1. Your first feature film, Aksbandh, is all set for release. It seems that your move to cinema was very quick and you spent relatively short periods of time modeling, acting on television, and working as a video jockey.

Others may think that it took me very little time to land a role in a feature film but, to me, it felt like an eternity. Modeling and working on television are good but cinema is my true love. I couldn’t have started working in films soon enough. It was a long wait for me.

 

2. Did you agree to do the first film that was offered to you?

No. I was eager to do films but not desperate. I turned down quite a few film before agreeing to do Aksbandh.

 

3. What appealed to you about Aksbandh?

Aksbandh is a horror film. This is a genre that I personally like and one that has rarely been explored in Pakistani cinema. The novelty of the film appealed to me. Aksbandh is very well-written. The characters have been crafted carefully and the story is interesting. Aksbandh tells the story of a group of friends who, while shooting for a film, encounter supernatural phenomena and are forced to deal with horrifying situations in the most unlikely of places. The film is exciting, thrilling and, of course, scary.

 

4. Although you have worked in quite a few television plays, it was your performance as the hoodlum, Azam Kalti, in Quddusi Sahib Ki Bewa that got you noticed properly.

Yes. Quddusi Sahib Ki Bewawas the turning point of my acting career.

 

5. The character of Azam Kalti is not one many young actors would like to play.

That is true. I played Azam Kalti because it gave me an opportunity to showcase my acting skills by portraying someone who was nothing like me. Azam is a grifter. He is uneducated, uncouth and ill-mannered. He uses violence and misbehavior to assert himself. It is a powerful, if undesirable, character and the exact opposite of my own. I enjoyed playing it. It gave me confidence. Quddusi Sahib Ki Bewa was centered around the many characters played by the immensely talented Hina Dilpazir. That I got noticed and held my own against her is a matter of pride for me. I am glad to have been a part of the phenomenally successful Quddusi Sahib Ki Bewa.

 

6. Was it your looks or your talent that helped you enter the world of show business?

It is got to have been my looks, if not my luck, that helped me because no one seemed to have noticed my acting ability until Quddusi Sahib Ki Bewa. Good looks and height help one in show business;and there is nothing wrong with that.

 

7. Why?

People admire good-looks and beauty. They get one noticed. People live their fantasies through television and cinema, to a large extent. Splendor, beauty and magnificence are a part of the fantasy. Actors who are tall, attractive and eye-catching belong in this world of fantasy.

Good looks, of course, get one noticed. I do not think there is anything wrong with using looks to gain entry into the world of show business. It is, however, wrong to continue to bank on looks and never get good at acting. Once in, no matter for what reason and through what means, actors must develop their acting skills. Serious actors do not continue to rely just on their looks and work very hard to become good at their craft. This is necessary for lasting success in show business.

 

8. You are very fit. What is your exercise regimen?

I am smart about exercise. I go to the gym regularly but do not spend an inordinate amount of time working-out. I read a lot about fitness and have developed an efficient routine to achieve my specific needs and goals. I focus on burning fat, building muscle and developing stamina. My regimen is successful because it is short, intense and tailored to my needs. It does not involve slogging in the gym for hours.

 

9. Do you believe in grooming for men?

Yes, I do. In fact, I consider it necessary. Attractive people go further not just in show business but in all lines of work. Men have should spend time, energy and money on fashion, beauty and appearance. There is no reason not to. I take good care of myself. My desire to look good is linked to self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth. I love using cologne and always smell good. I pay attention to the haircuts I get. I never leave home without taking a shower. I get pedicures and manicures. My feet and hands look good. I follow fashion and style trends, very closely. I enjoy shopping for clothes and take my wardrobe very seriously. I don't think paying attention to one's appearance makes one less manly; it just shows that one is secure in his masculinity and takes his appearance seriously. It feels good to look good.

 

10. Have you made friends in show business?

I get along well with most people in show business but have not yet made any close friends in the industry.

 

11. How come?

The industry is growing very rapidly. It is very competitive. Everyone is very busy and singularly focused on career and success. The atmosphere is not conducive to forging deep friendships. I have not been here for very long. Give me some time and I will find a good friend, or two, in the industry.

 

12. Are friendships important to you?

Absolutely. I need friends to be happy. I need them for support, guidance and advice. I need them to deal with failure and with success. I value success because I get to celebrate it with my friends. Success would be of no value to me, if I was alone and unable to celebrateit with my friends. Good friendships are a blessing.

 

13. Did your friendships change as you become well-known?

I do not think so. I continued to have the same set of close friends that I had before I started acting. The nature of the friendships certainly did not change. I think I am a better person than to have let success affect my relationships. Even though I am busier now than I used to be, I make time for my friends. I always will.

 

14. What do you do when you are not acting?

I hang out with my friends. We like to eat out, play sports and party hard. We also like to shoot the breeze. Most of my free time is spent with my friends. They bring happiness to my world.

 

 

*All photographs taken by Yaseen Lakhani