In the famous 90s animated sitcom, The Simpson’s, Homer Simpson - the show’s protagonist, can be seen taking on a variety of occupations. From being a mayor and NASA engineer to a quiz master and grim reaper, he travels the two extremes.
Despite these brief stints, it is his role as a safety inspector at the Springfield nuclear power plant that makes him feel at home. Coming back to this side of the world, our very own Ahmad Ali Butt can also be related to Homer when it comes to exploring his potential. He ventured into every aspect of the entertainment industry in search of his true vocation before it finally dawned on him that he is meant for acting. Yes, it’s not music. That ‘waqt’ has gone by.
Having burst onto the scene as a rapper for the alternative rock group Entity Paradigm, Butt also managed to catch the public-eye with his comic roles in shows such as Jutt & Bond. Though the rapper forayed into acting after the launch of his music career, he does not consider himself to be a musician-turned-actor. “If you look at it, both my acting and music career started on the same day. As eP also made its first appearance as a band on Jutt & Bond,” he tells The Express Tribune.
With the band going on an extended hiatus (and eventually disbanding), Butt started focusing more on his acting career while also trying hand at hosting events and corporate shows.
Interestingly, Butt isn’t the only eP member who went from singing on stage to performing on the silver screen as his band-mate and good friend, Fawad Khan, also made his Bollywood debut late last year with Khoobsurat. It seems like the silver screen may be the eventual destination for some of its band members.
“No concerts and shows were happening at that time and the music industry was in the process of a gradual decline. But luckily both Fawad and I were still being offered roles in different sitcoms and television serials so trying new options seemed like a logical move.”
With a background in theatre, acting on television was a step in the right direction. Like many other artists, Butt also attempted to break the mould of being just a comedian. “This is a Pakistani problem. You get typecast as an artist and that’s when you have to try and rid yourself of that image”.
With the release of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), Butt is all set to embrace the big screen where he will play a polar opposite of his real life persona in the form of a ‘very scared’ individual. “I am playing the role of a married man who loves his children and is the real bond of the group.”
Describing his real-life personality as being very “loud”, Butt credited the workshops that helped his transition from real-to-reel life for his upcoming film. “Since I have a loud personality, Nadeem Baig (the director) helped me tone it down for my character. We spent about a good six months preparing for the movie, doing script reading sessions before we entered the production phase and I think that helped a lot,” he said.
Set to release in cinemas across Pakistan on Eidul Azha, JPNA also stars Humayun Saeed, Vasay Chaudhry, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Mehwish Hayat in the lead roles.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.
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