The longer I’m away from the screen, the more I miss it: Ali Rehman Khan

Published: February 5, 2017
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Ali Rehman Khan. PHOTO: FILE

Ali Rehman Khan. PHOTO: FILE

RAWALPINDI: Ali Rehman Khan became a household name with the hit serial, Diyar-e-Dil where he essayed the role of a genial and solicitous Suhaib alongside Hareem Farooq, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Sanam Saeed, Osman Khalid Butt and Maya Ali. However, Khan’s leap into the entertainment industry was not only his television projects, but mainly his stints in Islamabad-based theatre plays, which helped him come out of his bubble and polish his skill before entering mainstream showbiz.

What truly made him a force to reckon with was his 2016 movie, Janaan, opposite Armeena Khan and Bilal Ashraf that received widespread commercial and critical acclaim. It brought him to the fore, after having worked in two unreleased indie-films, Hammad Khan’s Slackistan, which was banned in Pakistan but was played at several international film festivals and Gol Chakkar by Shahbaz Shigri-Aisha Linnea. Speaking to The Express Tribune about what 2017 has in store him, the actor discussed his penchant for acting and return to Pakistan after spending over three years in Vienna, Austria.

Ali Rehman Khan is the only saving grace of Janaan

“There’s no force on Earth that can stop me from acting and if Janaan has done anything, it’s given me more encouragement to be in front of the screen,” he said, as we started off with the baggage that he carries after the success of his film. “As an actor, it’s the best feeling to know that the people were convinced with your performance and to know that your film’s done well. The longer I’m away from the screen, the more I miss it, so getting back to it is only a natural reflex.”

Hence, it didn’t take Khan long to sign his next, with the same production house and core team of Janaan; IRK Films’ Parchi directed by Azfar Jafri. Describing the film as “jam-packed entertainment and fast-paced where people won’t have the time to think twice” Parchi narrates the story of four men who find themselves in deep trouble and seek for help from a powerful and influential woman that will be portrayed by Hareem Farooq.

Parchi is a labour of love and that’s why I can’t wait to start shooting for it. I always knew a few aspects of the script, but it wasn’t until I was offered the part, when I read it completely. It’s very different from whatever I’ve done previously. I just hope that people enjoy me donning this new avatar,” Khan stated.

However, this time around he shares the screen with three other leading men, one of which will be essayed by his Janaan co-star, Usman Mukhtar. According to him, “Screen-time is never a concern. I love the team and I love the script. I’ve done a lot of theatre with so many people who’re a part of the film and I know them for quite a while now, so for me it’s a matter of joy and happiness. I’m ecstatic to be able to work with my friends and as I said, I can’t wait to begin shooting.”

Janaan seeks positive global spotlight for Pakistan

More than anything at all, Khan seems to be eager to collaborate with Hareem yet again after more than a year. “Hareem is a fine actor and I’m in awe of her work. She’s a powerhouse of talent and doesn’t give me a sugar-coated version of criticism. We had a blast shooting Diyar-e-Dil and it’s very special for me to have her on board again,” he added.

Despite having generated a plethora of fan following on his social media handles, Khan still wishes to chase his dream, and surprisingly, it goes beyond acting and art.  “Another passion of mine is migration. I’ve been in Vienna for the past three years working for an international organisation which helps governments better manage their migration management issues, creates regional dialogue, focuses on research, and develops capacities of governments on migration issues,” he disclosed.

However, luckily Ali has decided to move back to Pakistan this year and dive fully into the world of acting. Apart from Parchi, that is slated to begin its first spell of shooting this spring, the actor has already shot for a small part in the epic war film, Yalghaar by Dr. Hassan Waqas Rana, featuring an ensemble star cast of Shaan Shahid, Sana Bucha, Humayun Saeed, Ayesha Omar, Adnan Siddiqui amongst others.

While nothing is concrete as yet, Ali is also rumoured to be starring opposite the most popular Pakistani actress of the current generation, Mahira Khan in Azaan Sami Khan’s directional debut after co-producing the 2015 spy-thriller, Operation 21 with his mother and veteran actor, Zeba Bakhtiar. Here’s hoping that we see more of Ali Rehman Khan outdoing himself with his terrific forthcoming performances in 2017 and in the years to come.

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