By Sonya Rehman
In the news recently for walking out of Battle for Bittora and then bagging Vogue’s Most Beautiful Male award in Mumbai, the charming, debonair actor, with his self-assured smile that makes many a heart flutter, has come a long way. In 2007, after interviewing him immediately after his debut in the Pakistani film, Khuda Kay Liye, Fawad was soft-spoken and reserved. It was September. Sitting at a small coffee shop in Lahore, the actor, dressed in pants and a casual button-down, spoke about his first film, and how he stumbled into acting by chance, minus any expectations.
Fast forward a few years later, and Fawad is one of the most sought-after actors in not just Pakistan, but across the border, in India too. This month, I was lucky to get through to him for a quick email interview for my cover story for Masala! Magazine. Amidst his busy schedule in India, Fawad spoke about his latest film, his no kissing pact and also got a little nostalgic about his old music career…
You’ve come a long way since your rocker days, run me by the changes you’ve been through, both as an actor and as an individual…
As an actor and an individual I think I’ve learnt how to subdue the angry young man that was inside me. When I started out I think I was very much similar to Bruce Banner and his hulk problem. The answer to everything was hulk smash!, quite literally, in some way or the other in every emotional output. I was much louder. I think that would be my biggest achievement as well. I’ve expanded my skill-set through a very limited number of projects and been very lucky with the outcomes most of the time. As an individual, I’ve learnt a lot about life. Some things that proved to be helpful and some things I wish I never knew.
The trend of Pakistani artistes finding work and recognition in India started off with Pakistani musicians, but over the past couple of years, it seems as if actors are finding greener pastures in India too. In your opinion, is it as basic as better projects in India? Better money? Or is it the failure of the industry back in Pakistan?
Earlier it would definitely have been the drastic differences in money, failure of the industry and occasionally better concepts but the now the game has changed. My take is let work take you wherever in the world. That doesn’t require a moral compass. Pakistani actors are now finding greener pastures not just in India but in other countries around the world as well. There are many examples and it should be like that. Firstly, these are personal decisions that actors and musicians alike are entitled to take. Secondly, that’s how you spread influence and get noticed. Eventually that’s how the Pakistani Industry is going to get noticed in the world.
You’ve just wrapped up shooting for Kapoor and Sons – what was your experience like working with the cast and the crew, particularly, Karan Johar?
Working on Kapoor and Sons was a lot of fun. The energy was great and the cast and crew all got along really well, like a family. Sid, Alia and Shakun are fantastic people to work and hang out with. This is my second time working with Ratna Patak and as always it’s a pleasure, whereas it’s my first experience working with Rajat Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor, I feel like I share an old camaraderie with them. Karan, is an extremely genuine and warm person. Having seen his work on Koffee with Karan one can very well see his sharp sense of humour, but in person, believe me when I say it’s an experience on another level. With that wit comes a sharp eye and a sensibility that makes his production house what it is today.
Do you miss your music days? Would you ever consider going back to music for a bit?
Can’t find the space for it these days. But all this while I’ve had the chance to sit down and listen to some great music. I really do miss it. It’s a memory and an experience I really cherish. There is no comparison between the life of a rock star and an actor. If I could now, I would be a rock star within a blink of an eye. So as far as music is concerned, yeah, I might just go back to it but don’t want to be unfair to it. It requires its proper time and space.
Was Bollywood daunting for you, initially?
No. I didn’t come in with any preconceived notions of the industry so I don’t feel it was daunting. As an actor if you ask, it’s funny but my audience’s expectations are more daunting than the work itself.
Fawad, the media went into a bit of a spin after your decision of choosing not to get intimate with Alia Bhatt in Kapoor and Sons. Is this something that you’re going to stick to for all your films?
First of all, there is a lot of guessing that goes on in the market. It’s all a result of not having a PR which I feel it’s high time that I get, secondly, one needs to start reporting impostors on social networking sites. The issue of kissing is nothing and just a personal choice for now.
What’s your definition of a dream role?
The ‘dream role’ for me is a myth as of now. As an actor I’m challenged around the clock. To be able to keep changing personalities is the biggest task alone. To not repeat yourself again and again. The day I’m able to master that skill, I’ll be ready for my dream role.