• 22 Jul - 28 Jul, 2017
  • Mariam Khan
  • Interview

Rays of the sun filter through a picture window, brightening up the room in patches, creating a shadow play. As the light play ensues, steps are heard on the wooden floor. Clad in a lemon kurta, paired with kohla puri’s, Fahad Mirza walks in, wreathed in smiles, returning from his tennis lesson.

Fahad is in the fourth decade of his life. “In the past six months, I may have just begun to figure out who Fahad Mirza is,” says the actor who doesn’t want to ‘sound ancient’. “Whatever I do, I want to do it to the best potential possible for me, and that is the driving force now. I’m a plastic surgeon so I want to be the best plastic surgeon possible,” says the actor-cum-surgeon. “I have started my tennis lessons again and I shoot 400 balls every day for I want to be the best tennis player I can possibly be,” shares Fahad who also plays golf, and sails too.

The power of an intangible force to do more, is what is constantly tugging him to do more. That energy from the abstract space is what he has grabbed on to and sprinkles into whatever project he partakes in. “When I finished my training for plastic surgery, I joined a course at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) for sculpting and human drawing because I felt a plastic surgeon is the culmination of an artist and a surgeon; I was very good at surgery but art was something I really hadn’t pushed myself into,” he puts across.

Fahad is one who believes in making things happen. But this didn’t come to him as an epiphany. “Growing up I didn’t know you can make things happen in life. I thought if you really wanted something, you had to pray and wait for it to work out for you,” and then he came across achievers. “God put me in certain situations and exposed me to certain people who’ve achieved so much. Looking at their lives I figured there are tools in life which you can use to get what you want.” For all those who want their wheel of life to be sprayed by what they passionately want, Fahad shares a blueprint: “if you want something, it shouldn’t be a feeling of despair but a moment of excitement and exhilaration and a firm belief that if you will work really hard you can get it.”

An orthopaedic surgeon’s son, it was evident he was going to follow his father’s tracks. “You must have heard a barber’s son is a barber, a butcher’s son is a butcher, similarly a surgeon’s son is a surgeon. People around me would say ‘yeh tou orthopaedic surgeon hi baney ga’ so I really don’t know what else I would have been doing otherwise,” he points out. But then he came across a field which he fell for. “Acting was something I fell in love with. When I started acting, it was still looked down upon,” says the actor who wrapped himself in the craft when he was in Dow University of Health Sciences, in his final year. “My father was very angry as he didn’t want me to act but I didn’t want to let go, so eventually it happened. I would work very hard at college and the time I had to sleep or hang out with friends, I would spend it acting,” says the dreamer who never let go of his dream. “Today, too, I’d be working 110 hours in the hospital per week and be up for 30 hours straight, but when I get the chance, I’d be on set to shoot.” What’s the secret behind him juggling between the two? “Trust me I don’t know. I love acting and surgery is my number one passion, so now I don’t need to let go of either as I’ll work extra hard but keep doing both.”

It was with TV3 Karachi, a play, with which Fahad stepped on the acting ladder. “It was with Marina Khan, Jalil Akhtar, her husband, and Rahat Kazmi. It was when Sarwat (Gilani) used to be in IVS and I was in Dow. We were friends and I was really fond of modelling so she made my portfolio,” Fahad fondly recollects the time when he “didn’t have money for a professional photographer so Sarwat took photographs of me at my place only, and Arshad Tareen, a photographer, forwarded the photos,” and the rest is history for the medic-cum-entertainer.

Being extremely selective about his projects, Fahad now has a burning desire to play a jilted lover. “I want to do a character that has something to do with romance – one that has loved and lost showcasing the passion and human emotion, like a Devdas of sorts,” shares the actor who has turned down two films and countless plays due to time constraints as well as scripts that didn’t speak to him. “My plays have been far and few in between and I haven’t been able to capitalise on my gains. Shanakht was well received and I was nominated as best supporting actor but I disappeared two-and-a-half years after that; Bari Aapa, which I did five years ago, was again well received,” says the actor who hasn’t been able to work consistently. “But now, at this point I can really prove to myself that I really belong up there so the next six months is to improve my acting and getting the audience to fall in love with me.”

Would he want to work in films? “When someone approaches me with the right script, I would love to work in a film. I have given myself a few months to focus on acting, after which I will have to get back to surgery.”

Has life changed for him after his marriage to Sarwat, I ask? “Oh absolutely! I consider myself extremely lucky to have her in my life. She is such a stabilising influence, and is a wise individual,” shares the loving husband who expresses “it’s very important to have somebody wise in your life for many times you need to ask people for their counsel and in those situations when you have someone next to you who can give you a very practical, solid solution, it is invaluable. She’s the bedrock on which I stand and achieve whatever I do which I won’t have been able to without her.”

For Fahad life has become beautiful and he shares the formula, “When you are satisfied and happy, generally whatever you do, tends to become better.”

Out of all the commercials being seen on TV, there was one which was discussed on dinner tables and kitty parties that had this dapper and a child artiste in it. Most of you reading this would have the visuals of the Oreo advertisement in your head already. “I would say the child and I looked very connected as if she was my daughter which I think added to the believability; secondly, the child was Indian and their child actors are extremely developed; the girl’s voice was dubbed by a professional voice-over child artiste. I spent an entire day with the kid because as an actor you also bring something to the table, right?” he elucidates, but there was a magical aspect to it too for which Fahad has an explanation: “it was luck as well, because that was something very special.”

His reel-life grace is equally evident in real life too. And he shares with us a fan encounter beamingly. “Being the chief resident, I had to check on an operated woman who had undergone major surgery and was in tremendous discomfort. As I pulled the curtain, she jumped and asked her daughter for a mirror,” he says in good humour. But for the dapper, having good looks alone aren’t enough for all those associated with the acting craft. “You can’t enjoy watching someone good looking without him doing anything special. Yes, you’re hooked onto the screen watching someone good looking, but your personality, acting (skills) and how you captivate the audience’s attention then completes the deal; if its only good looks you feel a bit half, like you’ve gone for dinner and you’ve had the appetiser but not the main course,” says the actor who doesn’t need to unwind. “I love what I do, so I generally don’t need to unwind.”

The doer that he is, Fahad wants everyone to do more. “You only live once so give your life the best shot. At the end of your life you should be completely used and spent in every way – bruised, tattered, torn, broken, but having lived.”