Fans of the superhero genre are definitely going to like ‘Umro Ayyar' : Usman Mukhtar

‘Umro Ayyar -- A New Beginning’ is Pakistan's first fantasy film starring Sanam Saeed and Mukhtar

Entertainment Desk July 13, 2023

Usman Mukhtar, who was last seen as an army captain in Sinf-e-Aahan, is gearing up for his big-screen comeback with a superhero avatar in Umro Ayyar – A New Beginning. As Pakistan's first fantasy film, Umro Ayyar, starring Mukhtar and Sanam Saeed in the lead roles, holds great anticipation among fans.

In conversation with Independent Urdu, the Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay actor opened up about the film, the future of local cinema, the hypocrisy of our nation on social media and the kind of roles he wishes to do in future.

The making of Umro Ayyar

When asked about the film, Mukhtar highlighted that Umro Ayyar – in which he plays the titular role – draws inspiration from the legendary tales of Dastaan-e-Ameer Hamza and Tilism-e-Hoshruba. "The roots of Umro Ayyar are technically based on the story of Dastaan-e-Ameer Hamza and Tilism-e-Hoshruba, but it's an original story on its own. It takes very less from other stories. It took us around three months to shoot, and the filming location became a village by the end. There were tents and all. We had a lot of fun shooting,” he said.

When asked about the Pakistani audience's reception to Umro Ayyar, Mukhtar was rather confident that his film would be a winner amongst fans of the superhero genre in the country. "I think Pakistani fans, especially those who enjoy the fantasy hero genre will enjoy this because when a superhero is from your region, you are generally more excited,” he shared.

The host further asked Mukhtar to share his opinion on a larger critique of local cinema where critics allege that most Pakistani films copy Bollywood and Hollywood formulas instead of delving into their own cultures.

“Instead of Pakistani culture, I think we rarely explore Pakistani stories. You do show weddings and songs, so there is culture, but we don’t find stories within our people. Our film industry needs to stop taking inspiration from our neighbouring country,” he asserted, emphasising the need for Pakistani cinema to delve into unique narratives that represent the country's rich diversity.

Mukhtar began his acting career with films and then started working on television but he believes an actor's role bypasses mediums.  "It doesn’t matter to me, and I think an actor shouldn’t differentiate between a small screen or a big screen. I enjoy the process, different characters, and good scripts. I don’t personally understand the hype of a medium." 

Challenges in Pakistani Dramas

Mukhtar, who is known for his witty Instagram reels and mimicry, has only ever done serious roles on screen. The reason for that is the scarcity of well-written comedic scripts. “There are fewer comedy dramas and comedy shows these days," he said.  "Earlier there used to be Fifty Fifty and Teen Bata Teen, but now we don't see good scripts. There are some in Ramazan only.”  The actor wishes to do a fun show but one with a 'good kind of comedy.'

Another chronic problem with Pakistani dramas, Usman feels, is poor character redemption. "The problem is with our screenwriting. Any negative, anti-hero or grey characters should have a detailed redemption arc and that can’t be pulled off in the last five minutes of the drama. We fail there. We have some dramas where the sympathies should not go with the supposedly negative characters, but the team makes the audience forcefully feel bad and pity them. That’s just irresponsible,” he opined. 

Earlier this month, Mukhtar’s close friend and former actor Naimal Khawar became the latest victim of trolling after social media users pointed out how “plastic” her face looks in a recent campaign. 

Addressing the issue of online trolling, the Anaa actor stated, "The irony is that we sit all day on social media talking about how important mental health is and then troll someone who did something with their own choice and will. She’s not harming you. If you, as an individual, do not agree with it, then don't do it. If you want to troll her, there’s no need for your mental health drama then.” He added that we, as a nation, need to cultivate a culture of respect and upliftment and not the opposite of it.

Upon co-stars who are the most fun on set, Mukhtar revealed his fondness for working with Kubra Khan and Shahzad Sheikh. "Kubra and I share a lot of the same things. We’re good friends, and she’s also a gamer and a good one at that. So, we get along quite well." He also expressed his desire to collaborate with actors Rahat Kazmi and Uzma Gilani in the future, showing his admiration for their talent and expertise. 

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