Agha Mustafa Hassan - Lets Loose His Artistry

  • 16 Sep - 22 Sep, 2017
  • Rabia Mushtaq
  • Interview

Be it the sturdy Kaptaan Sahab in the theatre play Siachen or the charming Flight Engineer fiancé in biographical tele-film Ek Thi Marium or even the wicked Gohar in drama serial Sang-e-Mar Mar, this young lad, Agha Mustafa Hassan, has all the ingredients to become the country’s most cashable male actor at the moment. Born on March 17, the 25-year-old is the newest and possibly one of the most talented additions to Pakistan’s entertainment industry, for he has made quite a name for himself in a rather short span of time.

It was a crisp January evening when I first saw Agha perform in the much-talked about and critically-acclaimed theatre play Siachen, whose cast and crew took the country by storm with their exceptional, heart-touching performances, yet it never occurred to me that the broad-shouldered Kaptaan Sahab would soon hit the TV screens as an actor who wouldn’t just perform goody-good roles but would instead choose versatility to truly embrace the acting profession. The gifted artiste tells it all in a candid interview with MAG.

I asked, what brought him to the world of entertainment? “Honestly, it came out of nowhere. Growing up, I was a massive drama queen but I wanted to be a cricketer. One day my eldest sister came up to me and said, ‘Chalo, let’s go out’. She took me for a theatre play’s audition. I auditioned, got the lead role and the rest is history,” reveals Agha, further recalling the memorable Siachen days. “I worked so hard to be in that play. During the four months of practice, all the guys were locked in a house without cell phones, internet and any form of contact with the outside world. I didn’t see my family all this time even though I was living in the same city as them,” he talks about the struggles he endured to nail his character in the play. “I suffered mentally, physically and emotionally but never gave up. Looking back at it, I realise that it all paid off because it was Siachen through which I started getting acting offers. No matter how bad and excruciating the experience was, I shall always be grateful for it.”

Reminiscing his times as a kid, he calls himself a rather dramatic one, who was too hyper for his own good and shared a vivid memory that now makes him blush. “I was very dramatic. I would act all injured and hurt and then all of a sudden, I would summon super human strength and go all crazy,” he says, adding how he was a good student who was also into extra-curricular activities, be it debating, sports or anything at all. I was always up for extracurricular activities. As far as I can remember, all my teachers had just one complain for my parents, ‘Your child is brilliant but he is careless’. Else, I was always a good student.”

Agha has done five plays so far and is currently working on his sixth project. However, Sang-e-Mar Mar and Ek Thi Marium are very close to his heart. His character in the former received wide appreciation but portraying the villanous role could have landed him in the abyss of typecasting, which led me to enquire how he dealt with the risk this early in his acting career. “Honestly, I fell in love with Gohar as soon as I read the script. It was risky, but as an actor, I felt that character. The script spoke to me and I knew I must do it,” he said, adding, “It was risky and it did kind of backfire. A lot of my fans ask me why are you not doing more serials, the answer is, I’m being offered the same roles over and over again,” he laments about the menace of typecasting, yet he wants to experiment with the art and groom his skills, which isn’t possible if he keeps doing the same role. “Now, I work very selectively and only when the character appeals to me,” Agha firmly states.

Despite having done a few television/modelling projects and a film as well, the actor is proud to be associated to theatre. “There is no better feeling in this world than performing on stage. You feel like a king on stage. You have the power to make people laugh, you have the power to make them cry and vice versa. Theatre has been the most beautiful experience of my life,” he excitedly states, and considering his powerful performance as the robust Kaptaan of the diverse Siachen regiment, it was evident how sincere he was towards his profession.

Is there a dream character he wishes to perform? “Yes!” he exclaims, “I would love to either play the Joker or be a Bond Villain,” the bloke revealed his fondness for character roles. “Living a character, breathing it – it is an amazing experience. Being realistic, I do need to do lead roles but in terms of personal preference, I admire character roles a lot more. As an actor, there’s a lot more margin to play with,” he makes it known, and adds, “In lead roles (most of them), you just have to be the soft, loving and caring individual.”

As far as acting is concerned, Agha looks up to actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Yasir Hussain, Naumaan Ijaz, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch to name a few, while it is his wish to work with Saba Qamar and Gohar Rasheed, and is all praises for the two actors.

Agha debuted for the big screen in Revenge of the Worthless (2016), but is he coming back towards films anytime soon? “Yes! I have signed something which will come out next year, but that’s all I’ll tell you.” He remains tight-lipped about it because he doesn’t want to “jinx it”.

Numerous actors from the younger generation often complain of unwelcoming behaviour by some seniors in the field. Agha tells me how he deals with this impression. “Honestly, there are good and bad people everywhere. You’ll find amazing senior actors who are humble and friendly, but you’ll also find those who are really mean. Similarly, you’ll come across similar behaviour by young actors,” he divulges about the cons of being in the competitive industry, and adds, “I personally feel that a lot of young actors have a lot more attitude and issues when compared to the senior actors. I’ve worked with a few that just made me want to rip out their intestines.” He, however, states that there are two sides to every story, for he has met young actors who are stars yet very humble and fun to work with.

Agha is one good-looking chap, which makes it certain that he sure has a large female following in his fan circle. He is single and what makes him more interesting is that he is a family-oriented guy, for he reiterates this Marlon Brando quote from Godfather.

“A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

There you go girls, Agha is the most eligible bachelor in the industry right now.

Has he ever had a crazy fan encounter? Here’s what he says, “Yes! I was harassed by a group of girls at F-10 Markaz in Islamabad around 2-3 am,” he recalls, “This was right after Ek Thi Marium’s release and was an extremely weird experience because I’m still fairly a new comer. I’ve been on TV for just a year, so I still don’t know how to react to such situations. That was an experience I don’t ever wish to encounter again.” Nonetheless, you (fans) now know how to approach Agha in public, unlike the girls who intimidated him so much.

Currently binge watching Rick and Morty, Narcos, American Gods and Archer, the promising thespian has a penchant to write occasionally, though dance and working out is what he usually does to unwind and express himself; he is indeed more than what meets the eye.

Agha wishes to become “one of the biggest film stars of Pakistan” and requests his fans to pray for his success. He is certainly not one to get carried away with praise. “My fight is to be the best in the world at what I do and for that I must learn and conquer myself before I look at others as competition.” We wish him all the luck for his acting

career ahead! •