Alyy Khan dons new hat

British-Pakistani actor on why he has moved away from stereotypical roles with ‘Actor In Law’

Our Correspondent February 24, 2016
As a British-Pakistani, Alyy Khan has worked in various projects in Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood. PHOTO: FILE


Considering his penchant for poker-faced, ‘no nonsense’ characters on-screen, one would not have expected much else from Alyy Khan’s decision to join Actor In Law. However, it seems the actor is finally expanding his horizons and has traded his usual somber persona for a “caricature-esque” role in Nabeel Qureshi’s upcoming film.

Of course, Khan does not shy away from the fact that the new project is a departure from the roles his fan base is accustomed to seeing him take up. In fact, he is surprisingly brazen about it, revealing that the decision to do something different did not stem from a desire to experiment but a need to continue working.

“An idealistic way of looking at it would be that I want to find my own calling as an actor in a particular genre. Realistically, however, I have a family to provide for,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “For my family, I would be willing to do English, Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi or even Tamil roles, provided that they interest me and I am well compensated for my hard work,” he added.

From the makers of ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ comes ‘Actor in Law’

From the moustache Khan appears to be sporting for the character, it is not difficult to deduce he will be playing the antagonist. Although the sleek and slightly menacing appearance is evidence enough, the 47-year-old does not want to disclose the exact nature of his role. When asked about it, Khan responded with a somewhat calculated answer, noting that roles and characters are just a matter of perspectives. “Every film is going to have an antagonist and protagonist,” he explained.“So, if you are looking at it from that angle, then yes, I am playing the role of the former. But I won’t classify my character as a negative antagonist. He’s the ying to the protagonist’s yang.”

Prior to this, Khan has worked with the director-producer duo of Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza. Actor In Law simply marks their first feature film collaboration.

Interestingly, the duo won Khan over after the three worked on a television commercial together. “I first met them on the sets of Mah-e-Meer which they visited frequently to meet the cinematographer. Following that, we had a really fun time working on a commercial together and were really keen to continue our collaboration from that point,” shared the Indian Summer star.

For Khan, it was not Qureshi and Meerza’s previous projects that attracted him but their vision for the industry as a whole. “Nabeel [Qureshi] is a very impressive director who has managed to leave his imprint on Pakistani cinema in a very short period,” he claimed. “I believe he will only get better with time.”

While the storyline of Actor In Law is yet to be revealed, the movie has already generated much hype due to the casting of Bollywood veteran Om Puri. Although Khan may not have shared a lot of screen time with the Indian actor during filming, he did manage plenty of fruitful interactions otherwise. According to Khan, his biggest takeaway from the time he spent with “Om jee” has been the latter’s unique conviction and dedication to his work, regardless of the movie being Indian or international. “The hallmark of all great actors like Om jee is that they put in a lot of hard work into their craft. A film is something that remains immortal and such an approach to one’s work always rubs off onto their co-stars,” explained Khan.

The development of Actor In Law may be coming along smoothly but Khan’s debut Pakistani film Mah-e-Meer appears to be stuck in limbo. The Don 2 star reaffirmed that Mah-e-Meer’s post-production is nearing completion. “Mah-e-Meer looks brilliant and is a total curveball in comparison to Actor In Law,” he shared. “Both films will be great for Pakistani cinema in the long haul!”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th,  2016.

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