DUBAI: Bilal Abbas Khan was born in Karachi on June 4, 1993. He studied at a military college in Murree until 2011 and then moved to Karachi to pursue a marketing programme. He always wanted to be an actor so he followed his passion – so much so that he shifted his classes to the evening and enrolled in a performing arts academy in the morning. He did his first television serial Saya e Deewar Bhi Nahin, in 2016.
Bilal’s other initial plays include Dumpukht and Rasm e Duniya. He also worked in a film called Thora Jee Le which failed miserably at the box office but his oozing talent didn’t go unnoticed. He is currently starring in a hit drama serial O Rangreza as Qasim, a soft-spoken, bashful admirer of a firecracker Sassi, essayed by Sajal Ali. The play has proven to be a big hit with the audiences.
Talking to The Express Tribune about how his journey in the industry has been so far, Bilal gives us a glimpse of his upcoming projects and aspirations.
ET: What was it like working with Sajal Aly?
Bilal Abbas Khan (BA): You know, it’s interesting; I heard that people loved Sajal and her work, and when I met her for the first time, I thought she was “just okay.” However, when I starting working with her, I realised that she has a very strong hold on her craft and is very supportive.
She’s a senior to me career-wise and has been working in the industry for eight years so I learn a great deal from her. She and Noman Ijaz actually taught me how to use my eyes while acting. It’s been amazing working with her.
ET: What kind of scripts are you looking for now that ‘O Rangreza’ is a hit?
BA: I have been getting quite a few scripts and I am still going through them. I think I want to do something dark and intense now. I don’t want to play the ‘hero’. I saw the trailer of Padmavati recently and Ranveer Singh’s avatar in it – I absolutely loved it.
I want to do something that is out of the box. Maybe a negative character which is something that is very different from my personality. That being said, there is no specific criteria because what I truly want to do is experiment and test my potential as an actor.
ET: Do you watch dramas? If so, do you have any favourites?
BA: I don’t watch a lot of dramas. The last one I watched was Mera Saeen because my mom watched it and I loved Noman Ijaz in it. Then I saw Zindagi Gulzaar Hai because everyone was talking about it so I binge-watched it in two days. It’s very difficult for me to wait an entire week for an episode. I honestly don’t know how people do that.
ET: Is there any director you would want to work with in the future?
BA: My favourite director is Kashif Nisar and I got to work with him in O Rangreza. I’m fortunate enough to be working on his next project as well. I would also love to work with Ehteshamuddin, Farooq Rind and Mehreen Jabbar. Mehreen’s work is phenomenal and has uniqueness to it.
BA: I don’t regret being a part of Thora Jee Le. It wasn’t a critical or a commercial success, but it was my first film. I owe up to my projects and treat them like my babies, whether they’re good or bad. On the other hand, I’m careful and more conscious about my scripts now. I do have a few offers in the pipeline, but I’m not sure if I will be accepting them. Our cinema is still establishing and we need a decade for sustainability. We also don’t have enough screens so I believe doing a film in such a market is quite risky.
ET: Are there any current projects you can talk about?
BA: Yes, I am currently doing a project that is written by Zafar Mairaj, where I am starring alongside Iqra Aziz and Shehzad Sheikh. It’s being directed by Ahmed Bhatti. There are a few other interesting projects lined up but the filming hasn’t begun.
ET: Would you ever want to venture into production?
BA: I like to live in the moment and enjoy what I am doing right now so maybe in the future. Although the one thing that I am sure of is that acting is my full-time job and I would never leave it.
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