“I am a huge believer in proceeding slowly and learning as you go along in your career.“

The actor talks about theatre, hoping for better screenwriting and stepping out of his comfort zone. Excerpts:

What kind of kid were you?

I was quite a hyper, naughty and a really fat kid. I loved playing outdoor sports. I am a bit spoilt as well being the youngest in my family.

Were you always inclined towards performing arts?

Yes!! I always loved performing in front of people, may it be my family, my friends or later on in my career, on stage or camera.

How did you land your first acting gig?

I’ve always been a firm believer in doing your best and the best will come to you.

I used to do quite a lot of short films and student films. From there I got my first chance when Jawad Bashir saw one of them and called me for an audition for his film Maya.

How was the experience of filming for it?

Maya was my first big commercial work. I was quite nervous. But the team was superb, everyone was quite professional and passionate, so it was quite a smooth sailing till the end.

What was your first day at work like? What went through your mind?

I’m always nervous on the first day of any project I sign. I really want to give my best, gel with the team and live upto the expectations of my directors. The first day always gives butterflies in my stomach.

I recently caught your play Jhaanjar Di Pawaan Jhankaar. I thoroughly enjoyed it and your performance. You played a blind young man in it. Any special techniques you used to get the nuances of the character right?

Yes, I studied the body language of blind people, their movements and gestures in the surroundings they are familiar with as well as the surroundings they are not familiar with. I used to blindfold myself and walk around my house to get a feel of how one can simply sense things without eyes. Quite often I ended up bumping into things! Even in the rehearsals I used to keep my eyes shut until my other senses were synced with the set and the other characters present.

At a very early stage in your career you have tried all mediums – stage, television and film. How did you get the confidence to do that? Did you have a strategy in place?

Well, if one has a firm belief in their craft then I think the medium is secondary. The confidence comes from within. I am a huge believer in proceeding slowly and learning as you go along in your career. I’ve also done a radio play that gave me a lot to learn about my tone and voice control. The key is to keep learning and experimenting and trying out different things, stepping out of your comfort zone one step at a time.

Which of the three mediums do you find most enjoyable?

Every medium has its own charm, so one cannot put their finger on just one. But theatre gives you more margin as far as performance is concerned. Because it’s live and there are no cuts or retakes. Film has its own grand feel and aura, while TV has its own wide range of viewership in our country. So, every medium comes with its own pros and cons.

What are some interesting differences in performing you have encountered while working for a play, serial and film?

We’ll the craft predominantly remains the same its just the preparation process that changes. There is a saying – TV is a writer’s medium, Film is a director’s medium, Theatre is Actor’s medium. I really wish we have better writers in our country though!

What is the most important thing you have learned from all these mediums?

One thing that goes for all the mediums is that learning must never ever stop. One must always evolve and keep the learning process rolling. Polish your own skills to end up with a better result at the end of the day.

Who would you like to work with next?

Sohail Sameer and Faiq Khan are the best co-actors I’ve ever worked with. I would really want to work with these two again. And two other actors who I've never had the fortune to work with are Shan Shahid and Shahood Alvi. I wish that I get a chance to work alongside them in the near future.

If you weren’t an actor…?

If I had chosen another career, I would definitely have been a cricketer.

Do you have a dream role?

Anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone, anything that challenges me, excites me, would become my dream role.

Antagonist or protagonist? Why?

Personally, I feel antagonist. The sole reason for this is that writers write such two-dimensional flat protagonist roles in our country that the margin for acting is left to a bare minimum. On the other hand, if the script provides a three-dimensional character for a protagonist then there is nothing better than that.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on a drama, and a feature film Ready Steady No in which I am playing a very different role that challenged me as a performer and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Hollywood. Who knows!! Fingers crossed.