At just 27 years of age, Sheheryar Munawar Siddiqui has already achieved what many entrants in the entertainment industry dream of achieving. From his days as Osama in the acclaimed drama serial Zindagi Gulzar Hai, to both acting in and producing one of last year’s biggest hits, Ho Mann Jahaan, Sheheryar has undoubtedly come a long way. Up next, the Pakistani heartthrob will be taking on a brand new avatar — an action hero in the upcoming film Project Ghazi.
“It’s an action film so there is a whole lot of martial arts and weapon firing training involved. The role is going to be very, very different from the ones I have done so far,” he told The Express Tribune. “This will be my take on the character and I will do most of the stunts myself,” he added. Although the release date for Project Ghazi has yet to be announced, shooting for the film commences later this month, as indicated by Sheheryar.
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Other than this, the actor refused to divulge further details and instead, digressed to talking about previous films. Naturally, his stint as producer for Ho Mann Jahaan came up when he was asked if it was too early for him to take on that particular responsibility. Sheheryar defended himself by saying, “I don’t think it was too early — the movie did great business on the box office,” he responded. “The most recurring comment that came my way was that Ho Mann Jahaan was a nice, clean and wholesome family film. All the reviews — even the critical ones — said the actors acted really well and it had been shot beautifully. It was visually appealing and I am very happy about that.”
The film in itself may have achieved unprecedented success but Sheheryar’s character therein — the troubled college graduate Arhan — went unappreciated by some who deemed it too negative. The talented star, rejected such claims, saying, “I have yet to meet anyone who didn’t like it! I opted for this role myself and knew what I was doing. It was a layered character and I had to experiment with it.”
In the film, Arhan is shown as someone who is clever and selfish at times but also a great friend and loving person. According to Sheheryar, the multiple aspects of Arhan’s personality were what piqued his interest. “It was a big task to take upon myself. I was driven by my character and it really made a better actor out of me, rather than a hero.”
For Sheheryar, it is crucial that any character he portrays is relatable to real people in real life. He also makes it a point to focus on one project at a time only. In fact, the success of Ho Mann Jahaan saw a Bollywood offer come his way but the perfectionist within Sheheryar turned it down, thinking he would not be able to give it his best. “I thought I won’t be able to do justice to the project although the ingredients were all right,” he revealed. “The role just did not seem right to me. Whatever clicks, clicks to me directly.”
In the meantime, Sheheryar is firmly focused on cementing his position in the Pakistani entertainment industry, both behind and in front of the camera. He likened his work on both sides of the device to a child having to choose the better parent. “If you ask little kids who they like more, mom or dad, they will not be able to choose. Just like that, I find being behind the camera very exciting,” he shared. “Having said that, there is a different kind of high you get while acting. Sometimes, you just want to be someone else.”
So could a burgeoning film career be the end of Sheheryar’s life on the small screen? The Tanhaiyan Naye Silsilay star denied it. “Nothing very interesting has come my way in some time but you send me a great script and I will do it right away,” he confessed. “It’s always the same character with different names in different plays. It gets very depressing for actors to play the same roles. I am more interested in essaying a role from a good script — I’d jump at that idea alone.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.
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