Instep Today

Catching up with Faizan Shaikh

Instep Today
By Maria Shirazi
Sat, 10, 19

The actor and host speaks to Instep about playing the antithesis of a hero in Heer Maan Ja, among other things.

Having started his career as a theatre actor, Faizan Shaikh made his small screen debut almost seven years ago with drama serial Mann Ke Moti and later appeared in hit comedy show Ready Steady Go, featuring his real life mother Parveen Akbar and wife Maham Aamir.

However, it was in 2016 that he ventured into cinema with romantic comedy, Parchi. The actor, who co-hosts a morning show with Faysal Qureshi, recently appeared in Heer Maan Ja (HMJ), which released on Eid ul Azha, alongside Ali Rehman Khan and Hareem Farooq.

In the romantic comedy, Faizan essays the role of an antagonist, Wajdaan, who wants to marry his cousin Heer (essayed by Hareem Farooq).

Though all the actors have done a commendable job in the film, Faizan brilliantly portrays the role of a villain and because of it stands out the most in Heer Maan Ja. The film is running successfully in cinemas for more than 50 days since release on Eid ul Azha.

“When I was offered a negative role in HMJ, I instantly decided to take it, as I was looking for a character like this,” Faizan Shaikh shared in an exclusive interview with Instep.

The actor felt that the character of Wajdaan in Heer Maan Ja was tremendously negative and something he had never done before. “I think it’s always difficult to pull off such a role mainly because you are up against the hero. In real life I am not like this so, I had to put extra efforts to get into the skin of the character. It was quite interesting and I am overwhelmed with the response that I have received.”

The actor, who has various drama serials such Mera Naam Yousuf Hai, Riffat Appa Ki Bahuein, horror drama Saaya and a number of sitcoms to his credit, revealed that he has no formal training in acting. He further shared that he studied direction and it was a friend who forced him to go for a random theatre audition.

“It was sheer luck that I got selected and that is how my acting journey started,” he confessed. Faizan worked in theatre for five years before landing his first drama serial in 2012.

Talking about socially-relevant plays that - at times - become too depressing and grim, Faizan asserted that for him entertainment is a way to teach and create awareness regarding social issues for the public. “In my opinion, dramas made on social issues serve as an eye-opener for the audience and I am glad that we are raising our voice on such sensitive issues,” he elaborated.

(L-R) Faizan Shaikh with Heer Maan Ja costars Ali Rehman Khan, Hareem Farooq and Mojiz Hassan.

When asked about how he picked roles, the actor stated that he has always looked for interesting characters. “I’m not bothered if it’s a supporting role but it should be believable and based on reality; in fact it should intrigue the audience and leave an impact. I just love to experiment and if my character in a certain drama or movie requires transformation – like gaining or losing weight, growing a beard etc – I will just go ahead with it, as I don’t believe in compromising on the quality of work,” he said.

About his upcoming projects, the actor informed that there is a lot in the pipeline. “There are a few projects but because nothing has been finalized, I can’t speak on it right now.”

This included a web series but things aren’t concrete as yet.

On a parting note, Faizan Shaikh said that as far as his journey is concerned, it has been a rollercoaster ride so far. “From theatre to hosting to doing projects on the big and small screen, things have been fun and tough at the same time. To establish yourself as a versatile actor you have to struggle constantly and work really hard to make a mark in the entertainment industry,” he concluded.