Pakistan mein aaj kal ek hi shakhs ka tehelka macha hua hai, aur woh hai-Ahad Raza Mir. With his cool persona and charming smile, Ahad gave FUCHSIA a glimpse into his busy life, why he came back to Pakistan and his love and passion for the industry and its future.
Here are some of the things we asked and his candid and generous responses.
FUCHSIA: Ahad, we know you’ve been asked this question time and again but we really feel like something’s missing. Why did you come back to Pakistan after being in Canada for close to a decade?
ARM: Like you said, I was there for a very long time. Maine apni parhai bhi wahaan ki. Uske baad, professionally bhi kaam kiya – I wrote my own shows and I was quite active in the community over there. Lekin, as much as I’m sorry to say this, wahaan main Desi tha. Although I was very lucky keh skin colour ki wajha se I was cast as everything under the sun like Latinos, Italians, jo bhi. It was fantastic. But Canada had this diversity banner keh agar show mein 8 log hain toh 4 gore, 4 baaqi rang ke log. Skin colour was an advantage but also a disadvantage because it can feel like ‘chalo usko role dedo’. I’m not putting the industry down, I miss it and I loved it but I didn’t feel equal there. I felt equal here, in Pakistan. Main ek Pakistani hoon aur Pakistaniyon ke liye show bana raha hoon. At least I have recognition within my own country. Yahaan aakar I felt like the work has some importance and has impact.
FUCHSIA: You’ve been a part of our Pakistani industry for 7 months, now. What do you think about our film industry?
ARM: My take is a little aggressive but I think there was a time, hum sab kehte thay Pakistani films ko support karna hai lekin ab woh time hai where we need to give audience quality entertainment. Audiences should go to the cinema because they want to watch the film and shouldn’t have to justify in their minds keh Pakistani film dekhne jaana hai. We have such great examples like Bollywood and Hollywood but we are not making films of our caliber.
FUCHSIA: What are we lacking and how can we prosper?
ARM: We need to take the art of film-making seriously. I think the one thing we really lack is story. Take Dangal for example. Dangal mein ek wrestler apni beti ko wrestling sikha raha tha and it was a hit. Why? Kyunke unhon ne apni story par focus kiya. And I think we need to also stop copying Bollywood. What is the face of Pakistani cinema? We don’t even know that. We cannot do Bollywood the way Bollywood does Bollywood. We need to focus on Pakistan and what the face of Pakistani films will be. There is only hope, and I hope I don’t offend anyone by saying this, but there is only hope if we let the new generation step in with new scripts, new ideas and new thinking. That’s the only way we will step forward. My views are critical but I think I’m allowed because I’m a part of this industry.
FUCHSIA: You’re the son of the legendary Asif Raza Mir. Have you ever felt any pressure being his son in the same industry?
ARM: Of course there’s pressure and there’s a tremendous amount at that. But I feel it’s good, because it keeps me working harder. If the pressure was not there and if I were okay with mediocre work, I could just keep doing what I’m doing but, because Asif Raza Mir is my father, I don’t want people to think ‘Acha, beta aagaya’. I want people to say ‘Yaar, uska beta aagaya aur ussne bhi acha kaam kiya.’ I want people to be proud. I want my father to be proud. And because of this pressure, I’m working 10 times harder. I want to feel as though I’m the hardest working person in the room.
FUCHSIA: How do you ensure that?
ARM: I put everything into my work. I don’t want people to think that I’m in this business simply because my father was in this business. If it was that way, main A&B* ka production karleta. Mujhe kya parhai karni thi? But no. I went and I got my BFA** in Canada. I worked 2-3 years professionally. I did a few shows–I directed, I acted, aur phir main waapis aaya. I don’t treat this as a joke. This business is a profession and I came back ready. I didn’t want to come back and say ‘Baba, mujhe kaam dedein’. No, I went to MD***, I said to Momina I want to give an audition and go through the drill. I didn’t get any special treatment on the set. Not trying to toot my own horn here but where I am now, is yes, because Momina took a very big risk on this boy coming from Canada but also because, meri jo work ethic hai jo maine Canada se seekhi hai, woh main yahaan apply kar raha hoon. Toh, I think that’s the reason people are seeing the work and enjoying it, I hope.
FUCHSIA: Tell us a little bit about Ahad, the actor.
ARM: I love acting, I’m not in it for all the ‘other stuff’ and having to deal with it is actually the hard part. I’m actually really simple. Main zyaada bahir nahi jata hoon, main shoot se ghar aata hoon, main baith ke Ami Aba ke saath TV dekhta hoon. I feel like I need to learn how to manage the ‘other stuff’ though. Like this lady came up to me for an autograph once–it was my first autograph, and I had no idea what to write! She’s looking at me, I’m looking at her, and I just write ‘Best Wishes’ (laughs). I’ve got to learn how to deal with these things, its weird!
FUCHSIA: If you could pick one of your father’s co-stars to work with, who would it be?
ARM: Babra Sharif. I still remember to this day, I was 12, and I was watching Miss Hong Kong. It was this awesome, super-cool film! Babra Shareef was kicking so much butt, fighting guys and kicking them till the mountains. I just found this woman so cool, and she still looks the same now as she did 20 years ago! It would be amazing sharing the screen with her.
FUCHSIA: What’s one thing you’ve taken away from your work?
ARM: As a principle, we should never be satisfied. The more satisfied we are with our work the less harder we’ll start working.
Ahad came across as an actor with a strong work ethic, who is focused at producing good work in this industry. He left us completely in awe of his persona yet equally charmed by his easy-going mannerisms. It seems as though he is yet, untainted by stardom. 5 years later, when FUCHSIA meets up with him again, we’re sure we’ll be met by a self-assured and successful superstar. But we hope to still meet the young man who felt weird giving autographs and enjoyed staying at home to watch TV with Ami and Aba.
What does the future hold for this up-and-coming Pakistani actor? We think–nothing short of spectacular work! Go on Ahad, and make us proud! We’re looking forward to his debut appearance on the big screen–Parwaz Hai Junoon, at the end of this year and we’ll be back to give you the inside scoop on that one! Aaj ke liye, we hope you enjoyed the super-cool, honest answers from this very hot Pakistani celebrity! Ahad Raza Mir–What’s in a name, they say? Well, he’s out to show us exactly what that means!
*A&B –Asif Raza Mir and Babar Javed Production House, **BFA – Bachelor of Fine Arts, ***MD – Momina Duraid Productions