I could've never imagined playing Umro Ayyar in a million years: Usman Mukhtar

Actor talks about upcoming offering, other tricks up his sleeve

Sajeer Shaikh April 17, 2024

Usman Mukhtar is on a roll. The actor, who has amassed a dedicated following after his many fan-favourite stints, is all set to star in the promising spectacle that is Umro Ayyar - A New Beginning. However, Usman has more than one trick up his sleeve, given that he will soon be seen helming and starring in more than just the mega silver screen offering, which, in itself is a milestone.

"I love directing, and I often take some time off to work on short films," the actor told The Express Tribune, when asked about his upcoming projects. "All I can tell you about this [upcoming] short is that it’s a beautiful script titled Toffee." The actor had previously teased fans with Jaffa, an upcoming drama series, on which he briefly shed light in an Instagram Q&A session. Adding on to the same, he revealed, "Jaffa will be out soon and all I can tell you about the drama is that it’s been written by Samira Fazal and directed by Danish Nawaz. I play an oncologist in it."

As Usman traverses forward, he does not hesitate to address the work that's been left behind as a contribution to his surmounting legacy. Addressing the never-ending line of questioning regarding his previous fan-favourite project, Usman shared, "The number of times I've been asked when Izza and Altamash are coming back since Anaa ended is overwhelming."

However, he was quick to admit that he had little to do with the project's return. "As an actor, giving fans what they want is not in my hands. There are so many factors that come into play. Is the writer willing to write season two? Will [the production house] produce it? Will all the actors return? So I direct this question to the production house," he quipped.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one can assert that Usman seems to be wholeheartedly fixated on his excitement for Umro Ayyar. Talking about the impact of such ambitious projects on the landscape of Pakistani cinema, Usman expressed, "I believe it will have a significant impact on the mindset of producers, giving courage to independent producers to create unique content and think outside the box. I hope directors and producers start to experiment more with the sci-fi and fantasy genres."

Providing context for his exhilaration, Usman dove into his love for such narratives. "People who know me, know that I’ve grown up reading comic books, going to comic cons, attending panels, and geeking out," he highlighted. "I remember the first big investment I made was buying the Action Comics #1 1988 reprint. I’ve geeked out on comics and superheroes for as long as I can remember, and it feels surreal to be playing Umro Ayyar. I could never have imagined that I would be a part of such an epic film."

Shedding light on what cemented his decision to sign on to the project, Usman opened up on Umro Ayyar's impact on his childhood. "What drew me towards the project was the project itself; I grew up reading Umro Ayyar," revealed the star. "When I was sent to boarding school, my mother would come on the weekends to meet me and take me to a bookstore on Mall Road. I would pick some Umro Ayyar books, and she used to read at least one of the books to me before she left."

Usman also made it a point to share his love for the team. "The most exciting part of working on Umro Ayyar was the cast," he voiced. "I got to work with some amazing actors like Faran Tahir, Sanam Saeed, Ali Kazmi, Manzar Sehbai, and Simi Raheal. It was fun and intimidating at the same time."

Sharing three major reasons for why his legions of fans and admirers, or general fans of cinema should watch the film on Eidul Azha, Usman remarked, "It’s the first live-action sci-fi, fantasy film from Pakistan. It is based on Umro Ayyar. This movie has already created history by being the first South Asian film presented at WonderCon." The star also added how playing Umro was "truly a dream come true." He declared, "Playing Umro Ayyar is an honour for me, honestly. I could have never imagined in a million years that I would be able to portray Umro Ayyar in my lifetime."

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