these few years, for people were very hopeful back then and are now a bit dissatisfied?
Fundamentally, the greatest change in our films has been the fact that there is more money coming in for them. We started in Indie-kind films, for those were generally “safer investments” and moreover, films were being used, as art is, as a form of expression to stir thought and provoke sentiments. Now, it is more like “Jiski Laathi Uski Bhains”. Like anything else in a capitalist society, what sells is what is produced. It always becomes tricky when it comes to art, for there is a sense of aesthetics as well as a responsibility associated with it. But I am still optimistic. We need to create a diverse menu for our audience. We also need to zero in where quality (what audience wants is what sells) and grade (what is good in content) meet.
Many actors are now trying their hands at script-writing and direction. Do you have any such plans?
I have directed but for theatre, and that I have done a lot. I have always considered these domains as worthy of a stature like any form of art or any other trade for that matter. Having said that, I have not planned anything per se, but certainly haven’t ruled out anything of the kind. To be honest, I think I am at a stage where I am stretching my muscles, cracking my knuckles and staring at the pen and the director’s chair.