Your first television serial, Bol Entertainment’s ‘Parlor Wali Larki’ will be on air soon. How does it feel?
It feels great! I am excited, I am thrilled and I am happy. I feel energised. ‘Parlor Wali Larki’ is the first step that I have taken towards realising my dream of becoming an actor. I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to work in the serial and am really looking forward to it being televised.
Are you anxious about the reception you will receive as an actor?
I am not anxious at all. Fawad Kashif Khan has written the role of my character, Nasir, very well. Nadia Afgan has directed it very well. Nasir is key to the story of Parlor Wali Larki. I like to think that I have acted well in the serial. I feel that I will be received well as an actor. I would have been anxious if the serial had been not written, or directed, as well as it has been but both Fawad and Nadia have a done exceedingly good jobs in their capacities. I am lucky to be a beneficiary of their talent, expertise and hard work.
Sharing details about the upcoming drama serial ‘Parlor Wali Larki’, the actor says it is the story of women in our society who are under huge pressure to look good, appear beautiful and be slim. “They are expected to live up to the expectations of their families and friends. They carry the burden of acting and being eligible for respectable marriages. The script deals with these issues in a funny yet responsible manner.”
How did you land the role of Nasir in the serial ‘Parlor Wali Larki’?
I was selected to play the role of Nasir in Parlor Wali Larki after an exhaustive series of formal auditions.
‘Parlor Wali Larki’ has a very interesting title. What is the serial about?
Parlor Wali Larki is the story of women in our society. There is a huge pressure on our women to look good, appear beautiful and be slim. They are expected to live up to the expectations of their families and friends. They carry the burden of acting and being eligible for respectable marriages. And, sadly, they are forced to quell their own dreams and aspirations to conform to the stifling norms of our society. Fawad Kashif’s wonderful script deals with these issues in a funny yet responsible manner. I love the story.
How does the character of Nasir fit into the story of Parlor Wali Larki?
Nasir is the male lead of Parlor Wali Larki. He connects the many characters of the serial together. He is a very passionate and emotional young man. Viewers will see him laugh, cry, fight, concord, love, hate, and do much else in the serial. He is a very simple, almost naïve person, but his sense of integrity gives him strength of character. He has a highly developed sense of right and wrong. He is very charming and likable. I think the character of Nasir will endear itself to viewers.
The serial is being directed by veteran actor, producer and director, Nadia Afgan. What was working with her like?
It has been a true pleasure. Nadia Afgan is not just an immensely capable director; she is also a very kind, compassionate and helpful person. She has been a mentor to me, from day one. Nadia has given me invaluable guidance, advice and coaching. She has helped me learn the craft of acting. Her encouragement helped me develop confidence and a screen presence. She helped me analyse the role of Nasir, explain his goals and aspiration, understand his relationships with other characters, and recognise his significance in the serial. The truth is that Nadia taught me virtually everything that I know about acting, be it movement and gestures or dialog delivery and facial expressions.
Parlor Wali Larki marks the return of Roohi Khan to television. Did you enjoy working with her?
I do not have any scenes with Roohi Khan in Parlor Wali Larki; had I shared the screen with her, I would have been definitely enjoyed it. She is a true great. I did get to watch her act in the serial and found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable and a veritable learning experience. Her performance in Parlor Wali Larki is intelligent, subtle and highly-nuanced. I learnt a great deal just by watching her perform in the serial.
Did you have any experience in acting before Parlor Wali Larki?
I did not. I had worked in a few commercials before Parlor Wali Larki but I do not think that they qualify as acting gigs.
How did you learn to act?
The main learning came from Nadia Afgan. She was my acting teacher.
I grew up watching Hollywood and Bollywood movies. I would say that I am addicted to cinema. I have always watched films with great attention with a particular focus on the histrionic abilities of actors. I am a huge fan of Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson and Daniel Day-Lewis. I think watching great actors perform in Hollywood and Bollywood films was a true learning experience for me and helped me develop and hone my acting skills. The great actors of cinema are all my teachers.
Do you plan to make a career out of acting?
Yes, I absolutely do. I want to be an actor and nothing else.
Parlor Wali Larki will be on air soon. Do you have any acting projects lined up after the serial?
Not at this time; I do not. I am focused exclusively on Parlor Wali Larki, these days. A few production houses and channels have approached me, and the projects they have offered are interesting, but I do not want to sign anything until Parlor Wali Larki is on air. I want to prove my mettle as an actor first and then start work on other projects.
What are your personal and professional plans for 2018?
My personal and professional plans are the same. I want to become a well-known, well-regarded and successful actor and I want to work in a few good television serials in 2018. That is all. I want nothing more and nothing less.
The writer lives in Dallas and writes about culture, history and the arts. He tweets @allyadnan and can be reached at email@example.com
Published in Daily Times, February 27th 2018.