Founder & Chief Creative Director, Farigh Four, Shahvaar Ali Khan wears many hats that has plenty of feathers in it. He talks to Fashion Collection about his way to acting and more importantly about creating a song that got a cult status.
Fashion Collection: What do you like about acting the most?
Shahvaar Ali Khan: My stint with acting started with voice training. I started off my career and training in music and singing. I was lucky that my first notable release was from Bollywood. The song was “Filmein Shilmein” from Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham’s film Desi Boyz Directed by Rohit Dhawan. I sang, wrote and composed the song and it got a cult status over the years in India, Pakistan and across the globe. I followed up the track with a few more releases. Hence, my connect with acting at the onset was with voice. My transition in front of the mic to in front of the camera was facilitated by my experience of making ad films: conceptualization and execution behind the camera. All my diverse experiences with voice, writing and direction have enriched my approach to acting. In essence, I am a story teller, regardless of the medium of expression. Modulating into different characters via acting and connecting with disparate yet connected traits of my inner self is what fascinates me most about performing in front of the camera.
FC: Theatre or TV? And why?
SAK: I think we are all acting in life all the time. “All the world is stage” as Shakespeare aptly put it. I am in awe of Theatre Actors. Theatre is great training for classical actors, but my approach has been closer to method acting. I follow cinema greats who have imbibed the method and most of them have no experience with theatre. Film is the ultimate high, but TV is Pakistan’s main medium for actors. Our realistic, natural, understated TV acting is admired across the border and across the world and gives us a unique identity.
FC: In your opinion, how important is training in acting?
SAK: Training is essential to hone your craft. However, some get trained on the set and in the field and some go to drama school, depends on what works better for who. My teachers have been my directors and co-actors.
FC: Who are your biggest influences?
SAK: Dilip Kumar, Brando, Al Pacino & Aamir Khan along with many music maestros. The soul of everything that they do is connected to music. I feel acting has a rhythm just like tunes.
FC: Which role of yours would you classify as the most memorable and why?
SAK: I think that role still has to come! Have miles to go before I sleep. However, my role as a negative protagnist in GEO TV’s Tishnagi Dil Ki was special. It brought a side of me I was very infamiliar with at the onset. Intense, brooding, loud. In contrast to the reticent and quite persona I have in real life. My upcoming Drama-Web series directed by the multi-talented Wajahat Rauf will also be interesting. I play a geeky reserved accountant in it with a rather colorful past.
FC: What is your dream role that you aspire to do?
SAK: I want to explore a role with age-transition. I feel I am in that stage in life physically & mentally, where I can play a character that transitions from young to middle aged to old, with varying shades of intensity going through the motions of life. Almost like a character’s biography. Moreover, comedy is something I have never experimented with as of yet. It’s an extremely challenging genre and it would be interesting to delve into it.
FC: If anything you would be asked to change about your work, what would be that one thing?
SAK: I am very selective about the projects I take up. Going forward I would like to increase the volume and frequency of my work. Over think less and do more work!
FC: What would you classify as your biggest achievement in the world of showbiz?
SAK: Dabbling with work on both sides of the border. Was lucky to experience Bollywood & Pakistan’s industry at the same time.
FC: The entertainment industry is said to be full of stress and pressure; what do you do to tackle the pressure that comes with your work?
SAK: Why just the entertainment industry? I feel life generally is a ball of stress. I try to train my mind with calming spiritual music and mindfulness. More importantly, I have a great support system of family, parents and friends that keep me relaxed. They are my bouncing boards. My beautiful wife is a huge support, a friend and of course my four years old daughter: the apple of my eye and the greatest reason for the calm in my life! She is quite a boss lady and hence, keeps me grounded and real! It’s essential for actors and for people in general to stay relaxed in life.
FC: Is life always better than a nice movie?
SAK: No. movies are always better than real life and my life is in the movies. My favorite pastime is watching a good flick alone in cinema with popcorns.
FC: You are also involved in advertising. Tell us something about your experience in that.
SAK: My stint in music and acting has helped take up direction in ad films. I run an ad agency where we experiment with new age ideas with my partner and a brilliant team. We have grown and won awards over the years for our creative acumen. I am also heading a growing ad film production house, where I am directing and producing. My diverse experiences across mediums give me that edge in the ad world.
FC: Any advice you would like to give to the young people who are just starting their careers in showbiz?
SAK: Don’t have a plan B, if you want to really make it at the top. I have made some mistakes and learnt from them. You have to burn your boats. High risk, high return is the mantra to succeed.
FC: In your opinion, how difficult it is to establish yourself in the film industry?
SAK: Extremely difficult, but nothing comes easy in life. You have to pay the price of passion. Having graduated from a prestigious college in the United States, I saw my peers take on cushy jobs and careers, while I was struggling in my artistic pursuits. However, if you are not mad enough to believe that you’ll make it, you most probably won’t. Keep the faith alive. With perseverance great things can happen.