From actor to producer and game show host – Fahad is a household name. Mehek raza rizvi speaks to him about stardom, wearing multiple hats and winning hearts
Despite popular opinion regarding prevalent competition amongst actors, you’re one celebrity who has always extended public support and encouraged contemporaries. How do you manage to remain so secure in such a cut-throat industry?
Our entertainment industry is flourishing, but still very small right now. In order for it to evolve further, we need to be supportive of each other. Iâ€™ve been very blessed to have never felt any insecurity and focused solely on my work.
Also, because Iâ€™m a producer too, my frequency with actors is different. Thereâ€™s no need for any competition; I have my own thing going. In fact, everyone does. Everyone is important and has something different to offer.
Unlike many other seniors, I believe we should support newcomers. Theyâ€™re immensely talented and just require the right platform. As a producer, I think I have the ability to provide them with one.
How do you respond to the criticism on you and Nabeel Qureshi creating a camp?Â
What exactly is a camp? A group of people who work well together teaming up to create something? If thatâ€™s what it is, then I donâ€™t mind people saying weâ€™ve created a camp; maybe we have. Nabeel and I started working with each other about six or seven years ago and built an understanding that enabled us to continue doing so.
Having said that, Iâ€™ve pretty much worked with every director out there, especially given I do multiple commercials each year. The only difference is that no one makes films as frequently as Nabeel. The exception to this fact may be Nadeem Baig and Iâ€™ve done one movie with him too (doing another interesting one soon). I love working with all creative geniuses of our industry, including Nabeel Qureshi, Nadeem Baig, Asim Raza and Ahsan Rahim.
So I guess itâ€™s really just about the quantity of work you produce back to back with any one person. The minute I do that with another director, people will say Iâ€™ve created a camp with them too. In that sense then, Iâ€™m going to say Iâ€™m part of every camp.
Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza have announced you as the lead in their Eid-ul-Azha 2020 release â€œQuaid-e-Azam Zindabad.â€ So far, weâ€™ve heard itâ€™s going to be an action-comedy and youâ€™ll be playing a cop. Tell us more about the movie.
â€œQuaid-e-Azam Zindabadâ€ is going to be the biggest movie weâ€™ve created together so far. Yes, itâ€™s an action-comedy, but weâ€™ve added our own flavour to it. The concept is set on a very large scale and as always the story will be relevant to our Pakistani audience. The humour is crisp and itâ€™s a fast-paced script. Also, this is the first time Mahira Khan and I are working together.
Earlier this year, you expressed your wish to work with Mahira Khan when she appeared as a guest on your game show. Did this play a role in her being cast opposite you in â€œQuaid-e-Azam Zindabad?â€
There have been many opportunities for the two of us to work together in the past â€” from â€œActor in Lawâ€ and â€œSuperstarâ€ to â€œ7 Din Mohabbat Inâ€ â€” but for some reason or the other, nothing ever materialised. This time we found a project that we were both mutually drawn to and made the conscious decision of teaming up. Weâ€™re lucky to have Nabeel directing us â€” what more could we ask for? I think this movie will bring the best out of both of us.
How important do you think it is for actors to choose their roles responsibly and break the mould of an unrealistic hero? Do you consciously choose relatable characters?
My success lies in the fact that I always portray the common man. People can relate to my characters and their circumstances. My body of work includes films and drama serials that are very realistic.
I believe actors should be mindful of their capacity and evaluate what kind of work they feel strongly towards. Iâ€™ve refused many scripts for the same reason, so yes, I do purposely pick such roles. However, I owe some part of this to luck as well. Iâ€™ve been fortunate to be offered projects that my audience and I can be proud of.
How do you prepare for a role?Â
Iâ€™m a complete directorâ€™s actor. I always have an angle in mind for the roles I play, but also understand that the directorâ€™s vision needs to be trusted. I want to be told what to do most of the times; Iâ€™m a team player. I enjoy when everyone comes together to bring a script to life. I donâ€™t like imposing my ideas and believe in collective preparation. We sit together and decide what the body language and appearance of the character should be like.
Also, since weâ€™re on the topic of looks, I must point out that a lot of effort goes into emulating the physical appearance of a character. This is a very crucial part of the groundwork. If you notice, my physique was completely different in â€œMah e Mir,â€ even more so in â€œNa Maloom Afraad.â€In fact, this applies to all my other films as well. Since I do very limited acting, I have the gift of time and canÂ make it happen. For â€œQuaid-e-Azam Zindabadâ€ I had to buff up, so I went all in.
Youâ€™re currently one of the biggest stars of the country. Does being an influential public figure (who many look up to) come with any pressure?Â
I donâ€™t take it too seriously to be honest. Iâ€™m an actor, Iâ€™m here to act and I enjoy that a lot. Iâ€™m not here to give a lecture on or tweet about every social issue out there. Yes, itâ€™s definitely a good thing to voice your opinion, but thereâ€™s also nothing wrong with choosing not to. I donâ€™t think every battle is worth fighting and not everyone can be politically correct, so itâ€™s wiser to stay quiet.
My priority and passion as an entertainer is to engage my audience through my performances. Iâ€™d rather let the stories my projects tell start the conversation
Do you ever fear being a television host may take away from your stature as an actor?Â
Not at all. In fact, in all honesty, being a television host is what allowed me to become a bigger actor. Finances play a very important role in everyoneâ€™s life. If I was constantly in the struggle of making ends meet, it would be very hard to focus on and get into character; oneâ€™s mind is always wandering from one concern to another.
Hosting hasnâ€™t taken away anything from my career, itâ€™s added more value to it by giving me perks that I enjoy thoroughly â€“ the biggest one being the gift of time. I now have the privilege of signing limited acting projects that are truly close to my heart. I donâ€™t want to wake up every day and act; I donâ€™t want it to be a strenuous job.
Hosting is just twice a weekâ€” I go be myself, have fun and come back home to prepare for my roles. There are no strings attached. There could be nothing better and Iâ€™d want to continue with it for at least another four to five years.
What is Fahad Mustafa like at home?
Nothing like youâ€™d expect him to be. Nobody really discusses showbiz in my house. I donâ€™t like to nag or talk about what characters Iâ€™m playing, what projects Iâ€™m producing or anything else thatâ€™s work related. I donâ€™t want to get everybody involved in the process.
When Iâ€™m at home, I try to disconnect and just be with my loved ones, enjoy quality time with the kids. Weâ€™re not a very filmy family, nor are our conversations centered around the entertainment industry. Itâ€™s a very â€œnormalâ€ home Iâ€™d say. I prefer it to be that way.
Words: Mehek Raza Rizvi
Photography & Styling: Faraz Ahmed Sheikh
Makeup: Ayaz Syed
Hair: Qamar Bashir
Coordination: Faizan Islam
Publicist: Nimra Malik