I want to change the perception that I can only do serious roles: Usman Mukhtar

The actor spoke about crossing over into filmmaking and comedy during a recent interview


Entertainment Desk August 14, 2021

As is apparent from Usman Mukhtar’s acting credits, the Anaa actor is very selective with his on-screen appearances and chooses to remain on the serious side of roles. Similar to his other brooding characters, Mukhtar stars as the male lead, alongside Mahira Khan and Kubra Khan in Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay. However, when questioned by Urdu News about whether the seriousness of his roles extends to his real life as well, the actor revealed that he isn’t as serious as he may seem. 

Mukhtar explained, “I am not as serious as I look. In fact, I have quite a lot of fun with my friends and family. When I am around people who are close to me and know me well, I am a very different person as compared to the characters I play on screen.” 

When it comes to genres, the Sabaat actor is not interested in being bound by a single one. After being asked whether he would be willing to switch over to comedy, Mukhtar explained that his lack of comedic roles isn’t the result of a lack of interest, but a lack of good opportunities. He shared, “Comedy series are not regularly made in Pakistan. You usually see comedy plays on Eid, but other than that it’s rare to see them on television.”

The actor explained that if given a good opportunity to play a comedic role, he would be happy to take it. “If I get the chance to play a role in a comedy, I will definitely accept the offer, and will do so with great enthusiasm.” On the woes of being typecast as the ‘serious’ hero, Mukhtar said, “I want to change the perception that I am an actor who only takes on serious roles.” 

Speaking about his role in Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay, Mukhtar shared that his character embodies the hardships of someone who returns to Pakistan after living abroad for most of their life. “My role is that of a boy who went abroad at an early age. He studied and worked there while his entire family remained in Pakistan. What kind of family issues does he face when he comes back home? That is something I feel you will enjoy seeing.” 

On why he chose this particular project, Mukhtar explained that the script ticked several boxes for him. “ The fact that it’s written by Umera Ahmed and is directed by Farooq Rind, as well as the fact that it has a stellar cast, starring Huma Nawab, Kubra Khan and Mahira Khan was why I went for the role. It was a very supportive team.” The actor revealed that the mysterious and dramatic storyline will be sure to keep audiences hooked. 

Mukhtar ventured into the world of direction with his critically-acclaimed short film Bench. The film won the Best Short Film award at the South Short Film Festival held in New York last year. Another film by Mukhtar is set to release soon. 

On filmmaking in Pakistan, he shared that the industry suffers from a lack of technological advancements.  “Our technical department has not developed that far. We have cinematographers, but not enough who understand the medium of film completely. That’s why the feel of television series ends up crossing over into films as well.  Our film industry was just beginning to recover when corona arrived at the scene. But, of course, everything will be alright.” 

Mukhtar, who has also done theatre, believes it has a lot to teach young actors. “Theatre is like an academy where there is just so much to learn. On the one hand, it teaches an artist how to be more disciplined, and on the other, it teaches the artist so much about professionalism. You end up learning a lot about what acting is actually about.”

On his decision to pursue acting, Mukhtar shared, “In 2012, I got an offer to work on TV for the first time. Faysal Quraishi was also in the play, but I ended up refusing the role at the time because I wanted to find work as a director. Then, in 2017, I got the offer for a role in Anaa, and that’s when my acting career took off.”

Speaking about his recent viral posts, in which the actor accused a fellow artist of harassment, Mukhtar explained that he does not wish to elaborate on the topic. “I don’t want to say anything right now because the matter is going to court,” he revealed. Mukhtar took to his Instagram late last month to allege he had been a victim of ‘harassment’, at the hands of a colleague for over a year.

Recollecting his experience, Mukhtar claimed that the spat initiated after he worked on this colleague’s music video as a director, but due to creative differences, he didn't end up taking credit for the job, which eventually led to the said, ‘harassment’. Mukhtar also mentioned he has substantial proof to back up his claims.

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