Whether its theatre performances or his stint in front of a camera, Karachi-based actor Gohar Rasheed knows how to leave a lasting impression on his audience. His debut in Bodhicitta Works’ Lamha (Seedlings) as Anil Kumar earned him international recognition and proved his acting prowess.
“I love films. I love being on film sets. I love acting in films. I love each and everything about films,” he says passionately. “This new wave of reviving the Pakistani film industry is turning into a storm — it will set a new benchmark for generations to come.”
Rasheed’s journey as an actor has been about taking chances and risks. After graduating from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, he decided to give up the option of joining the family business and moved to Karachi where he dove into acting. The first job he bagged was that of a line producer at Hum TV. Shortly after, he scored prominent roles in two of theatre director Shah Sharabeel’s plays Moulin Rouge (where he played Duke) and Bombay Dreams (where he played Akash).
He then met veteran actor and producer Humayun Saeed who offered him a job at his production house Six Sigma Entertainment. “Saeed said to me, ‘I have seen your theatre performances and you are good at what you do. You have a gift. Don’t waste it — explore and refine it. Follow your heart’,” continues Rasheed. “I think that was when I decided to become an actor and I am glad that I did.”
Rasheed’s next role is in the film Main Hoon Shahid Afridi as Kaali Aandhi, a fast bowler for the team Sialkot Shaheen. “Kaali Aandhi is a fun-loving, carefree and witty person. But when he grabs the ball for his team, he means business,” says Rasheed. “For the first time, I am playing the character of a fast bowler, which requires intense training, working out sessions and rehearsals.” He admits that a role like this has been on his to-do list and can finally be ticked off.
The actor clarifies that he is very particular about his roles; he has stayed away from television and retains his focus on theatre and cinema. He will soon be seen as General Ziaul Haq in Sawa 14 August, the follow-up of the Anwar Maqsood play Pawnay 14 August.
“I am the kind of person who likes to learn the hard way. I have done bad work and because of those experiences, I have learnt a lot,” continues Rasheed. “I am extremely picky when it comes to associating myself to any project now, because at the end of the day, it’s my decision and I am responsible for it.”
Rasheed has also stepped into the role of a producer for the film Kambakht that is being directed by Hamza Ali Abbasi. “We took our time in the pre-production [stage] and in gathering the team because we didn’t have any big production house to back us,” says Rasheed. “So the only criterion was to be as crazy as we both are and we managed to bring together the seven most amazingly talented people.” The film is expected to release in early in 2014.
The young actor is certain that times are changing and favouring the film industry. “The best part is that we are hopeful — we are making films and releasing them and we have a market. And if not [a large enough], we will make our own market,” he says, clearly optimistic about the current picture of Pakistani cinema. “The industry is being revived from scratch, so everything is very unpredictable right now as there are no set rules — that’s the scary part for a producer.”
The actor is also starring in an untitled feature film directed by Summer Nicks and produced by Zeba Bakhtiar, Jami Mahmood and Azaan Sami Khan.
The Mansoor Mujahid murder case
Speaking about the current controversy regarding Mansoor Mujahid, director of Seedlings who has confessed to murdering an acquaintance in Karachi, Rasheed says, “I have a very professional relationship with him; he [Mujahid] is a creative director who is good at his work.” He admits that the two do not have any ties outside of work and did not ‘hang out’ in their free time. “It [the murder] came as a big shock. It was actually quite terrifying to hear this since we have worked closely with him.” According to Rasheed, producer Meher Jaffri is expected to issue an official statement on behalf of the film’s cast. “It’s unfortunate… this will only give a bad name to Seedlings.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 01st, 2013.