Mikaal Zulfiqar. PHOTO: photonews.com

Getting to know the handsome and talented Mikaal Zulfiqar

It's a project I'm doing with ISPR called The Trial. It is a love story based in 1971 when East Pakistan was separated

Haider Rifaat August 28, 2017
I recently interviewed model turned actor Mikaal Zulfiqar and discussed his early life, career and upcoming projects. Believe it when I say, you do not want to miss this interview.

H: How did you start off as an actor?

M: Initially, I began my career as a model and gradually transitioned into an actor. I started modelling for commercials and videos which were relevant to acting. Later, I received a few offers for television and eventually moved on to films. I believe acting happened to me rather than me happening to acting. So along the way, I self-educated myself on how to act and I hope I have finally learned (laughs).

H: Do you think competition exists in Pakistan’s entertainment industry?

M: Yes, it does and obviously so. That said, competition is always healthy and makes you want to excel and do better. There are many talented people in Pakistan who have not only proved themselves here but in different parts of the world as well. So, it is something to be proud of. All in all, competition should always be taken positively.

H: We are yet to see you in a new movie. Any film(s) you are working on currently?

M: Well, you are yet to see me in a Pakistan movie. I have done three or four Bollywood films before and a couple festival films here in Pakistan. However, a feature film is yet to be released in cinemas nationwide.

There are two projects I am currently working on. The first film is titled Na Baaja Na Baraati, which is a comedy shot in Canada. It revolves around two brothers who want to escape marriage but end up getting married under odd circumstances. The movie is shot with new people and has a unique spin to it which I am excited about. It was supposed to come out this year but we are planning an ideal release date for the movie.

I have been shooting for another film in Lahore recently. I am not allowed to speak about it much but I will say that it is a project we are doing with the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The movie has a tentative English title, The Trial. It is a love story which takes place in 1971 when East and West Pakistan were separated, and that is all I would say about the film. I play a heroic young leader in the movie so I am very excited for it to come out.

We are about 70-80% done with the project so it will most likely be out by the end of this year. If not, it will release in the beginning of 2018. Films aside, there are a couple other projects I am working on as well.

H: What is your dream television/film role?

M: I have answered this question many times so people might get bored at this point. I would love to play James Bond, just because he is James Bond, an action hero with a lot of style and charisma. I suppose the English side of me wants me to be Bond (laughs), so I would love to play that character.

H: Acting or modelling? The most challenging and why?

I would say, acting. The reason why I say that is because speech is an integral part of acting and speaking a dialogue is more challenging than posing for the camera or trying to look good. Although, creative art and posing are some things you either have in you or you gradually pick up on with time.

In modelling, you try to personify yourself in being the best while in acting you have to play a character that can have any trait and not necessarily look his or her best. So they are both different forms altogether. I like both but I would give acting more credit than modelling, maybe a 70:30 ratio, so to say. I enjoy acting as it is more challenging and look forward to something new and different each time.

H: If you were not an actor, which career would you have possibly chosen for yourself?

M: I would have probably been working at a multinational firm or corporate sector. Maybe a business too if it catered to my interest.

H: What would you like to see different in Pakistani dramas?

M: I would like the stories of our dramas to evolve and be able to talk about things that go beyond household issues. I think we should cover different topics and engage other people as well. I would also like for us to think outside the box. I am not saying that what we have currently should change entirely. It will stay there; however, we need to start experimenting more.

H: Do you think Pakistani dramas perpetuate stereotypes instead of suppressing them?

M: Yes, to some extent they do perpetuate stereotypes. It is a drama after all and certain characters need to be created for the audience to love or hate him/her. I believe stereotypes are used to highlight or solve certain issues. Sometimes more thought and sensitivity can be given to the approach of executing any kind of situation. I don’t think people do it deliberately though. I feel there is a positive meaning behind that as well.

H: Who would you like to work with in the future, be it Hollywood, Bollywood or Lollywood?

M: I’d like to work with all the greats in the industry and whoever is hardworking. I had the pleasure of acting with many big names in films and television in and outside Pakistan. I think everyone is a master of their own craft. So, it would be nice to work in any of these three industries and showcase my capabilities as an actor. It is always great to work alongside talented people. I can’t take specific names though.

H: Any advice for youngsters and aspiring actors?

M: My advice to aspiring actors would be to give your 100% to any opportunity you get. No role is big or small; it is what you make of it. The young lot should also work on their skills and observe as much as they can. They should watch how other actors emote feelings and give expressions.

The last bit of advice for aspiring actors would be to not get upset if they don’t get a role. Usually, 10 things are offered to you and only one of them materialises. That is how this business works. One should never feel disappointed and always work hard. The right opportunities await all of us and we need to make the most out of them.

His hardworking and humble nature is admirable and it was truly an honour interviewing him.
Haider Rifaat

Haider Rifaat is an actor, talk show host and writer for the international publications South China Morning Post and the Paris-based magazine Arabian Moda. He is also a writer for OK! Pakistan, Good Times magazine and Daily Times. He currently hosts Pakistan's first web talk show on YouTube - The Haider Rifaat Show and will make his feature film debut in Purzay - a film about human trafficking. He can be reached at [email protected] and tweets @HaiderRifaat

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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