Fawad Afzal Khan, the newest ‘Khan’ in the industry, comes clean on Pakistan’s obsession with Bollywood
After Pakistani actress, Humaima Malik, (who made her debut in Bollywood last week with Raja Natawarlal), we have Fawad Afzal Khan romancing Sonam Kapoor in the upcoming movie, Khoobsurat. Inspired by the 1980 movie with Rekha and Rakesh Roshan, it sees Khan playing a prince in his first Bollywood film. Khan, who began his acting career in 2000 with a television serial Jutt and Bond, had his first film (Khuda Kay Liye) only in 2007. The 32-year-old admits he stopped watching cricket in 1996 after Pakistan lost to India. Unlike the other Khans in the industry, the new entrant is not so tech savvy and has 10 tweets under his handle. Khan opens up about how Bollywood was intimidating and his earliest movie memory. More from him:
I watched the earlier version of Khoobsurat (1980) on which this one is based. I also read the script and loved it. I was called last January for the role as the casting director had seen my earlier work.
Both Indian and Pakistani film industries have different working methodologies. Though the Pakistani industry has changed a great deal, the Indian industry is one of the biggest in the world. As a neighbouring country, we get to learn a lot from India that has done some path- breaking movies and has volumes of work coming out every year. I can take back a lot. Pakistan sees an Indian movie release every second week. There is a very big audience for Indian movies.
My earliest Bollywood movie is Mr India. Anil Kapoor is a fantastic actor and I have watched a lot of his movies. It was an honour working with him. His daughter Sonam Kapoor is also a great co-star — she is very talented and down to earth.
I am open to doing a short or an indie film in future. I do not have any preferences when it comes to directors either. As an artist I don’t want to stay in one place, I want to grow and explore myself. Khubsoorat became an excuse for me to try out something different. If there are any limitations, I would say, I will not go back to where I started (television), at least for the time being.
I do not mind setting up my work base in Mumbai. My entire support system is in Pakistan so that will always be home. I would grab the opportunity to come back to Mumbai again and again for work.
Yes, working in Bollywood initially was intimidating, with new people and new scripts. Back home, I always think each project is new and I am reaching out to a newer audience. However, entering Bollywood was not a pre- planned move.
Khoobsurat is scheduled to release on September 19.
Genre specific: I would like to work on an intense psychological thriller
Inspiration: Robert De Niro
Director select: I follow the works of Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Vishal Bhardwaj
Last watch: I enjoyed watching Queen
— Mrinalini Sundar