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Fawad Khan talks to Instep about Khoobsurat hype, racy Bollywood romances and dancing without his shirt on.

photoI first met Fawad Khan a couple of years ago, in Lahore, when Humsafar was underway and Asher Husain (the character he played) was the man every woman loved to hate on. There was Fawad Khan hysteria even back then and I remember having to stop the interview several times to allow gushing teenagers a photo op or autograph. Good looking and extremely well-mannered, he was every girl’s ideal hero, even if his character always had menacing undertones, which was the case in Khuda Kay Liye, Humsafar and to a lesser extent, even in Zindagi Gulzar Hai.

What we see now is the rise of unprecedented fanfare, unraveling as Khoobsurat – Fawad’s Bollywood debut – approaches its date of release. Impossible to catch him in person, we managed to get through to him in Mumbai via email. Here’s what he had to say…

Instep: The timing of your debut has been perfect, with Zindagi Gulzar Hai already creating first hand fanfare for you in India. But did you expect this kind of hype and adulation before Khoobsurat even released?

Fawad Khan: Not at all. I’ve always been a man of very few expectations. Every time I finish filming a project I literally pray, ‘Bus. Allah izzat rakh leh. Baaqi sub khair hai.” The love and appreciation from fans on both sides of the border is purely God sent luck for me.

Instep: I’ve seen fans react to you in Pakistan; is it any similar or different in India?

FK: I haven’t gone out much ever since the promotions started. It’s normally just travelling to a venue and back. However whomever I come across at the venues who’s seen my work is extremely kind.

Instep: Pakistani dramas and films are relatively conservative and you are a pretty shy guy. How are you handling the ‘heat’ that’s usually part of an Indian film romance?

FK: Wow. So far I’ve not really come across the heat you’re referring to. But when I do, I think I’ll find a way around it.

Instep: Indian heroes are able to rip off their shirts and break into song and dance at the blink of an eye. How long do you think it’ll take you to do that?

FK: I haven’t marked it down on the calendar but I guess excelling at the song and dance part depends on who’s training me and how much they can put up with. All I can say is I’m always eager to learn something new that might add to my craft.

Instep: Your character in Khoobsurat appears to be tailor made for you. Was it improvised according to your persona?

FK: I’m no royalty. Never have been. Etiquette and courtesy are the salient features of the character. I guess any well behaved person can play that at the very least. The rest of it is all observing what little I’ve learnt from classic heroes and executing that for this role.

Instep: Have you done any playback singing for Khoobsurat?

FK: No. Don’t want to punish the easy listening audience.

Instep: What follows Khoobsurat? Have you signed on or are you in talks for any more projects in India?

FK: Table talks at present. Both in Pakistan and India. Some are taking form but nothing concrete as yet.

Instep: Khuda Kay Liye, Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai are your three biggest hits. What does Pakistan’s film and television industry hold for you in the future?

FK: I hope a great deal more. Like I said, some interesting stuff is in the pipeline. I’m just waiting to sign the deal.

Instep: Why do you think India’s film fraternity is so warm and welcoming to Pakistan’s actors?

FK: Why would such an enormous and established industry that belts out close to a thousand films a year feel threatened by new entrants? It’s big and mature enough to accommodate a lot more.

– Published in Instep Today on August 14, 2014

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