The rockstar Romeo

Junaid Khan talks about moving on from performing for head-banging youngsters to drama-loving housewives on TV

Alveena Abid April 21, 2015
The actor will also make a cameo appearance as Mahira Khan’s husband in Bin Roye Aansoo. PHOTO: FILE


The showman, who routinely drew large crowds wherever he played with his band Call, is now targeting a completely different set of audience. He may have dominated the stage with his power packed vocals but his transition to TV has made him a household name.

Being a rockstar is every musician’s dream and nobody wants to give up on it once achieved. And with the popularity he had gained from his astounding music career, one really wonders if he looks back with pride or regret. “I don’t have any regrets. I think every artiste grows with time. We grow as individuals, we grow as personalities,” says Khan.

“Rock [music] has always been my passion and it still is. I haven’t left music but I am exploring the ‘actor side’ in me at the moment,” he adds.

The singer has not released any new single since ‘Keh Do’ last year. Responding to that, he said, “It’s unfortunate that Pakistani music is not being searched right now. I really don’t want the emotions that I have translated in my songs to go blank. I will release songs once the situation of the music industry gets better.”

He credits Coke Studio and Nescafe Basement for their constant efforts to promote music. He believes that whatever remains of the music industry is because of shows like these.

“They do have a reach and are acknowledged. But once they are done, people forget about it because our audience is totally involved in Bollywood. All our previous listeners have also grown out of it now. They listen to music to some extent but they don’t follow it madly,” asserts Khan.

On talking about his choice of audience, from youth-based crowds to drama oriented housewives, he said, “Both have their own charm,” says Khan.

“TV audiences are very sweet. Housewives, their husbands and even children watch dramas. They get involved in those characters and make judgments about what do they like about your character and what they don’t. So, both categories of fans are equally dear to me.”

It is a common perception that Khan failed to continue his rock legacy, ever since his split from the band. Whether or not this is true, it was his personal choice to shift from rock to pop, he said, “I experimented with a few things. The last three solo tracks that I have released, ‘So Close So Distant’ and ‘Koi Rokey Mujhe’ is exactly how I used to make music. Only ‘Keh Do’ was melo-pop, a bit romantic. I wanted to see my potential and outcome for mellowing down my music this way.”

Keeping in mind, the current downfall of the music industry, a lot of musicians have now turned into actors. Sharing his views on this new trend, he said, “I don’t think any of them has left music except for Fawad Khan. Being musicians, we have a had a taste of acting since we have been doing music videos and now that the TV industry has become more prominent than music, we tend to focus on it more.”

However, his latest accomplishments as an actor have also landed him a role in upcoming movie Bin Roye Ansoo.

“I won’t call it a film debut, it’s a guest appearance. Bin Roye Ansoo is actually a TV serial and a feature film” says Khan. “I am playing the role of Mahira Khan’s husband in the film. My character (Safeer) is more elaborated in the TV serial than the film. So, it’s not a film debut as I am still waiting for the right script.”

The singer, who has not contributed to the music of Bin Roye Ansoo, wants every other Pakistani film to do well on the box office.

“Bollywood has a huge influence on us and that is why cinema owners prefer Indian films over Pakistani films and the latter end up running for a short period of time. As more local films are made, the audience will also get tuned to them,” he adds.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2015.

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