Skip to main content

The first thing I noticed about Zaid Ali T was his teeth, which were very white, and his hands, that were very clean and well kempt. I know that is an odd observation to make of one of the world’s funniest men (he’s got the four million followers to prove his popularity) but then meeting the man – or should I say boy; he’s just 21 – was an odd occurrence. A long wait saw him walk into the hotel and make a beeline for his room, where we had requested for the interview since the lobby was too noisy. An obviously hurried cleaning up later – “you know how messy boys can be” – we settled down, not knowing what to expect. Hence the hands and teeth observation…and all I could think was ‘brown celebs versus white celebs’. Odd, I know.

Zaid definitely was more mature than his years. He had a lot to say about morals and modesty superseding every other rule in his book of rules. His book of rules had been written by his parents and he was following it to a T. Not the T in his name though; that stands for Tahir. Zaid spoke of his humble beginnings and how he ran after his passion and was simply lucky to have stumbled upon fame. He was still waiting for his fortune, he smiled, adding with a cheeky grin, “it’s not like I’m driving a Lamborghini.” He is, in case you didn’t know. But you should also know that despite driving the most coolest luxury car in the world, his “kachchas” (his words, not mine) were drying on the hotel balcony, which is why he didn’t want us to step out there to take his picture.

He was instantly likable; refreshing in his honesty. He said he was exhausted and had never felt this tired in his entire life and just crashed every night. It was probably courtesy Karachi traffic, we chuckled. It wasn’t easy commuting between the hotel and the Expo where rehearsals were under way. And this is why he was in Karachi: Zaid had a performance at the QMobile Hum Style Awards (we’ll witness it this evening). He was also reading scripts as he had a couple of film offers.

“I do like the one I read today,” he shared, without giving away more details. “I’ll probably know by next week.” He also added, realistically, that he didn’t want to play a romantic hero simply because people would probably burst out laughing when they saw him on screen. “They expect me to be funny!” he exclaimed. Maybe Yasir Hussain should take notes. My thoughts, not his.

My colleague Manal was asking all the tough questions and you’ll read the full interview in Instep soon. I was cherry picking some cool facts and figures and obviously asked the inevitable cliché of what he would be wearing tonight. It was a local brand I had never heard of. “I didn’t want to wear one of designers everyone is wearing,” he said. “These babas have been around forever. I wanted a young and unknown brand.”

At that point his pizza came and we knew that it was pushing 5pm and he hadn’t had lunch. After a quick bite and soundbyte, during which he quoted the “Bhai” video as his favourite, I asked him whether he had a ‘Mariam’ in his life? And he pulled out a pretty picture from his wallet. Flashing those pearly whites again.