Unlike the usual rising stars of his age, Ahad Raza Mir is shockingly modest and comes across as someone grounded to his roots.
Hot off of the success of his debut assignment, TV serial Sammi, Ahad followed it up with the breakthrough drama serial, Yakeen Ka Safar that was drenched in old school romanticism.
He is now gearing up for his big screen debut with director Haseeb Hasan’s feature film, Parwaaz Hai Junoon (PHJ), helmed in association with the Pakistani Air Force, which is slated to release this Eid ul Azha.
Having bagged the Lux Style Award earlier this year and three more trophies at the recently-held Hum Awards in Toronto, Ahad has risen above allegations of nepotism and has established himself as a self-made star.
Ahad recently spoke to Instep about his relatively newfound stardom and all that he’s been up to.
“It feels weird,” he laughs, as we begin our conversation. “It all feels like a dream. Along with the awards, I think I’ve broken some records; I’m the youngest Lux-award winner and the first to win ‘Best Actor’ for his first serial at Hum Awards. I don’t like saying this but I did work very hard and the feeling of it paying off felt so good. I’m going off on a complete tangent here, but I was also really happy for Sajal (Aly) this time; she deserved all the awards for every nomination.”
“I could relate to her as well, she’s been working so hard for so long,” he continued, drawing parallels with co-star, Sajal Aly.
“And I felt really good to have gotten the recognition for myself and the fact that I no longer have to worry about not being able to bring pride to my family. My parents were happy and for me that was the best feeling. People tell me I’ve won awards that people aspire to their entire careers and so now what? And for me, it means I have to work harder, I have to beat myself.”
The conversation automatically veers to Sajal Aly and the rumours surrounding the two actors since the days of Yakeen Ka Safar. Ahad dismisses the rumours.
“Sajal and I are very, very good friends and I think I’m lucky that I met her in this part of my life. Working with her is like working with an artiste, somebody who cares more about the work than anything else. We work in similar ways, the bond that we have is quite strong. Sajal is a wonderful girl and that’s why I was really happy that she won. That’s how I define ‘special’; she’s a very special person.”
In the meantime, Ahad’s upcoming debut on Coke Studio 11 has people talking. Some think it’s a case of nepotism while others are mystified as to how he made the cut. But as co-producers Ali Hamza and Zohaib Kazi told Instep in an earlier interview, he came prepared with two songs for the producers before eventually making the cut to the line-up of the show.
“Coke Studio was a bit of a 180 (degrees) on everyone. It was hard keeping it a secret; I was a little scared because it’s not really my (forte). I mean I have done musical theatre (in Canada) and I sing, but I never really considered it as a career, per say,” he told Instep. “But I feel right now, it is time for me to explore. People have only seen a very serious side of me and everybody takes me very seriously,” Ahad chuckled, before adding, “So, I feel Coke Studio would show them [my fans] that I’m a fun guy; I can be funny and I want them to see a different side of me.”
All he can say about his performance on Coke Studio 11, for now, is that “it’s a fun song, on a much, much lighter note”.
Moving past Coke Studio 11, the budding star has also signed up on a feature film as Executive Producer, under the banner of his father and veteran actor, Asif Raza Mir’s production house. In his pursuit of experimentation and maintaining a diverse body of work, he’s all set to begin shooting for his next TV serial, penned by award-winning-writer, Farhat Ishtiaq which is being helmed by Ahson Talish of Alif Allah Aur Insaan fame alongside Adnan Siddiqui.
Furthermore, Ahad Raza Mir is all set to fly back to Toronto earlier next year to get back to theatre, with Shakespeare’s Hamlet no less.
“I’ve already started memorizing; I think it’s going to be a three-hour production. It’s terrifying and we’re now at this place where sometimes people say Shakespeare is irrelevant, but we can learn a lot about storytelling, composition and characters,” Ahad observed.
“I’ve done a lot of my education in Shakespeare and taking on the role of Hamlet is big for me since I’ll be returning to the stage after almost a three-year gap. And the Shakespeare-company I work with in Canada has called me many times and it shows their level of commitment to me,” he added, revealing that the play is slated for earlier next year. “I think it’ll also be a very interesting experience for the South Asian community in Canada to see an actor they’ve seen on TV up-close and person.”