Amar Khan talks to Instep about her television debut, her eccentric choice of characters and much more.
Unlike most of her contemporaries, Amar Khan opted for unconventional roles as soon as she stepped into the entertainment industry. She is one aspiring actor who is serious about the projects she attaches herself to and claims that acting runs in the genes.
“My maternal grandfather was a filmmaker in the early 60s and then my mother, Fareeha Jabeen, also pursued acting more than 25 years ago. But I wasn’t really a kid who would extrovertly proclaim that I wanted to become an actor. In fact, I never had the guts to go up to my mother and tell her that there is an actor building up inside and I want to pursue acting as a career,” Amar stated in an exclusive interview with Instep.
A film graduate, Amar has an excessive amount of theatre experience to her credit. “After completing my A levels I had two options – either to go for business studies or filmmaking. I decided to go to Beaconhouse National University (BNU), Lahore, and graduated as a filmmaker from there,” she added.
While she was studying, Amar ventured into making short films but never thought of acting in her own projects.
“One of my short films was premiered at the Delhi International Film Festival and another one was screened at the Children’s International Film Festival (annually held in Lahore). I also made a short film titled Black Wednesday on the Peshawar APS attack that got selected at the American Film Showcase. I had been attending all these festivals but I never acted in my films because my degree was in filmmaking. However, I was extensively doing theatre in Lahore and had also gone to India for some plays along with well-known director and writer Sarmad Sehbai and his wife, who were also my teachers at BNU. I attended several workshops where I got the chance to interact with veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Shyam Benegal along with Asghar Nadeem Syed and Salman Shahid.”
Amar believes that her journey was much more than acting – it was like delving into the world of cinema. Besides being a film graduate, the actor has done intensives in acting and screenwriting from New York and India.
“Of course the germs were always that of an actor and hence I went for filmmaking because unfortunately we don’t have an acting course in Pakistan,” she informed. “And because I have studied filmmaking I think I know the dynamics of acting way better than most of our stars.”
Recalling her childhood days, Amar said that at the age of six she used to stand in front of the mirror copying Madhuri Dixit. “I was a crazy Bollywood fan.”
The talented Amar made her acting debut alongside Ahsan Khan in one of the telefilms titled Chashme Num which was aired on World Disability Day last year. Helmed and written by Amar, the telefilm was later premiered at the Korean Film Festival as well.
From studying filmmaking to writing and directing short films, how did she transition into acting?
“I have to thank Ahsan Khan for encouraging me to take up acting,” she responded. “So after completing my degree I decided to try my hand at acting. At that time I was working on the idea that revolved around the love story of two visually impaired people. And that’s how it started.”
Regarding her choice of unconventional characters, she said, “While doing theatre I have grown in the milieu of some odd characters and now I am pursuing the same on television as well. I wanted to do something different and was fortunate to bag the roles of an abducted Hindu woman in period drama Ghughi followed by that of a witch in Belapur Ki Dayan.”
Interestingly, Amar was initially supposed to play the second lead in Ghughi but ended up landing the role of the protagonist. The artist revealed that it wasn’t an easy role. Set in the 1940s and adapted from Amrita Pritam’s acclaimed novel, essaying the character of a Hindu woman was emotionally and physically tough for her.
Moving on, talking about her role in Belapur Ki Dayan, that went on air last night, Amar shared that she doesn’t play the typical witch in the play. According to her, she was shooting the last spell of Ghughi in Lahore and the pictures of the serial were already out when actor and director Saife Hasan asked the producers to approach her for his horror project.
“When I met Saife, he told me he saw something very satanic in my eyes.” She further went on to say that the play has been divided in two different time periods. “One is set in the 80s, where I essay the role of a shy, coy girl who is into Parveen Shakir’s poetry and falls in love with her teacher, essayed by Adnan Siddiqui. Something happens and this girl dies and comes back as a dayan to take revenge. I have done all sorts of stunts that you will be seeing in the play. So I am really excited about this venture.”
When asked whether it was easy for her to step into the industry because of her mother, Amar told Instep, “Yes you can say that it is because of my mom that I have the privileges that she never had when she started off.”
As far as Amar Khan’s future projects are concerned, she will start shooting for two new TV projects in the near future. Moreover, she is currently engaged in writing the script of a movie.
For Amar, it has been an enriching journey and she is already garnering much attention for her role in Ghughi. So more acting and more writing is in the pipeline for this versatile actor.