Arman Ali Pasha branched out from modeling into acting in the drama serial Aadhi Gawahi. His role, albeit small, helped him garner fame and popularity instantaneously, making him one of Pakistan’s hottest young actors. After making waves in Rashk, the talented young actor is currently shooting three drama serials simultaneously. Arman talks to Ally Adnan about the world of show business, his love for acting, the benefits of being a celebrity, the importance of education, and a lot else
â€œThe greatest actors work as team members, bringing out the best in each otherâ€
The world of show business is known for fame, fortune and glory. What attracted you to the field?
It was none of the three that you mentioned. I joined the world of show business because I wanted to become an actor and believed that it was the best vocation for me. My goal has always been to get recognized as an actor of merit; fame, fortune and glory, if they come my way, will be incidental benefits of being a competent actor.
You were studying to be a lawyer when you started working as a model and an actor. Do you plan to go back to school and complete your education?
Yes, I do. I am taking a break from studies to work as a model and actor but will complete my education. I may do it on a part-time basis but will definitely get my degree. Education is important. It opens new horizons and doors for a person, gives him/her confidence, class and sophistication, and helps realize his/her full intellectual potential.
How did you get your first break as a model?Â
I started by walking the ramp for local designers and was noticed by fashion designers and talent scouts at the events. They offered me the opportunity to participate in bigger and more prestigious shows, like the ones organized by PFDC. I did well in the shows and found myself working in advertisements and commercials shortly thereafter. The world of modeling has treated me well.
Do you enjoy modeling?
Yes, I do. I love the energy and excitement of the ramp. I enjoy seeing myself on billboards. And, I am very happy when acting in commercials. That being said, I should add that acting is more important to me than modeling. I may work as a model, from time to time, but my primary profession will always be acting.
What makes a successful model?
A successful model has good looks and physique; more importantly, he has a unique, towering personality that is likable. He is confident, composed and dignified. He knows his good and bad angles, his strengths and weaknesses, and his likes and dislikes. He knows how to pose and work with cameras. Acting is also an important skill in the field of modeling, especially when working in commercials. Professionalism, dedication and seriousness are vital. And, intelligence is very crucial; otherwise, one is unable to make good career decisions.
A lot of models move to acting after a few years of modeling. You seem to have done the same. Why?
In my case, the move to acting was not happenstance. It was a part of the plan. Acting was my ultimate goal and modeling a stepping-stone in my show business career.
Acting is very near and dear to my heart. I love modeling but have a strong preference for acting.
How did you learn to act?
I have wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember and grew up watching actors perform on television and in cinema. I used to pay more attention to the craft of acting while watching films and television programs than to anything else. My favourite actors ended up being my teachers. Watching them act was a veritable education and the best one a budding actor can have.
“I used to pay more attention to the craft of acting while watching films and television programs”
Who are your favourite actors?
It is a long list that includes Nauman Ijaz, Faysal Qureshi and Humayun Saeed. I think Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah are great actors. I believe that Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, and Al Pacino are amongst the best actors of all time. I absolutely adore them. They are my heroes.
What are the qualities and attributes of a successful actor?
A successful actor is sincere towards his profession and has genuine passion and love for the craft of acting. He is tenacious, hardworking and serious. He may be good looking and have a great body but does not rely exclusively on those attributes. He can deliver a complete, believable character on screen, in all its depth, complexity and nuance. He becomes an intrinsic part of the story that he is a part of and does not try to outshine other actors. The greatest actors work as team members, bringing out the best in each other. They do not care for individual triumphs and work to make the entire projects successful.
What progress have you made as an actor from your first drama serial Aadhi Gawahi to the next Rashk?
I believe that I have become more skilled as an actor over time and carry myself with more confidence and poise than I used to as a rookie. My dialog delivery has improved considerably, and I have learnt how to react to the lines of other actors properly. There is, of course, a long road of learning ahead of me but I am happy â€“ and satisfied â€“ that I am on the right track and improving with time.
What projects do you have in the pipeline currently?
I am working in three television serials currently: Ek Aashiyan Banaya Tha, A Plusâ€™s Hoor Pari, and Jaltay Khwaab. I play important roles, which have a lot of substance, complexity and nuance, in each one of the serials. I believe that I will have arrived and established myself as an actor if I deliver well in these serials.
You moved from Lahore to Karachi to pursue your acting career. How are the two cities different?
The pace of life is faster in Karachi. The city has a lot of energy and verve, whereas Lahore is more languid and relaxed. People in Karachi take their time to open up. Lahoris, on the other hand, are friendlier and warmer. Karachi offers significantly more opportunities to show business professionals than Lahore.Â I love Lahore, but enjoy living in Karachi.
â€œGossip stems from jealousy, envy and resentmentâ€
Did you find it difficult to settle down in Karachi?
Not at all! The city welcomed me with open arms. I have made some very good friends in Karachi and am enjoying life in the city.
Do you attribute your success in the world of show business to your talent or to your looks?
I believe that it is a combination of both but hope that, in the long run, it will be more my talent than my looks.
How much effort, energy and time do you put into looking good?
I pay attention to my grooming and spend a few hours each month in a salon. I make sure that I get eight full hours of sleep each night. I do not smoke and stay away from drugs and alcohol. I eat well and drink a lot of water. I make sure to stay abreast of fashion trends and spend a bit of money on clothes and shoes. That is about all I do for my looks.
What are the perks of being a celebrity and in show business?
I make a decent living. I get to wear a lot of good clothes, some of which I receive as gifts. I am known and recognized all over the country. And, I feel that I bring happiness, joy and entertainment to the lives of a very large number of people. That feels very good.
What is the downside of having a career in show business?
A certain loss of privacy comes with fame. That can be a little disconcerting. Work hours and schedules can be grueling, but I am a hardworking person and deal with that well. There is a lot of chatter and gossip in the business. That bothers me, at times.
â€œI love Lahore, but enjoy living in Karachiâ€
How do you deal with chatter and gossip?
I try to ignore it. I will admit that it gets to me, every now and then, but I am generally able to rise above it and do not let it bother me. A lot of gossip stems from jealousy, envy and resentment. These are very negative and corrosive emotions. I feel sorry for people who harbor them.
Does being a popular model and actor make it easy for you to hook up with ladies?
I wish it did but, contrary to popular belief, it does not. Modeling and acting take up a lot of time, leaving almost none for relationships.
Are you romantically involved with someone at this stage?
Yes, I am, with my acting and modeling projects.
What do you do when you are not acting and modeling?
I watch films, listen to music, read books, hang out with friends, and, most importantly, travel.
Why do you like to travel?
Travelling affords me a lot of peace. It gives me time to relax, think and plan. It helps me learn about new cultures and people. It broadens my horizons. It boosts my confidence. It creates lifelong memories for me. It allows me an opportunity to shop. It is a lot of fun.
What are you reading these days?
I am reading Sharp Objects which is the latest novel by Gillian Schieber Flynn, the writer of Dark Places and Gone Girl. I like Flynnâ€™s style of writing. Her novels are fast-paced, engaging and fascinating, and her characters are real, complex and intricate. All three of her novels read like movies. Sharp Objects is a psychological thriller that tells the story of a reporter who returns to work after a stay at a psychiatric hospital and is tasked with covering the murder of two pre-teen girls in her hometown. Itâ€™s not just an effective thriller, but an excellent character study as well. I think that, like Dark Places and Gone Girl, Sharp Objects would make a great film.
Would you like to star in a movie based on one of Gillian Flynnâ€™s books?
Oh, yes, absolutely! That would be a dream come true.
Photographs by Daud Malik