â€œI always plan ahead and I know that I do not want to do television for the rest of my lifeâ€, says Fahad Mustafa.
If any word defines Fahad Mustafa, its rebellion. With a devil-may-care attitude, he has risen to the top ranks of Pakistani television actors â€“ in a span of just four years â€“ solely on his own terms. This firebrand has stirred things up with his entry in the world of showbiz, and somehow viewers just canâ€™t get enough of him. With a number of new serials lined up, not to mention offerâ€™s from across the border, this outspoken actor talks candidly to HUMSAY about the world of television.
Q — From pharmacy to acting, how did your journey into showbiz begin?
A –I was never really inclined toward studies and initially wanted to do dentistry, but due to some constraints I ended up doing pharmacy from Baqai. It was while I was studying that Iqbal Ansari saw me somewhere and called me for auditions. After I gave my audition, his assistant told me that shooting was starting from the next day! The name of the serial was â€˜Raj Hansaniâ€™, and I was to play Humayun Saeed and Angeline Malikâ€™s son. As soon as I finished working on that, offers started pouring in. Once I had started making good money, studying and academic books lost their charm, and besides I had a few maulvi-type teachers who resented the fact that I had started acting, which didnâ€™t exactly encourage me to go back to college.
Also, my father is a PhD in chemistry and I barely passed the subject! One of my brothers is an accountant; the other one is an engineer and my sister is a doctor, so I was somewhat of a black sheep of the family. Iâ€™m also the youngest, so everyone was always worried as to what would become of me.
When I entered this field and started to do so well almost immediately – youngsters normally donâ€™t fare that great with just three or four serials behind them – and was offered good scripts and roles, I began to toy with the idea of making acting my career. My third serial,â€˜Wajood-e-Laraibâ€™ had earned me a â€˜Best Actorâ€™ nomination, which gave me confidence. I asked my father to give me a year and told him if I didnâ€™t make it in a year, then Iâ€™d go back to what I was doing. My father didnâ€™t speak to me that whole year.
I did nine or ten serials during that time â€“ a period which was also quite trying for my family. My father had been going through a bit of a bad patch with his job in those days; my sister was getting married; and my brother was looking to go to Australia. So, I had the opportunity to help out with the finances. Then, it so happened that my father and I were invited on a show,â€˜Nasal Dar Nasalâ€™, hosted by Bushra apa. It was on that show that my father started talking to me after a whole year.
Q — It must have been a very emotional moment for both of you.
A — It was. Initially, I was quiet, and then he started talking about my studies and people began calling in and telling him to encourage me. That day, my father actually realized that I could do
something. After that he has never objected to what I am doing; Iâ€™m not saying heâ€™s completely satisfied with my choice of profession, but he knows Iâ€™m secure. But, donâ€™t get me wrong. The moral of the story is not to encourage youngsters to leave their studies and enter showbiz. It was a big risk that I took, and luckily, it worked for me.
Q — Your father, Salahudin Tunio, was also an actor, so why did he have a problem with you entering this field?
A — My father was one of the leading Sindhi actors of his time, but he was basically deputy director anti-narcotics, and acting was a side thing for him. He used to act on-and-off, and in those days only one big serial was done in a year. My father basically wanted me to complete my education; I guess that was the reason for his disapproval initially.