Shahzad Rafique's film Mohabbatan Sachiyyan has followed Khuda Kay Liye on the path to reviving cinema in Pakistan. Box office reports have declared the film a hit and with the film has risen the popularity of its young debutante hero, Adnan Khan. Formerly a model, the young and talented 22 year old talks to Telepk.com about his successful transition from modeling to films.
Telepk.com: How did you kick start your career in films?
I did a movie Josh with Hassan Askari but unfortunately it was never released. Then MS (Mohabbatan Sachiyyan) came along and I'm happy to say it's a dream debut. Shahzad Rafique was familiar with my work as a model and he motivated me to take acting seriously. Shahzad Rafiq is a name everyone in the industry is quite familiar with and getting an offer from his banner was an honour for me. I had watched his previous films and I have no qualms to confess that he's 'my kinda director'. The thing which distinguishes him among his peers is the fact that he never compromise on substance and delivers quality.
Telepk.com: How was it like facing the camera for the first time?
Shahzad gives his artistes their due space. He doesn't do anything in a haphazard way and on sets he becomes a real captain of the ship. He's totally in control. In my case, he very patiently taught me the ropes of acting, from getting my footwork right, to giving the right expressions.
Telepk.com: Many models had moved towards the silver screen but have failed to spin any magic. How do you feel about that?
A good actor can be a good model but a good model will not necessarily be a good actor. I am therefore working painstakingly on my acting and performance as I have always seen myself as an actor before a model. I think one only needs to work hard
Telepk.com: Were you a little reluctant to start your career with a Punjabi film?
I get a very strange sort of response when I disclose that my debut flick is in Punjabi. It's unfortunate that the kind of Punjabi films our industry has been churning out has tarnished the image of Punjab. Therefore the mention of a Punjabi film conjures up images of the gandassa, violence and vulgarity. Those have been the trade mark of our Punjabi films. But Syed Noor contributed to a difference with Chooriyaan and took it forward with Majajan. Likewise, MS is also an attempt to take the quality of Punjabi films further and make them an aesthetic blend of a good storyline, melodic music and powerful performances.
Telepk.com: What do you feel are other strengths of the film?
There are many. For instance, it's the first movie that offers cinegoers a Digital Image (DI) system, which enhances the picture quality. Then it's the first time the back ground music of any Pakistani film has been recorded in the Yash Raj studios in India. And then it's the first time that a Pakistani Punjabi film was officially released in India at their Diwali festival in November. In addition to that, legendary singers like Shreya Ghosal, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chohan have lent their voices to the movie's wonderful sound track.
Telepk.com: Are you afraid of being stereotyped as a Punjabi film hero?
No one can make you do what you don't want to. I think it's in the hands of an artiste to not let that happen. Moreover, MS is not a typical Punjabi film and does not cater to stereotypes.
Telepk.com: Khuda Kay Liye has changed the expectations of Pakistani movie lovers. Do you think that has posed a problem for Mohabbatan Sachiyyan and has it been a challenge to rise to the standard set by KKL?
KKL is basically a message oriented movie whereas MS is totally commercial so I think there is no direct competition between the two. However, what is good about the two is the fact that both are sincere attempts to redefine cinema in Pakistan.
Telepk.com: You've left modeling and entered films at a time when fashion is on a boom and cinema is on a general downslide in Pakistan. Do you think that's a wise decision?
Yes, but I would be the happiest person if my movie contributes significantly towards the revival of cinema.
Telepk.com: The film industry in Pakistan has not been able to command a lot of respect. Has that ever made you double minded about your decision to join films?
I basically hail from a feudal and a somewhat conservative family. Initially they were not happy with my career choice but I convinced them that every profession has all sorts of people and the film industry is no exception. The most important thing for a person is to make sure that he works with a good team. So I had them meet the cast and crew of MS and later they approved.
Telepk.com: When Shan, Moammar Rana and Baber joined the film industry, people hoped they would bring about a change but nothing happened. How do you see your role develop?
I will not comment on them but I will say for myself that it's been a year since MS was completed and in this time I have been approached by the film 'mafia' so many times. I have refused all offers. Even director Hassan Askari called me and told me about his new film and its story. He wanted to cast me opposite to Nargis and I told him respectfully that I would not look good with her. I mean to say that I have my priorities and I don't want to be a signature to anything that I don't believe in. No, I can't be a part of the rat race.
Telepk.com: What would you say to Syed Noor if he offered you a film opposite Saima?
I'm sure a director of Syed Noor's stature would not be asking me such things. I've already signed up a movie with him where Saima is playing the role of my Bhabi and Shaan is my elder brother. I'm glad to tell you that I have a central character in the movie and the story moves around the character I'm playing.
Telepk.com: How has working with Veena Malik been like?
She kept helping me and guiding me throughout the film. During shootings, she told me not to keep her seniority in mind and act as realistically as possible.
Telepk.com: Which actors inspire you?
Shaan, to me is a big star of our industry. Though wasted many times, he knows his job. Also I'm impressed with Amir Khan and Salman Khan.
Telepk.com: Lastly, how would you like to be known as an actor?
I want to cultivate an image of versatile actor. I don't want to be known as a chocolate hero, or an angry young man. I'm open to all kinds of roles especially if they present me in different shades and in which I get ample margin to perform.