Pakistani Showbiz

Bigger than the small screen

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KARACHI: After 15 years of hard work, Ahsan Khan appears to have finally carved himself a niche in the local entertainment industry. For those who do not know, his acting career began way back in 2000, when he lent his talents to the Lollywood hit Nikah and PTV drama serialHans Ki Chaal simultaneously — a feat Ahsan is extremely proud of. “During those days, Lollywood existed within Pakistan only, with films boasting of an 80’s feel,” says Ahsan when asked why he opted for films roles over TV serials. “I did both genres together. I did five films back then, including Ghar Kab Aao Ge, but realised they offered a small acting margin.” It was around the same time thatPTV reached its peak, with writers such as Ashfaq Ahmed and Bano Qureshi contributing their best works to the industry. “I thought I could prove my acting skills on TV too. There were fewer choices back then so I wanted to try different projects until I realised I should channel my energies in one direction to bring something good to the screen,” he admits.

This realisation prompted Ahsan to adopt television as his beat, although the transition from the big to small screen proved rather difficult. “There were no good scripts for films. TV can help satisfy one’s appetite for good roles, with a greater scope for growth. But things are now changing fast and I am involved with films once again.”

Ahsan’s return to the big screen could not have been timed more perfectly, seeing as how the Pakistani film industry has revived itself over the past couple of years. “Filmmaking has become international here and grown from the old, 80’s vibes it had previously,” he says. According to Ahsan, the industry has traces of Hollywood more than Bollywood as the latter is either too realistic or too fantastical in its storytelling. “Pakistani actors are not just lucky but also trained in theatre and TV with a natural flare for dialogue-delivery. Thanks to local television, the era of Star Plus has ended; our original serials are what people want and enjoy.”

Ever the people’s person, this Pakistani heartthrob believes that his fans are assets, thanks to whom, he feels stronger every day. “They treat me like a family member,” says Ahsan. “It is amazing how people can connect with each other. TV has its own strengths too. But I take my work very seriously as each character must show depth.” Fortunately for Ahsan, every role he has undertaken has received great adulation from his loyal fan base, be it a romantic hero or the villain. He also attributes his success to his talented co-stars, Saba Qamar, Mahira Khan and Ayesha Khan in particular, claiming that, “If you are working with good actors, your work gets enhanced even further. Saba is very punctual, Mahira is extremely eager to learn and Ayesha can develop a great chemistry with every actor on set.”

Happily married with three children (Sukaina, Mohammad and Shahzain), Ahsan has his hands full with future projects. He is currently involved with a drama serial to be directed by Sakina Samo, along with a TV project and film that Ahsan is producing. On top of this, he is gearing up for a Ramazan transmission as well. “My shows will convey a social message by an average Pakistani with a heart. This is my service to my nation.”

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