Fahad Mustafa talks film industry, move away from dramas

Fahad Mustafa, who is all set to make his big-screen comeback opposite superstar Mahira Khan in Quaid e Azam Zindabad, recently sat down for an interview with Naumaan Ijaz on his talkshow G Sarkar. The popular TV host and actor spoke about his move away from dramas, as well as his thoughts on the current state of the industry.

Speaking about his shift from being a drama serial regular to hosting, an endeavour in which the actor has found massive success through shows such as Jeeto Pakistan, Fahad shared, “I felt like I had done too many dramas and I was tired. I was sitting down with Momina Durraid one day and I told her I wanted something that provides me with a monthly income.”

He continued, “I didn’t want to act every day. I didn’t want to wake up and go to a drama set every day. I had memorised my moves at that point. I was doing three dramas in the same location with the same bedroom. Even the bedsheet would remain the same. So, I started doing the morning show.”

On finding his calling in hosting, Fahad added, “People berated me for that. But, that’s what made me. It taught me discipline and the value of money. If you have money you start saying no to people, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Speaking about his father, veteran TV actor Salahuddin Tunio, Fahad shared, “There’s a reason behind [not wanting to act every day]. When my father used to act, he’d be offered two dramas in a year, and he would work very hard for them… There was only one channel and they had to prove a point to ensure the director would cast them again.” 

Elaborating on actors’ reluctance to play supporting characters, the Load Wedding actor explained, “Actors these days don’t want to hear the script or find out what the background is. It’s all about wardrobe and money. So, that’s what has changed. Acting isn’t what it used to be.”

He continued, “We have no backup. As a producer, I think about that. Actors never showed up. We have a lot of people but not enough actors to play supporting characters. If there is no support, how can there be a main character?” 

Expanding on the differences between his father’s time and the current state of the industry, Fahad said, “Everybody wants to be the centre of attention all the time and they can’t be. My father was a supporting actor and he has a Pride of Performance. He has won so many awards as a supporting actor. He never played the lead and he was happy with it… Try to tell someone on set today that they are supporting actors. It’s a sin.”

However, the actor believes there’s more than just ego behind the lack of willingness to take on varying roles. He explained, “I think the ego is too huge now. And another thing that was the case in our time, even though it’s still our time, is that there was no judgement. It worries actors a lot. You utter a sentence and a review shows up the next day. When did you have reviews written about your performance before? If it was good or bad, it was okay. The bad would fade away and the good would be remembered.” 

When asked about his thoughts on the film industry in the country, he reflected, “I think we were growing rapidly until 2019. You know what they say about businesses that take off too soon. Things eventually start going bad. I think nazar lag gayee. Covid happened and the political situation has hit us really badly, with Indian films being taken back. Believe it or not, the TV industry has a very deep bond with the audience. The film industry does not.”

On the need for local filmmakers to do better, he added, “If I ask you to name five films, you won’t remember them. If I ask you for [film] songs, even the singers sitting here with us will not remember. That means we haven’t delivered anything substantial, and accepting that is good so that we can move forward. We need to make 70 to 80 films a year. 10 to 15 of those should be the sort that we can own. From the rest, one filmmaker will be filtered out each year who’ll strive to do better next time.” 

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