Fortune aids the bold then Fahd Mustufa is definitely a beneficiary. But unlike most wannabees, he has the fortitude to resist the lure of ease and wealth. Fired with enthusiasm and loaded with this endearing quality to make anybody feel like a long lost buddy, he has the ability to take things in his stride once given a chance or on being offered one, and that's certainly a rarity.
There is no such word as compromise in his vocabulary as he believes in quality and doesn't want to be a part of the rat race by luring for the number of rolls under his belt. So to know how his journey has been so far for him in an industry for which his father, and our veteran artiste Salahuddin Tannu, has devoted many precious years of his life, we decided to hold him for a detailed chit chat.
Iqbal Ansari gave him the first break without knowing that he is a star son. He had to sit in a queue waiting for his turn. He, like most of the wannabes, had to appear for an audition and it was only then the debut offer came to his way.
"I didn't use my father's name or his contacts to grab my first chance. I just went to Iqbal Ansari ,appeared for an audition, took the script and the next moment I stood right in front of him and started saying my lines," Fahd unfolds the tale of his debut and continues, "working with Iqbal Ansari was not an easy task for me. He literally gave me a real tough time in the serial.
I felt as if I was the punching bag of his barbs, insults, witticisms and downright derogation as there was another actor who was not doing a good job but Iqbal sahib was okay with him which really made me feel as if the other actor's share of dejection was coming my way too.
But he bore all the blows with indomitable zeal and stoical fortitude and when the serial became a hit, I couldn't stop myself asking Iqbal Bhai that "why was it only me who faced all his anger and rage?" The answer he gave me was something very very big for a newcomer like me," Fahd brims with enthusiasm and continues. He said, "Fahd I was rude to you because I knew you are here to stay, while for the other actor my feelings were not as passionate, as I knew that his heart is not with him and I felt that he is a one time wonder so I didn't say to him anything."
Though the debut experience was tough for Fahd but it really prepared him to get able to fight against overwhelming odds that every newcomer has likely to face. His first serial paved the way for him and serials like "Sheeshay ka mehal", "wajood-e-laraib" and "bhegee pulkain" further honed his latent skills.
"In the beginning of my career the people who really came forward and helped me get stable and even compelled others to take me seriously are Maya Khan, Ahsan Talish and Iram Binte Tahir. In fact when you enter to this field you have to encounter numerous challenges at different levels and one of them is when you are not being taken seriously. It really proves an acid test of your patience and the prowess you have to bear rejection and dejection," informs Fahd.
Fahd rates "Sheeshay ka mehal" as the milestone of his career which gave him the boost he really needed to register himself among the masses. It was written by veteran Noor-ul Huda Shah who initially refused to take him in the serial. It was only after the audition that she got a little flexible and acceded to cast him for the role.
But she was a little apprehensive in giving him the lines to deliver and in most of the scenes he was there, but without dialogues. So one day Fahd couldn't resist and called her up asking her the reason for being so biased against him. Contrary to his doubts she said that she wanted to see how expressive he could be without lines and appreciated him for doing well.
Today Fahd can be seen playing roles in soaps. But as compared to the soaps which are aired on Star channels, ours do not succeed to register a viewer pull. On being asked Fahd explained, "The kind of concepts we have for the soaps are literally different than what the soaps actually are.
They basically refer to day to day life but the approach that we keep in mind while making one is way too different. We normally drag a thirteen episode serial into fifty or a hundred episodes soap in such a way that it loses its substance and impact. Whereas across the border it's so commercial oriented that if you eradicate that from the main story you stand no where. So both the countries are dealing it differently and in both ways they do not qualify to be treated as true soaps."
Fahd believes in the quality and the substance of the roles offered to him. "I believe in performance, these goody goody sitcoms have never been even a target to me and I have never longed to be a part of them. I don't want to put the saddle on the wrong horse in a hurry.
Unfortunately, if you appear in such goody goody stuff then nobody takes you seriously, ever. I have been told by some senior to abstain from becoming part of sitcoms in the beginning stage of my career and I feel that it really benefited me. Our masses take those artistes seriously who are really good in performing serious rolls, and today they are treated like institutions," prophesizes Fahd.
It's normally believed that competition is always healthy which plays a significant role in improving quality. But our experience is quite different as with the growing number of channels the quality of drama is following a declining trend.
No private production has been able to beat the quality standards that PTV has established. "Not all of the plays of PTV have been that successful," Fahd defends and continues, "but they used to register their impact just because of the fact that PTV has enjoyed a monopolistic status for quite some time. So when you don't have any other thing to watch you have to feast your eyes with what is available.
So in those days even an extra working in a play used to be a star as people used to recognize him, but today to make oneself get noticed it is really a matter of inviting all your inputs rightly utilized."So what about our local private channels. Even these are not being watched and the viewership ratio is quite low.
Besides, being in competition for so many years, now the quality has not faced a vertical growth. "We stand utterly wide off the mark when it comes to the question of our competition with the satellite channels" Fahd boldly admits, "I feel that we are not even in the competition.
The things which we intend to produce today, our neighbor has already made that a decade ago, ------ so what competition are you talking about? I sometimes feel as if in an attempt to copy the satellite channels we have lost not only the meat from the bone but the bone itself. We have a great heritage and I feel if we emphasize on bringing that before viewers by modifying it with the active utilization of present trends of the media, then definitely we can excel. We would have to improve the technical side because with the presently available resources it's as if we intend to dig a well with a needle."