Bollywood embraces the new Khan

Published: July 22, 2014
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At the trailer launch, all eyes were anxiously waiting to catch a glimpse of the man who has made Indian girls swoon after Zindagi Gulzar Hai.

At the trailer launch, all eyes were anxiously waiting to catch a glimpse of the man who has made Indian girls swoon after Zindagi Gulzar Hai.

MUMBAI: 

Fawad Afzal Khan, one of the most sought after Pakistani singer-actor, has drawn criticism for his decision to enter Bollywood, but he is unperturbed and says art is something that travels across borders.

He is making his debut in Bollywood with Khoobsurat — a remake of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1980 hit of the same name, opposite Sonam Kapoor. But even before the film’s release, Fawad has earned a huge fan following, thanks to his show Zindagi Gulzar Hai, which was aired on Zindagi channel.

When asked about his reaction on the criticism, he said: “The people you are talking about are very few. There will be people who will criticise. They are entitled to their opinion. Even if someone from India goes to work there, someone or the other will make noise.”

“Art is something that travels across all borders. Art knows no culture and creed. As an actor, I would like to explore myself. I do feel bad, but I choose to ignore criticism. I think to pay attention to it is unnecessary,” he said.

Charming as ever, he wowed everyone when he sang the title song of his show Zindagi Gulzar Hai at the event.

Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, Khoobsurat has been produced by Sonam’s dad Anil Kapoor and sister Rhea under the banner of Anil Kapoor’s Film Company Pvt. Ltd. For Fawad, it’s an honour to collaborate with the Kapoors for his Bollywood debut.

“I think it’s a very big honour for me to work with the family. When I met these people, I found them very interesting. Most of all, the way I was treated and welcomed was very kind and warm,” he said. “So all in all, this has been a very interesting episode in my life. I had a lot of fun. There was a lot of love and warmth.”

Fawad praised Sonam for being “a very accommodating, very warm, and very welcoming person”.

“I took time for settling in the new environment, but the entire team, the production … everyone made sure to make me feel comfortable,” he said.

At the trailer launch, all eyes were anxiously waiting to catch a glimpse of Fawad, the man who has made Indian girls swoon after with Zindagi Gulzar Hai, reported businessofcinema.com. The show gained immense popularity and Fawad aka Zarun Junaid has become a heartthrob. During the press conference, the females seated threw almost all their questions at him and a very humble and visibly blushing Fawad just kept thanking people for all the love. While all this was on, Sonam kept interjecting by giving statements, “Didn’t I tell you girls here just love you!” or “He is so hot…and his Hindi is amazing.”

Fawad who will be essaying the role originally played by Rakesh Roshan thinks that his role in this film is very different from the original character. “I saw the original film as part of my homework. It is a timeless classic but our film is different. Rakesh Roshan played the role of a doctor and I play a Rajput prince, so it’s different in a way,” said Fawad.

Sonam, who has stepped into Rekha’s shoes for the Khoobsurat remake, says she is not even a patch on the senior actor who is still remembered for effortlessly playing the chirpy and carefree girl in the original film. “I don’t think I can do justice to anything Rekha has done,” said Sonam.

Set in Rajasthan, Khoobsurat is the story of Dr Mili Chakravarty (Sonam) — a middle class physiotherapist from Delhi. Mili is sent to Rajasthan to treat the paraplegic Shekhar Rathore, Raja of Sambalgarh. Over the course of her stay in the palace, Mili charms the Rathore family, especially young Yuvraj Singh Rathore (Fawad) — with her free spirit and funny antics. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2014.

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Reader Comments (44)

  • Fawwad
    Jul 22, 2014 - 11:11PM

    His URDU is amazing not Hindi! Pakistanis speak Urdu and it’s a very sweet and poetic language. Sadly, in Mumbai now people speak in a very weird way. People in Delhi speak better!

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  • Saadia Shaikh
    Jul 22, 2014 - 11:56PM

    ” art is something that travels across borders”, this gentlman is absolutly right, it seems his thoughts are very clear about his work and profession. I think we should support him and others who get chance to work beyond borders.

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  • Rudra
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:13AM

    @fawwad
    Urdu is a language developed and originated in Uttar Pradesh india. Delhi being close to that state so delhiets speak Hindi+Urdu+english mix there. As far as mumbai ,they speak Hindi+marathi mix language so the difference. It changes every part of the country as per geography.
    “His Urdu is amazing not Hindi!!!”
    In the movie he will be playing the role of Rajputs Rajasthani prince he will be speaking Hindi+Rajastani accent mix language not Urdu. So she mentioned his Hindi is amazing.

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  • jun
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:13AM

    this guy has potential , smart and good lookingRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jul 23, 2014 - 2:58AM

    @Fawwad:
    Yes Urdu is a sweet and poetic language. Mumbai Hindi is harsh and weird. Same goes for Tamil in Chennai. Sri Lanka speaks much better and sweeter Tamil. Many states in India have corrupted the language beyond recognition. Mumbai and Tamil Nadu stand at the forefront on this. Bengali and Malayalam have retained their flavor.

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  • Petrolhead
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:51AM

    Too much photoshop has turned him into an alien looking man.

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  • PrasadDeccani
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:49AM

    @Petrolhead: Agreed. Is it a big dimple or dent on his left cheek? :-)

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  • Bharat
    Jul 23, 2014 - 8:57AM

    He is welcome. I hope he does well in Bollywood. Most Indians only want good relations with Pakistan.

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  • Xman
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:42AM

    Try entering the film industry of Afghanistan, and you will be lauded. It will show your solidarity with “Muslim Ummah”! and all critics will be happy.

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  • Pity
    Jul 23, 2014 - 10:20AM

    @Xman:
    Try telling this to the Bollywood family who has cast him after seeing his fan following in countries like Morocco and Algeria.

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  • Xman
    Jul 23, 2014 - 10:42AM

    @Pity: So Bollywood cast him on Ummah ratings from North Africa?

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  • someone
    Jul 23, 2014 - 11:03AM

    I think Indian producers just thinking from the perspective of market in Pakistan and importing more “faces” to Bollywood. Bollywood does not need more “faces”. It already has brilliant actors. What Bollywood needs is script and stories. Pakistani faces, any way have not done very well in India. From Mohsin Khan to Zeba Bakhtiyar, to Somi Ali to Zafar Ali etc. They are just 1-2 film wonder and can’t run picture on their shoulder. The small time producers in India may bet on Pakistani actors but then they would have to rely on very strong script. Big houses are not going to put their money on Pakistani actors any sooner.

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  • Zeeshan
    Jul 23, 2014 - 11:12AM

    Good Luck Fawad Khan & Kapoors!

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  • Raferty
    Jul 23, 2014 - 11:13AM

    @Petrolhead: a lil’ jelly, jelly there?? It’s actually not THAT Photoshopped. I’ve met the guy in person & he looks pretty amazing!

    @PrasadDeccani: no dent—he’s just VERY skinny. Some admirers would call it a chiseled look–not a dent.

    Funny to see men comment like high school girls :)

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  • Pity
    Jul 23, 2014 - 11:41AM

    @Xman:
    Seems like it, as they are aware that their daughter, who does not have acting talent, will require someone like FK to save the movie from humiliation.

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  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:00PM

    Great talent Fawad! All the very best to him.

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  • Bablu
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:16PM

    Good luck Fawwad and good luck to Kapoors. Fawwad just don’t worry about criticism, focus on your work. Looking forward to watch this film.

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  • taj-dholakpur
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:29PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Man you keep commenting all the day.

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  • Hmm
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:41PM

    These people have no opportunity in their country . So they will come to India . But I as an Indian would have been happy if he had moved to china which is a friend , more than the height of Himalaya , for his movie . However , welcome to India . We won’t gun you down .

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jul 23, 2014 - 12:54PM

    When Fawad speaks, either Urdu, Hindi or Punjabi, his accent has the fragrance of my beloved Lahore.

    Fawad is the peace embassador of our ancient common culture which has become victim of religious mania and military men.

    Just as the roof of a house rests on the walls, similarly Urdu is meaningless without the foundation of HindiRecommend

  • Kashmiri Pandit
    Jul 23, 2014 - 1:14PM

    Fawad aka Zarun of ZGH is really impressive in his art.
    We indians wish all talented individuals , be it from Pakistan or Afghanistan well and
    wish them sucess.
    But can the same be said for an Indian (especially a Hindu) Actor when he goes over to
    perform in Pakistan ?
    Will he be seen as an Artist or ” Hindu Baniya ” as the discourse about Hindus goes in Pakistan ?
    Thats the million dollar question.

    Why Atif, Ali zafar , Adnan , Rahat Fateh ali, and now Fawad are accepted an admired and adored are because of our ability to see all of them as Artistes and not judge them by their nationailty or religious belief.

    @ Fawwad : Your rigidity to accept that a Pakistani can speak Hindi is testimony to you looking down upon Hindi with disdain. Languages know no boundaries. Urdu is loved in India as much as Hindi or Tamil or Bengali. We do not beleive in superiority of one language over other and neither does our constitution. …….

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  • Rania
    Jul 23, 2014 - 1:42PM

    @goggi (Lahore):

    You should be a blogger or a writer or something. That comment was so eloquently typed it brought an automatic smile on my face.

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  • Queen
    Jul 23, 2014 - 2:10PM

    @Kashmiri Pandit:
    Have you seen the kind warm reception that has been extended by Pakistanis to Indian artists like Naseeruddin Shah [who performed theater in Karachi, Lahore], Raza Murad, Divya Dutta, Om Puri, Sukhbir, Stereo Nation, Hans Raj Hans, and others. The problem is that you don’t have access to our media channels so you don;t know how these actors have been invited on morning shows and talk shows on various Pakistani channels.

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  • Ali S
    Jul 23, 2014 - 2:10PM

    Good news but he really needs to eat more. His cheekbones are jutting out his face and he looks very gaunt :/

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  • nyc
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:00PM

    @petrolhead
    LOL looks like someone is jealous

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  • Roshan
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:09PM

    Pakistanis speak typical text book urdu as the language does not have its roots there. Urdu originated around Lucknow, Agra, Delhi and the areas in between. The foundation of Hindi’s khadi boli and vocabulary from persian gave the language its strength and beauty. Later the shayars like Ghalib and Meer took the Urdu out of the army regiments and decorated in the literature.
    Indian Urdu is full of regional tone and local vocabs unlike Pakistan where it is used mosty as formal. Any informality in Pakistan turns into punjabi, sindhi, pashto, Baloch etc. whereas in India the language gets its flavours from the soil.

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  • Stranger
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:12PM

    He’s kinda cute .

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  • kana
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:14PM

    @ Kashmiri Pandit
    Kiran Kher and Nandita Das have had key roles in Pakistani films.
    Sonel Chauhan and some other Hindu artists(like that girl from Das Kahaanian) have also been in Pakistani films.
    .
    Nasser ud Din shah and Om Puri have performed in Theatre in Pakistan. Many Indian actresses (like Sareeka, Karishma Kapoor, Poonam Dhiloon etc) have also starred in many Pakistani TV serials during last 10 years (they were Saas Bahu style serials but not sure now).

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  • artlover
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:58PM

    ‘Art’ involves creativity, the creation of something new, unexplored and innovative, not something borrowed. Unfortunately, ‘Khoobsurat’ seems to be already falling flat on its face as a remake of not just a 30-year-old Bollywood classic, but also dozens of other Hollywood movies that have been reinventing the ‘average-girl-with-a-golden-spirit-meets-Prince-Charming’ genre for AGES. I am most certainly looking forward to this movie, but under no false impression that Fawad is going to take Bollywood by storm with it. This movie isn’t intended for that. As far as I’m concerned, he’s here to sell this movie to audiences across the border, collect a handsome paycheck and start a career in a bigger, better-established industry.
    That being said, I think Fawad is a brilliant actor, one among countless others in our blooming industry. But what ‘someone’ said is spot on- a good actor needs a good script, and that is something Bollywood is hopelessly lacking in. Here’s to hoping our wonderful actors realize their true worth and stop selling themselves short. After all, we have so much more to offer Bollywood and any other film industry than just our pretty faces.

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  • Rudra
    Jul 23, 2014 - 5:40PM

    @artlover. They are not hopelessly lacking good script. If you see there are low budget films that have good scripts and win national award but are not popular or made hundred crores at box office. Bollywood is all about business.. If serious good scripted movies start making them 300 crores they will make such films of they have such audience. Unfortunately light hearted, fun, time pass movies are what works and market demand so they produce that to make maximum business (hundred crores) than invest in good serious movies and just earn 20 crores in box office.

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  • adnan
    Jul 23, 2014 - 6:38PM

    i agree art has no boundaries… we shud teach that to indian entertainment as when ever a pakistani artist gains huge support they shun him/her.. remember what is happening to adnan sami, atif aslam, shakeel siddiqui, IPL players???.. all were doing great and suddenly bogged down… they cant afford a non indian to gain big graounds as the current sponsors wont endorse them as their face….

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  • Jul 23, 2014 - 8:22PM

    Talent is always welcomed and praised here in India.Recommend

  • Arif
    Jul 23, 2014 - 8:52PM

    Pakistan dramas are gaining traction and if Pakistan really want to rule this field, going to India would be a suicide. Indian viewership is huge but the quality that you get in Pakistan, you wouldn’t get it in India. I don’t watch Indian movies but I guess that is going downhill too. Their successes rely on either copying Hollywood idea or some local fluke.

    One of my friend recommended me 3 idiots couple of years ago and out of excitement I sat and watch it. Believe me I watched the first half without a single giggle let alone a laughter and in the middle of the movie I fast forwarded and watched the end. Since that day I have decided not to watch any Indian funny movie.

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  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Jul 23, 2014 - 10:13PM

    Lets wait and see, if he can really compete with the versatility of the other Khans. There is a vast difference between the small and the big screen. Good looks will be an asset but no guarantee of a good actor. Don’t forget the time and handwork it took for Salman, Amir and Shahrukh to be where they are today. ET always has the habit of being immediately enthusiastic. Same was with Ali Zafar who has proved to be a flop. So lets keep our feet on the ground and wish him good.

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  • Awan
    Jul 23, 2014 - 11:12PM

    @Roshan:
    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant summation. This is exactly how I have always understood it from my armchair research and general interest in the history of the subcontinent. Glad that there are still people out there who understand the history without the jingoism. Jiyo hazaar saal.
    From, a British-Pakistani.

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  • Indian
    Jul 24, 2014 - 7:16AM

    Only Ali Zafar can shine in Bollywood

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  • Last Word
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:17AM

    Fawad has a great future in India but nobody is stopping him to do movies in Pakistan as well if he wishes to do so.

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  • khurram
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:01AM

    we have the talent that’why the Indian invites our actor, actress and singer perfrom in there movies. It is simply talent otherwise they are not in love neither there is an acute drought of good actor or actresses or singer in India.

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  • TUNG
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:46AM

    sadly indian media industry lacks quality,script etc. fawad would be wasted there

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  • Lion King
    Jul 24, 2014 - 3:56PM

    @Roshan: My friend the state of Urdu has suffered quality since the launch of God knows how many channels who recruited people without proper training and check, most of these new recruits came from Punjabi and Sindhi backgrounds bringing distorted version of Urdu as “awam bolti hay”, tarain gir gain, ap ne yeeh kerna hay. Before the advent of all these new channels Urdu at least in Pakistani media was of high quality as people who migrated from parts left in India raised high standard of language. Sadly all is lost to Lahori recruitment of media. Just fact, no bias intended.

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  • Roshan
    Jul 27, 2014 - 10:48PM

    @Lion King: Situation is more or less similar on this side of the border. Very few families stress on the purity of the language and it has mainly sufferred due to media. Actors of yester years used to take lessons in urdu to speak properly on the silver screen and we had quality dialogue writers. Lata Mangeshkar trained herself in persian whike learning classical music. Today’s Khans of Bollywood stand nowhere viz-a-viz Dilip Kumar and the dialogue writers are happy with the road side language. I only get solace while listening to All India Radio’s Urdu service.
    Unfortunately, we dont get Pakistani channels in India.

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  • gp65
    Aug 1, 2014 - 4:29AM

    Fresh talent is always welcome. Recently there have been quite a few entrants who have potential : Varun Dhawan, Ranvir Singh, Siddharth MAlhotra, Arjun Kapur, Aditya Roy Kapur , Tiger Shroff and also Siddharth Shukla of Balika Vadhu fame. So a couple of additional faces from across the border will only make the competition more intense – better for us viewers
    @Pity:
    “Try telling this to the Bollywood family who has cast him after seeing his fan following in countries like Morocco and Algeria.”

    Morocco and Algeria are not by any means large sources of revenue for Bollywood movies. HE would have been chosen for his talent and that openmindednes in Bollywood where people do not care about the catse, language, religion of the other person is what allows it to be succesful.

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  • gp65
    Aug 1, 2014 - 4:39AM

    @adnan:
    Do you hear Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Abhijeet, Udit Narain in Hindi movies tehse days? No. What about Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy? As new talent comes the old people have to make way for them. Anyway Adnana Sami had very few hits and practically none in Bollywood

    It has nothing to do with nationality.

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  • fufu
    Sep 1, 2014 - 4:13PM

    He is cast in bollywood coz of his fan following in middle east and north african countries which are a big market for bollywood ( around 27 arabic speaking countries) other than overseas desi markets in USA, UK etc and ofcourse pakistan. 2014 was fawads year. He was simultaneously launched in 32 countries with his tv shows. He is already an established name. Bollywood will benefit from him. He will bring in revenue from places where he is known as well as give exposure to khoobsurat Team and actors like sonam in places where they arent known/popular. Its a give and take equation with him. Goodluck to him hope he is successful in whatever he does.

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