Fawad Khan entered Indian households with TV shows like Dastaan (2010), Humsafar (2011) and Zindagi Gulzar Hai (2012). He soon made his Bollywood debut with Khoobsurat (2014). After his last release, Kapoor & Sons, the 34-year-old Pakistani actor admits that “things have been well”.
Here, he talks about the “overwhelming” response he has received in India, other Pakistani actors entering Bollywood, and of course, the buzz around his dapper avatar.
Did you ever think that you will become so popular in India?
Not at all, I entered this industry (Bollywood) with minimum expectations. To be honest, I just wanted to prove that I know my craft well; everything else has been a bonus. The response has been overwhelming and surprising. I never had any expectations based on comparisons – whether I will do well as compared to people who were here before me or who will come after me. I am not gauging myself on the basis any barometer of success.
A number of other Pakistani actors have tried their luck in Bollywood in the past…
I consider myself lucky. I feel there are far more talented actors back home. But I guess someone up there really likes me (smiles). As for my craft, I try to pursue a different school of acting, which is very common in our part of the world. I wanted to explore that, and maybe, that struck a chord with the audience.
But unlike others, you had hit TV shows to your credit to give you a push.
Definitely, in fact, it is a big co-incidence that my TV shows started airing in India when I was shooting for Khubsoorat (2014). Suddenly, a lot of people became acquainted with what I was doing. It definitely gave me a big push; the timing was good.
Do you want people to go beyond your good looks?
I feel Kapoor & Sons has been a step towards that direction. But yes, I am bored of it (people constantly talking about his good looks). I would like to try different things, characters and genres.
In the coming months, we will see more actors from Pakistan like Mahira Khan and Saba Qamar make their Bollywood debuts.
I will be selfish to say, “It is not an exciting time for me (laughs).” I don’t differentiate between sexes. So, I feel they are as much of a competition to me [as any male actors] (laughs).
But you think you can compete with female stars?
I am happy, but I might just be a bit insecure, because I have been a mediocre representation of Pakistani talent. There is a wealth of talent back home. Seeing other Pakistani actors entering this market is a great feeling, and I wish them the very best in life. I think they will do much better than me.
Why are you not signing more films?
Offers are not pouring. No one is giving me work. What should I do? (laughs). Honestly speaking, I am choosy. It’s (the process of film-making) time consuming, and I get tired very easily. I guess it’s the middle-class person in me who gets a little scared of all the flashlights and stardom. I am not in a hurry to reach anywhere; I am just enjoying the moment. If I was in hurry, I wouldn’t wait till 35. My policy is to work little, and to enjoy life.
Do you have projects in Pakistan too?
I am currently looking at two films; there has been bit of a delay to take them on the floors. One is a biopic of musician Alam Gir, and a remake of a cult classic called Maula Jatt. I am actively looking for work back home.
Honestly, are Indian film-makers as open about casting Pakistani talents as they should be?
I don’t see any mental blocks. It would be a brave move, even in Pakistan, if they were to pick up an unknown actor. Such a call is braver on the producers’ part. If I am not wrong, only five per cent of Indian people watch movies, so for them, to know a Pakistani actor is a bit of a long shot. So I understand if an Indian producer is careful about where they put their money at stake. I don’t think the producers worry about any political repercussions; it’s mostly about - how much money is the film going to make? And we have to admit that famous faces do give more business to a film. Personally, I am having a ball of a time with Indian audiences and the industry. Whatever travelling I have done for Kapoor & Sons, I have only got love and appreciation. I have never had an unpleasant experience.
But political situations do threaten things…
Politically, whether things will get unstable or not; no one can say anything about it. But we have also learnt to keep our political differences aside, when it comes to other form of business.
Are you doing Salman Khan’s Jugalbandi?
I really can’t comment on that right now. Let’s just say that we have been in talks with a lot of people, maybe Jugalbandi is one of them. Nothing is concrete right now. Besides, I don’t like talking about anything until I haven’t penned it down on a piece of paper. When we are ready to make a public announcement, we will. As of now, we aren’t associated with anything.
On his good looks
I am actually surprised that people talk more about my looks, and less about my talent, because I don’t think I’m very good-looking. On a scale of 10, I will give myself 3 or 4. People rate me much higher than that, but that is surprising for me. Having said that, it is flattering too.
On the secret behind his charming personality
I feel it is an inward charm that attracts people. I don’t think I am exceptionally good looking, but I do consider myself slightly well-spoken. I can hold a conversation, and all these things coupled together give me the edge as an actor.
On being shy
I am very shy. I wish I was more flamboyant when it came to responding to flattering comments, or I was more charming.
On his wife, Sadaf Khan
I am, probably, one of the first men to be a victim of female abuse (laughs). I am kidding. Sadaf is a sensible and an educated person. I am lucky to have her in my life. I feel a certain degree of possessiveness should exist in every relationship, as without that relationships fall flat. With that (possessiveness) comes a sense of ownership. Without Sadaf’s support, I don’t think I would be where I am today. She was one of the first persons to motivate me, and gave me a push to enter this field.