JUNAID KHAN - Versatility Personified

  • 22 Jul - 28 Jul, 2017
  • Shahzeb Shaikh
  • Interview

Some artistes cannot do anything wrong. They’re versatile and multitalented. If we place Junaid Khan in the same category, it won’t be an unjust honour. The singer-model-actor has excelled in all the aforementioned categories and continues to grow.

The musician

As a music critic, I first encountered Junaid Khan flexing his vocals with hardcore rock music on CALL’s first album Jilawatan. How effortlessly he switched languages and performed western numbers of Bon Jovi, U2 was a treat to listen to. Even the disintegration of CALL didn't halt his passion for music. He came out with singles like the rock ditty Koi Mujhe Roko and the melodious So Close So Distant where he went international in collaboration with Jennifer Jandris.

MAG commences the interview session with the much-expected question regarding his current music status and solo outings. Junaid says, “My band CALL has been back in action for the past year-and-a-half and we have been performing here and there regularly and it has been crazy. Music is my true passion and I’ll keep on making music till I can. There are a few tracks lined up with CALL and my first solo album is also under way. The solo sound will be rock and metal. Plus, I sang OSTs for my two recent TV serials Natak and Sun Yara and working on more.”

So is CALL really functional? , I wonder. “Yes, it is really! As I mentioned earlier and re-released our favorite track Teri Haar Hum from our second album Dhoom and reminded our audience what CALL is about. We will be surprising our fans with a striking track very soon,” informs Junaid.

Junaid considers collaborations fruitful and is always up for them. Regarding his upcoming collaborations, he apprises, “I am collaborating with a music producer for an OST and a few more music projects which I can reveal once they get finalised. Other than that a few more TV projects are under way.’

Juanid is very vocal and optimistic about the present Pakistani music scene. He quotes, “Its picking up again for various reasons like PEMRA regulating the percentage of international content being played on our channels, with local music being used in Pakistani movies, the security situation improving and brands investing in producing music related shows. Hence, musicians are also producing more music, which will make our audience more aware and demand more music. I am really hopeful for 'the battle of the bands' as it will bring back the band culture, which initially gave bands like mine the push and exposure to make it big in this country.”

The actor

Junaid Khan’s career experienced a major turn when he ventured into acting in TV serials. It was a bold step, completely opposite to his music career whereby the maximum acting experience a musician has is of a music video. Regarding the experiences, Junaid merrily shares, “I have had a wonderful time so far. I have been given so much love by the audience that I can’t thank them enough. I have been the bad guy, the good guy, the romantic one, the one fighting for what’s right, et cetera; I have done everything but still there’s loads to learn and a lot more to come.”

With a successful acting career under his belt, did he always think he had the acting talent or can such skills be acquired through training?

“I don’t think creativity can be forced. You either have it in you or you don’t. I believe any form of art should be explored first by the individual himself so that he/she may figure out his/her unique style and then master that style with necessary training. So, no! You don’t need training to be a successful actor. You just need training to master your art. And, training can be done through work experience as well by working with skilled people.”

It is a fact that chemistry among artistes and director should be immaculate. Junaid also agrees with the notion and says, “It’s extremely important. You have to be a very exceptional performer to not depend on chemistry between co-stars and director but in real life scenarios an actor does need chemistry because it shows on screen. Most messages fail to be conveyed as the audiences don’t find the connection because the actor-to-actor and the actor-to-director chemistry is not there. The audience needs to see those minor details in an actor's performance, which helps them connect to a particular scene. Also, it depends on the mood and treatment of a scene. If the scene is being shot in a very natural environment and not aided by background score, then the scene depends entirely on the chemistry. Usually the background score aids in facilitating and enhancing the emotion.”

Regarding his favourite co-star and the best actors in the present drama circuit, Junaid takes a pause and replies, “I’ve worked with almost everyone and I have been blessed to have worked with such talented people. Saba Qamar is an outstanding performer and has the skill to fit into numerous characters with ease. I shared the screen with her in Yahan Piyar Nahin He and the project was highly appreciated by our audience. Sajal is a very intense actor and when I watched Mom I was highly impressed. Amongst male actors I think what Faisal Qureishi can bring to the screen, no one else can in Pakistan.”

His thoughts on the present Pakistani drama scene are very clear. “TV still dominates our film industry. But with time and experience the film Industry will grow to its rightful place,” he says.

Hitting the silver screen

“Any actor would want to be on the big screen but I believe right now the film industry is at its initial stages and television dominates the silver screen at the moment hands down. I have had various offers but wasn’t able to convince myself to be a part of those projects. I am still waiting for the right script and the right team to work with.“

The ramp act

“I have done quite a few shoots both here and abroad and its also fun. I also walked the ramp for various designers, so yeah, always up for modelling.”

The importance of social media

Junaid Khan is a strong proponent of social media. He clearly states, “It’s very important now. There were times when a star needed to be visible only on-screen and nowhere else but now if you don’t have a presence on social media then you are missing out on a huge chunk of the audience. Big stars make sure they are accessible and update their social pages regularly to be visible.”

A responsible artiste

“As artistes we have a responsibility. People look up to us, follow us and admire us. We, as artistes are role models. Our voice and opinions do affect others. I try to make a positive impression as an artiste with my behaviour off screen and with the choice of roles that I do on-screen. When we go abroad, we are representing our country. So, every step that we take depicts how we are as a nation. It’s a big responsibility and we should look after it.”

The future

Junaid plans to continue exploring himself as an artiste and then sky is the limit. “Who knows where I will be five years from now,” he concludes.