Fawad the charmer

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By I am a hopeless romantic, says Fawad Khan as he talks Khoobsurat and why female attention makes him blush! WILL FAWAD KHAN MAKE IT BIG IN BOLLYWOOD? TELL T2@ABP.IN
  • Published 6.08.14

For most fans in India, he’s Zaroon Junaid of Zindagi Gulzar Hai. Come September 19 and Fawad Khan makes his Bolly debut in Khoobsurat, opposite Sonam Kapoor. t2 caught up with the charming Pakistani heart-throb…

India had just woken up to you in Zindagi Gulzar Hai when the trailers of Khoobsurat hit the airwaves. Was this by design or sheer coincidence?

(Laughs out loud) I paid the channel, you know! It’s just great timing and god-sent luck. But that Zindagi Gulzar Hai has aired in India (on Zee Zindagi) at this time has just given a positive boost to the interest around Khoobsurat. Without it, I wouldn’t have managed to get as much recognition among the Indian audience. I am actually floored by the response that I have got from Indian fans and I am hoping it continues to grow as the film hits theatres.

You’ve always been getting offers from Bollywood. Why choose Khoobsurat as your debut?

Very honestly, I am always very nervous about my entry into a new territory where the audience is somewhat unfamiliar. When Khoobsurat came to me, I was relatively free and I found it an ideal film to make an entry into the film industry here… to test the waters. It’s a simple, mainstream romantic comedy through which I thought it would be easier to garner appreciation from the audience as opposed to a more intense and serious film. I am the kind of person who likes taking one step at a time and raising the bar with each film. Hopefully, Khoobsurat will be the first step.

Is being a newcomer again unnerving or is it an advantage because you come with no baggage or image?

I always consider myself as good as my last film. I tend to analyse my work very critically. I am looking at my Bolly career as trying something new in a new environment and seeing if I can get something out of it. I always believe that if your work is good, it will always speak for itself. Bollywood is just a step up for me to try and reach out to a wider audience base.

How much of Vikram of Khoobsurat is Fawad?

The romantic part of it is a definite similarity… I consider myself to be kind of a hopeless romantic… always have been (laughs). I am an emotional person, but I choose to display my emotions only among people I am close to. Vikram is a lot like that.

And is there a bit of Zindagi Gulzar Hai’s Zaroon in you, a man modern in outlook and yet conservative when it comes to his woman?

Not at all. Apart from the romantic bit, about 70 to 80 per cent of Zaroon was completely different from who I am as a person, especially when it comes to his somewhat conservative and bigoted attitude (laughs). Zaroon has been a very interesting character to play… so different from me and yet similar in certain ways.

Have you had to unlearn anything in your craft as an actor while working on your Bolly debut?

Honestly, I haven’t been a part of the film industry in Pakistan for some time. I was in talks, but nothing materialised. So since I haven’t really worked in a Pakistani film for a while, I wouldn’t want to compare the working styles of the industry there and here. But having said that, I believe that you have to unlearn something each time you take up a new project. Here, I think language is a concern for me because I have had to acclimatise myself to the semantics of Hindi which is actually quite different from Urdu, although they sound the same.

You have a very intense image, courtesy Zindagi Gulzar Hai and even on Comedy Nights with Kapil last weekend, you came across as super serious. Is that carefully cultivated?

(Laughs) No, it isn’t… that’s what I am. I have done comedy though… I have been a part of a very loud and physical comedy on Pakistani TV called Akbar Asghari where I played a village oaf. So yes, I’m comfortable doing comedy too, but I just feel I haven’t done it enough.

Growing up, who have been your acting idols?

I watch a lot of films. In fact, recently, I have gone back to watching the classics. Growing up, I loved films like A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront and became a huge fan of Marlon Brando. Laurence Olivier has been a huge inspiration and so has Peter O’Toole. A Pakistani legend who I have been fortunate enough to meet only once or twice before he passed away was Moin Akhtar. In India, there are so many… Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor….

A lot of Bolly stars are now singing their own songs. Being a singer yourself, is that something that we will see you doing in your films here?

It’s not really part of the plan. In Pakistan, I was part of a metal band (called Entity Paradigm) which a couple of friends and I founded because we wanted to break the clutter and make a statement through our music. Our music was about angst, but also about romance. I don’t know how much my sort of music would be acceptable as Bollywood sound. My primary talent is actually as a songwriter-composer while singing is my secondary talent.

Finally, you have a huge female fan following in both Pakistan and India. Do you enjoy the attention you get?

(Laughs) Obviously, I feel very flattered and who doesn’t like that, but female fan attention makes me blush… I blush like a 12-year-old! It’s a great feeling to be admired… what can I say? It’s a warm gooey feeling (laughs).


Name: Fawad Afzal Khan

Now known as: Fawad Khan

We know him better as: Zaroon Junaid of the Pakistani TV series Zindagi Gulzar Hai

Age: 32

Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

(November 29 is his birthday, mark it on your calendar, girls!)

Twitter handle: @_fawadakhan_

Spent his childhood in: Greece, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom

Studied to be: A telecom engineer

But ended up as: The frontman of Entity Paradigm (in picture), a progressive metal rock band he founded with five friends

Acting debut: In the 2000 TV series Jutt and Bond

Came into his own with: The 2007 film Khuda Kay Liye in which he played a young musician who becomes an Islamic hardliner

Makes his Bolly debut in: Khoobsurat, opposite Sonam Kapoor

Owns: A clothing line called Silk

Relationship status: Married to childhood sweetheart Sadaf Fawad who he proposed to at age 17. Has a son called Ayaan.

7 reasons why Fawad Khan is the new hottie on screens big and small

1. He’s drop-dead gorgeous: Sharp nose, prominent cheekbones, intense eyes, that 15-day stubble and a smile that can win a thousand hearts. The man’s got it all and more. Did we mention we love how his eyes crinkle up when he smiles?

2. He’s a natural on screen: Shy and introverted by nature, Fawad comes alive when he’s in front of the camera. Humsafar to Zindagi Gulzar Hai, he’s made every character his own, bringing much more to the small screen than just his good looks. His film career may not have been as prolific, but Fawad shone through in films like Khuda Kay Liye and Armaan. One look at him as prince Vikram in the Khoobsurat promo and you know that Fawad will do justice to his role of a man caught between tradition and modernity.

t2 recommends: YouTube his Pakistani telefilm Behadd which has Fawad as a man in his 30s in love with a much older woman.

3. He’s Zaroon Junaid: We at t2 discovered him in Zindagi Gulzar Hai and a large part of Fawad’s (female) fan following is courtesy his turn as Zaroon Junaid

(in picture). As the handsome protagonist of the popular TV show who is progressive in lifestyle and yet chauvinistic enough to demand that his woman toes the line when it comes to exercising her freedom after marriage, Fawad made Zaroon the quintessential Mills & Boon hero: dark and brooding, controlling and dominating, yet magnetic and irresistible.

4. He’s got a great voice: He’s been a rocker, so a good voice comes with the territory. But just hear him tell Sonam Kapoor’s Mili in the Khoobsurat trailer: “Yahaan ke taur tareekey aap nahin samajh payengi.” We are playing it on loop. Are you?

5. He’s a cool dresser: Any man who can carry off a sharp suit has our vote — if you watched Comedy Nights with Kapil last Saturday, you know that Fawad does — and very well. In fact, he looks great in anything he wears… we just can’t stop drooling over him in a khaki waistcoat and crisp Jodhpurs at the Khoobsurat promo launch (above).

6. He speaks very well: Fawad may have been a little too reserved on Comedy Nights with Kapil — we would have loved to see him dance and crack a few jokes — but when the man talks, he does so very well.

t2 recommends: Fawad on the couch of The Lighter Side of Life, Pakistan’s answer to our Koffee with Karan.

7. He reminds us of another t2 favourite: Yes, Virat Kohli! Doubt us? See this picture (left) and note the resemblance.

We aren’t complaining!

Priyanka Roy