Instep Today

Ahad Raza Mir bags nomination for Hamlet at Betty Mitchell Awards

Instep Today
By Buraq Shabbir
Mon, 06, 19

After a successful run of the theatre production, Hamlet: A Ghost Story, in Canada earlier this month, Ahad Raza Mir has been nominated at the Betty Mitchell Awards in ‘Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama’ category for playing the titular role.

Ahad Raza Mir has been on the rise since he made his debut in Pakistan’s entertainment industry a couple of years ago. From Sammi to Yakeen Ka Safar to his big screen debut, Parwaaz Hai Junoon, followed by ongoing period drama Aangan, the Canadian-Pakistani actor has won many hearts – not only in Pakistan but beyond. He even won the Best Actor trophy for Yakeen Ka Safar at the Lux Style Awards, just last year.

The most recent, and probably the biggest addition to his achievements is his portrayal of Hamlet in Hamlet: A Ghost Story in Canada’s Vertigo Theatre, for which the actor has bagged a nomination as well. He has made the cut in the ‘Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Drama’ category at the upcoming Betty Mitchell Awards 2019 that recognizes excellence in Calgary’s Professional Theatre Community with the award ceremony scheduled to take place on June 24, 2019. “It feels amazing; the biggest thing is that it’s like a pride for the country,” Ahad Raza Mir told Instep in an exclusive telephonic conversation. “It is a regional award; hundreds of shows took place in the entire province there. For me, it is a big deal because I started my career there and I have been watching these people get these awards for many years, hoping that it would happen to me too, one day. Therefore, bagging a nomination is a big success, not just for people residing in Pakistan but for Pakistanis abroad.”

“I am feeling very proud,” Ahad continued, “but I am actually feeling very good for all those people who invested their time and effort in me. For them to see those things happening, I think it is the biggest success.”

Ahad started off with theatre in Canada with The Shakespeare Company that has been calling him back for some time. However, for one reason or another, Ahad was unable to commit to any project but the role of Hamlet was something he couldn’t say no to.

Speaking of returning to stage in Canada after making so many fans in Pakistan in the last two years, Ahad shared, “I think I desperately needed to go back to the reason why I started this in the first place – like my love for acting – because sometimes I really don’t agree with the idea of ‘showbiz’. So, when I went back, it was a lot of hard work – memorizing hundreds of lines, remembering cues, etc. At the end of the day, I was driven. Like ‘yeah man, this is why I did it’.”

Ahad admits that he wondered if he is actually worth getting people out of their homes, driving into the theatre, spending so much money for a ticket and watch it. “I was scared if people would show up but every day around 50 to 60 per cent people in the audience were Pakistanis,” he maintained, adding that the production house was amazed to see the turnout of people who never watched theatre before, let alone Shakespeare. “People were coming thrice or four times to watch the play. It was really overwhelming to see the response; my mom would make video shots of the lobby and it was packed with people.”

“For me, the real success was inspiring Pakistanis to audition for theatre there,” he added, sharing that this was his goal initially. “My artistic director auditioned so many Pakistanis of about 30 to 40 years of age who showed their interest in acting for the stage. I remember, when I was there, I observed that students coming from Pakistan and India don’t get the opportunities. So, I was glad to see Pakistani(s) auditioning for the next season.”

Ahad recently returned to Pakistan after a successful run of Hamlet: A Ghost Story in Calgary and he will be performing again next year in September in Toronto, followed by a possible run in Dubai. “It’s not going to be the same show; it will be up-scale. The show we did was the studio version, which is for a very intimate audience, but now it is going to be a huge production given the huge number of Pakistanis there.”

“I want to bring it to Pakistan but the logistics are a little complicated,” Ahad concluded, maintaining that they are working out something that it at least makes it to Dubai, bringing it closer to home so there might be a possibility.