Khalid Ahmad bags Best Actor Award at Harlem International Film Fest

The veteran actor was awarded for his performance in Sakina Samo's short film 'Waiting'

Asfa Sultan September 23, 2020
Khalid Ahmed (BCCL)

Recently veteran actor Sakina Samo made her directorial debut with Waiting (Intezaar), that revolved around the feelings and concept of 'longing for someone or something'.

Written by the celebrated writer Bee Gul, the film is co-produced by Azeem Mughal and stars Samina Ahmed, Khalid Ahmad, Kaif Ghaznavi, Raza Ali Abid, and Adnan Jaffar.

Intezaar was first teased in early February and billed for a March release; however, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, it had to be stalled. But before it could be premiered on a big screen in Pakistan, Samo’s short film made its way to an international screening at the Harlem Film Festival that was scheduled to take place from September 10 to September 13 in New York.

And now, ten days after the festival's denouement, news has surfaced that Ahmad, who's playing one of the leading roles in the film, has become the first Pakistani to receive a Harlem International Award for his performance.

As revealed by Samo on her Instagram, the lead actor won the Best Actor award for Waiting at the festival in New York and director Samo is “delighted for him.”


A post shared by Sakina Samo (@samosakina) on

“Khalid Ahmad sahab wins the Best Actor award for Waiting at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York. I am delighted for him. Congratulations Khalid Ahmed. It’s the first international award for a Pakistani actor. Correct me if I’m wrong,” she wrote.

The list of Harlem Award recipients for the various categories has also been updated on the Harlem website and Ahmad is certainly among the ones fortunate and talented enough to have nailed their part.

“Whenever I get the script I think about my character in every way possible way,” Ahmad told The Express Tribune. “I notice the character’s disposition; try to understand his backstory and most importantly – what the character wants. These are the basic mental exercises that one does and should do before playing any role,” he added. The TV director and producer went on to relay how he tries to "understand what position the character has in our society."

"So I work analytically, mentally and as that work proceeds at some stage, emotions also start playing a huge part,” he added.

Ahmad then apologised for not being able to divulge more information about his role in the film at the moment, but he did point out that it is brilliantly written – by Bee Gul, of course. “Good acting has a lot to do with a good script and I’m glad Bee Gul added the depth my character required with her words,” Ahmad said without hesitation.

Nevertheless, he reinstated how he is very pleased and honoured to have received the award, especially since it is the first in his career. “I’m happy beyond words, especially since I haven’t received a single award in Pakistan yet. This is quite encouraging and heartening.”

The actor commented on how he had never given much thought to receiving awards previously but when he bagged this one, he felt like his hard work had paid off – even if didn’t come from his own country.

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