ISLAMABAD: The multifaceted compere-turned-actor, Azfar Rehman is on top of his game. After positively establishing himself as the likeable boy-next-door on the small screen, he’s come to a point where he’s no longer bothered about how he’s presented.
Recently seen playing the character of Parvaiz, who indulges in black magic to get the love of his life, Azfar was convincing and how with the chartbusting serial Nazr-e-Bad. In conversation with The Express Tribune, the Tumhari Natasha-famed actor opens up about his transition and switch to negative roles and loathing characters.
“I just did Nazr-e-Bad and I truly believe it was the best thing that happened to me. Even my ongoing serial with Sohai Ali Abro, Aadhi Gawahi sees me play a very negative character,” he shares with pride. “I’ve literally been craving for good scripts. I’ve had enough of the lover boy and the hero; I feel it doesn’t have much to offer. So now, I really wanted to work on performance-oriented projects, I wanted to see how that goes and I am enjoying myself now more than ever.”
And even though he says he extensively researched for his character in Nazr-e-Bad, he doesn’t believe in the Stanislavsky school-of-thought. “I was often told not to work on such negative characters, but they managed to challenge me. Like I said, I’ve played the chocolate hero, foreign-return way too many times. What I am doing now is a departure from everything I’ve done, it’s a complete shift,” he says.
“I’ve become more conscious, but I feel there’s no method to acting. You’re naturally born with it, it’s not something you can acquire; I don’t believe in that strategy.”
After making his cinematic debut with Sarmad Khoosat’s critically acclaimed Manto alongside Mahira Khan, Azfar says he’s content with following the path taken when it comes to films, which are the commercially viable features, while he plans to continue experimenting on television.
“Anything done for the big screen is a lot more challenging, it takes time to be accepted and comical love-stories are doing well, and I don’t mind following that street,” he confesses. “Films like Wrong No and Lahore Se Aagey have done well. That genre has been running successfully, so to satisfy the actor in me, I know I always have television. Cinema has the power of creating icons, we don’t yet have that perfect action hero or a villain, and we’re working towards that for now.”
Essaying the character of Mehwish Hayat’s beau on-screen in the highly anticipated Eid release, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, the film will mark Azfar’s second cinematic appearance. Starring Humayun Saeed and Urwa Hocane, alongside Hayat as its lead love-triangle, Punjab Nahi Jaungi is an eminent entertainer by the makers of Pakistan’s highest grossing film to date. While not many actors would opt for a supporting character, to Azfar, screen-space and time wasn’t a concern considering what all the film offered in terms of its “dream team.”
“I think was a huge opportunity for me being a part of such an ensemble star cast. I mean it cannot get bigger than Mehwish and Humayun,” he emphasises. “Also the director, Nadeem Baig is extremely talented. Whatever he’s made has become a hit and he is truly one of my mentors. He got me into show business; he launched me in 2006 with a talk show. It was like coming a full circle.”
“I don’t have a lot of scenes, but it’s a pivotal character. There’s a song and just a handful of sequences, but it’s very entertaining. It has laughter and a lot of different emotions, so it’s a fun rollercoaster ride,” he says of what one may expect. “It was a treat to work with Mehwish. She made me very comfortable and gave me enough margins to perform and guided me on how one can look better and take it a notch further.”
In contrast, Azfar was earlier supposedly making his big screen foray with the film Jackpot, which now stars his contemporary peer, Noor Hassan. “I didn’t do Jackpot because I was not happy with all the date clashes that kept on occurring, but I’ve seen the teaser and they’ve shot it amazingly well. I was truly blown away. That said, they kept changing the female lead opposite me. I wanted to star with somebody more established, and Punjab Nahi Jaungi is exactly that.”
Apart from that, the actor has also signed onto his next untitled television outing with director Shakeel Khan of Choti Si Zindagi-fame. He returns as the host to a model-hunt show, for which he’ll be flying to Bangkok later this summer. Not only that, he is also slated to begin shooting for Fahim Burney’s cinematic directorial, tentatively called Love Bites. “It’s in the process of scripting, it has two female leads, so they’re casting currently,” Rehman revealed.
He wears the hat of almost everything that the industry has to offer with equal panache and skill. Hoping to win over his fans on both film and television, for Azfar, “Everybody is my target.”
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