Nobody has the right to judge me for doing a Ramzan transmission: Ahsan Khan
He was one of the first actors to successfully crossover to the Ramzan transmission when it was not even a thing.
That’s why people can relate to Ahsan Khan more and his brilliant style of hosting that isn’t loud, not offensive and overly Islamic at the same time.
Spotlight approached the actor for his stint as host of one of the biggest Ramzan transmissions in Pakistan where he appears on Hum TV as well as the National TV and asked him how it has changed him over the years, as an actor who excels at intense roles to a host who wants to learn about Islam just like us.
You have been doing Ramzan transmission for over a dozen years now. How do you find the experience different from acting?
It was over six years back when Hum TV asked me to host a quiz segment in Ramzan Hayya Al Falah where I used to ask questions and students selected by the channel would answer them.
It was that 30-minute experience daily in Ramzan that made me realize that we have a lot to learn about religion; when I was approached by Maimoona Siddiqui at Hum TV – with had the backing of Sultana Siddiqui, the woman behind Hum Network – to do a full-fledged transmission, I did not hesitate as I was utilizing my Ramzan for a good cause.
Islamic Studies has always been one of my favorite subjects so the more I got to know about it from those who teach it, the better. Like every household, my family discusses Islamic issues, consult scholars and meet them to get answers to many questions. These programs help those audiences who don’t have access to renowned scholars so that they get the clarity about religion in this Holy month.
Why do you think people relate to you more than other anchors when it comes to Ramzan transmission?
The reason we are way ahead of other channels in Pakistan and internationally is because of our superior content, like-ability, word of mouth and the fact that it shows to the audience that we are not stars but Muslims like them who fast like them, pray like them and want to understand the religion, like them.
I couldn’t have been happier when both Hum TV and PTV decided to join hands with Group M this year since they are the channels that groomed me as an actor. I believe they as well as the audience liked my simple hosting where you neither go overboard nor disrespect others and be your humblest self.
I must mention the brilliant Bushra Aamir who helps me out in a couple of segments and it has been a pleasure working with her. She is a very decent, educated and learned individual not to mention a great human being whom I respect. I am glad that people are loving our transmission because we give them what they want, not what is required to get good ratings.
Do you agree that anyone who is a Muslim should be allowed to host the transmission, something a ‘selected few’ are against in Pakistan?
Hosting a Ramzan transmission doesn’t mean that I am acting as a scholar, or that I am the one passing away judgments or giving fatwas. I play the role of a bridge here between the audience and the scholars and ask questions that the audience might be interested in because I am part of them as well.
Our content team is a pivotal part of the show, as they want us to question in a certain way, keep the audience glued to their TV sets when they are fasting and have something for everyone in the family. That’s why you will see that naat khwans and sana khwans appear in the show, people participate in quiz and naat competitions, leading chefs appear in cooking segments with their Ramzan recipes and we try to help the needy as well.
It isn’t a transmission where I do a scholarly discussion on my own but what the audience wants. They see me asking questions for them, not Ahsan Khan asking questions for himself. Like them, I have a right to question that has been given to me by my religion and nobody has the right to take that away from me.
Nobody has the right to judge me and if some people think that I am not a good Muslim because I am an actor, then I ask them who gives them the right to assume such a thing. We need to change this mindset and promote harmony among people from all walks of life, just like we preach harmony between all sects of Islam.
What is your favorite part of a Ramzan transmission?
Although this year, Hum TV transmission has many interesting segments but the one that is closest to my heart is the segment where we invite the family of those individuals who have sacrificed their lives for our country. The more tribute we pay them, the less because they have done what we can’t even imagine doing in the first place.
I also find the discussion with scholars as something that shows the true colors of Islam to the audience wherever the transmission is being seen. My team, as well as the producers Group M, ensure that the topics we choose for discussion should be related to moral values and everyday issues.
Having to listen to our religious scholars daily for 30 days is a good thing for the audience since it educates them as well as keeps them busy.
Doesn’t hosting one of the biggest transmissions live while fasting put pressure on you?
At first, I wasn’t that keen on doing a Ramzan transmission this year because from what I have been observing, it had turned into a game show for some, while others indulge in sleazy languages live just for fun.
Thankfully, I had the margin to do whatever I want and trust me, when your heart is in the right place, things do turn out for the better. I love doing a transmission while fasting because that’s the kind of challenge we should accept and excel in.
I am glad that people are given respect when they appear on Hum TV’s transmission and would rather leave the show than indulge in a cheap discussion where insensitive people make fun of others, just because they can.
How much do you take back from the discussions with scholars and how does it help?
These Ramzan transmissions have groomed me a lot over the years, whenever these scholars make a comment about something that we had no idea about or we interpreted incorrectly, I make a mental note of that so that the next time I have to talk about it with friends and family, I know where I am coming from.
We can’t read every book about the religion but we can listen to these intellectuals who have a grip over the subject and also know how to make a layman understand even the most complex of issues. It is because of this transmission and my association with Hum TV over the years that I have become a better person.
I urge all those who watch TV in Ramzan to learn from these religious men and shed hate and negativity for good.