Bollywood has always been a double-edged sword for actors from Pakistan: Mikaal Zulfiqar
There is something different about Mikaal Zulfiqar – he has the dashing looks of a Greek god, he can change his appearance to anything, and above all, he can charm his way into the hearts of his fans without even trying. After appearing in as many as three mainstream Bollywood films – Shoot on Sight, U R My Jaan and Baby – Mikaal finally made his entry into Pakistani films with a guest role in Asim Abbasi’s Cake, and has more films slated for release this year.
We got hold of the talented Mikaal who talks about everything from TV, films to featuring in what can be termed as the best commercials in Pakistan. Read on:
On his upcoming film Na Band Na Barati
It is a story of two bachelor brothers who love their single life more than anything else; it features me alongside some newcomers like Shayan Khan, Nayab Khan and Anzhelika Tahir while Atiqa Odho, Qavi Khan, Mehmood Akhtar, Azra Mohyeddin and Ali Kazmi are also part of the project.
Presenting the official teaser of upcoming movie "Na Band Na Baraati" – Releasing on June 29th 2018
Posted by Na Band Na Baraati on Saturday, March 10, 2018
The film has been shot extensively in Toronto and 80% of the flick has been shot outdoor shots which will be a new thing for the Pakistani audience. Shayan is one of the producers and we are confident of the film, which will hit the screens on 29th June this year. I would call it a situational comedy film where every character is equally significant; I have seen the film and trust me it will be one of the more technically sound Pakistani films.
Most of the post work has been done in America, which is why I am confident that it will entertain all those who want to watch a lighthearted Pakistani film.
On his future film projects
I am quite excited about my upcoming projects as they are different from each other. On one hand, there is Kamran Shahid’s untitled film which features Saadia Khan and myself and is an epic love story set in 1971; then there is Sherdil where I get to play an Air Force pilot and share the screen with Armeena Khan, Hassan Niazi and Sabeeka Imam to name a few.
I just finished shooting for the film in Pakistan and United Arab Emirates and trust me, it is going to be a game changer. The film has been shot by Hollywood cinematographer Riki Butland and it doesn’t come out as a Pakistani film. Furthermore, there are aerial shots that will take your breath away. The film is visually appealing and I am hoping that when it releases next year, it will be a hit. There are a couple of more films that I might produce myself, but since nothing is confirmed I can’t really divulge any details. All I can say is that they will have good storyline where a good performance will be my priority.
On working with the best actors from India
Contrary to what people believe, I have worked with Indian actors in four films, not three. Godfather was the first Indo-Pak venture where I got to work with legendary actors like Vinod Khanna, Nafisa Ali and Arbaaz Khan. We all grew fond of each other during the shooting and that’s one of the reasons I was quite sad on Vinod sahab’s passing away last year.
Then I got to share the screen with Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah in Shoot on Sight, and that was a lovely experience as both were and are not just great actors but superhuman beings. I am also lucky to have worked with Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa and Rana Daggubati in Baby which sadly was not released in Pakistan due to its storyline.
On missed opportunities
I was anxious to work with Nadeem Baig after Abhi Tu Main Jawaan Hoon, but things didn’t work out the way I wanted. I was also interested in doing a film with Ahsan Rahim with whom I share an amazing chemistry courtesy some commercials, but Ali Zafar got to him first (smiles).
I am sure he will do an amazing job with Teefa In Trouble because when someone who used to treat the Ufone commercials as mini-films gets a chance to make a film, he will give his best and that’s Ahsan Rahim for you. I still miss the Ufone commercials, which have stopped production because of the downfall in Telco industry advertising.
On being successful on TV
I am glad that I have been doing well on TV for quite some time now, both as an actor and as a producer. In the last two years, my plays Sang e Mar Mar, Main Sitara, Dayar e Dil, Alif Allah Aur Insaan managed to become hugely popular, whereas my currently-on air play De Ijazat (with Zarnish Khan) is doing well. Then there is Khasara that has me in a different character of a manipulative person featuring Sarwat Gillani, Sonia Mishaal and Junaid Khan.
Starting from 1st SeptemberEvery Thursday at 8 PM#HUMTV
Posted by Sange Mar Mar on Friday, August 26, 2016
So far, I have delivered over 15 to 20 hits on TV in my career, which makes me a happy man. I hope the success transfers to films as well.
On being a busy actor and a producer
The plays I have co-produced for Hum TV – Tum Mere Kia Ho and Maan – were liked by the audience and that’s what makes the producer in me happy. Since I am quite busy as an actor, I haven’t given much time to my productions and am taking it slow. But in a few years I will become active on that front as well. I hope that life wouldn’t be this taxing as an actor by then, and I would be able to do what I want to do.
On not winning many awards
I have won quite a number of awards for my performance which is something I cherish. With so many productions on air at the moment, it is always difficult to win every time, but whenever my fans vote for me, I feel blessed. For me, meeting my fans and hearing them talk about my work is the best award one can get.
On the possibility of working abroad!
Well, I can easily work abroad because I am British as well, but then I am quite busy here in Pakistan and haven’t had the time to explore that market. Hollywood is definitely a possibility but only when I get the time. Currently, I am busy for the next year or so with different projects for TV and film but who knows where I might land in the future.
On ways to better production on TV!
There are a lot of ways in which we can improve our production values. We can start by investing in our technicians and makeup people so that they can pay back by doing phenomenal work for TV productions, rather than just films or fashion shows. We must do away with monotonous acting that not only bores the viewers but also the actors who continuously shoot for 10 days for one play, and then give the next 10 days to other play. If actors start working in one play at a time that will not only give them a chance to prove their mettle but also experiment with their acting.
On an alternate career as a singer
Aaah yes, I so wanted to be a singer even if I may sound like a bathroom singer. Who knows someday things might change for the better and I get offers to sing. I usually sing in front of my friends, and on hearing me sing Vasay (Chaudhry) said that since singers are turning towards acting, it would be good if we could send one of our own towards singing Laughs.
This article was originally published in GLAM Magazine.