Mikaal Zulfiqar needs no introduction when it comes to the Pakistani entertainment industry. He has performed numerous memorable roles on television and films. Born in London, United Kingdom to a Pakistani father and British mother, Zulfiqar spent his early years in London, and then moved to Pakistan, where he completed his education. He, initially, started his career with modelling for commercials and music videos. Zulfiqar got immense fame by his appearance in comedy commercials for ‘Ufone’. After several advertising campaigns, Zulfiqar stepped into the television industry. Some of his early screen work includes ‘Saiqa’, ‘Kaisay Kahoon’, ‘Pani Jaisa Piyar’ and ‘Jal Pari’ among others.
He won the Best Actor award for his role in the drama serial ‘Mohabat Subh Ka Sitara Hai’. Some of his most prominent work includes: ‘Dur e Shahwar’, ‘Shehr-e-Zaat’, ‘Sangat’, ‘Mein Sitara’, ‘Diyar-e-Dil’, ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’ and the recent one – ‘Fraud’.
After appearing in a few Bollywood films early in his career, Zulfiqar shifted his interest entirely towards Pakistani cinema and debuted with the movie ‘Cake’ (2018). The film was highly lauded by critics. In 2019, he was seen in Pakistani war film ‘Sherdil’, which became Zulfiqar’s first major box-office success. Since then, Zulfiqar has established himself as a talented actor who embodies a range of characters with ease. He is known for his charming personality, good looks, and dedication to his craft. With several critically acclaimed performances to his credit and a strong fan base, Zulfiqar has become a prominent figure in the Pakistani entertainment industry over the years.
This year, on Eid, two major films released starring the actor and are still onscreen at various cinemas in Pakistan and abroad. In an exclusive interview with You! the versatile actor talks about his recently released films and future projects…
You! You had two major releases on Eid, this year. How do you feel about both of them?
Mikaal Zulfiqar: What excites me, is that both of my films have such different characters and arcs. I think that is a treat for my fans.
You! Can you tell us about the role you play in the satirical comedy film ‘Money Back Guarantee’?
MZ: In ‘Money Back Guarantee’ (MBG), I am playing Irfan Pathaan, who is facing many problems in life. The role depicts a common Pakistani and their issues. He gangs up with other common Pakistanis who have their own issues and they all put their heads together to try and find a solution for all their problems. So, what happens next? People should go and watch the movie to find out.
You! You are also the producer of MBG. So, how was the experience of wearing two hats in the same project?
MZ: I have been into production before, but MBG was different in a way that in it, I was more of a financer than a producer. Whenever I produce something, I involve myself in the project completely. That includes the final decisions regarding requirements of shoot, cast, directors, crew, locations and so and so forth. As Faisal Qureshi had already scripted the project, he took on the role of being a producer too. My partner and I - Shayan Khan of ZASHKO Films, only financed the project without getting too much in the production part. Mostly because, we wanted to participate as actors in the film.
You! Your other release is, ‘Huey Tum Ajnabi’ (HTA), how was your experience of playing a role in a historical drama?
MZ: It was wonderful. This is the first time that a feature film has been made on the issue of Fall of Dhaka and I am proud to be a part of it. The journey of HTA started several years ago. The period film covers the years from 1969 to 1971, in which I am playing the role Nizamuddin, who is a student leader in Dhaka University. My father was a big inspiration for me to do this role. He had lived through that period and was also a student at that time. So, I learned many things from my father and personal reading and research, and that helped me get into my character. Dominantly, it is a love story between my character and Sadia Khans. Besides this, HTA has other elements as well, which are required for a historical story. My character’s journey became very challenging, when the war of 1971 started. This character went through a harsh journey; first it was student leadership, then romance and lastly, the war. So obviously, because of these flavours, the film has a lot of action and emotions, as well.
You! Which of the two films made you more nervous?
MZ: Both! But obviously, as I am one of the financers in MBG, I wished it to be not only successful but to break all previous records. As far as HTA is concerned, I am playing the lead in the film, which is very important for personal growth in my career.
You! You have played many memorable roles in dramas, as well. How do you like to identify yourself: as a drama artist or a film star?
MZ: Obviously, film is at the top of everything, when it comes to performing arts. Everyone, whether they are directors, actors or other artists and technicians, want to work for film. It is a big canvas with a broad margin, whereas in dramas, most of the work focuses on close lenses. In dramas, we are supposed to deliver dialogues from morning to night but in film, we talk less and act more, and I find it more exciting. To see yourself on the big screen is entirely a different experience and feeling.
You! In which medium do you enjoy acting more?
MZ: In my opinion, television is a facial and vocal medium, while a film is much more about body language. Film is larger than life whereas, television is closer to reality. When you try to go big on TV, it doesn’t fit the screen. Pakistani dramas work on the requirement of television, which is why they are popular all over the world.
You! You have a web series in the pipeline ‘Mandi’, when is it going to be out for fans to see?
MZ: Very soon. I can’t reveal much about it at the moment, but hope that it will capture the attention of the audience as it is made on a very interesting yet bold topic. Basically, it is based on the political scenarios of Pakistan. It is not about any particular person but a fictional story depicting the current situation in the country. The cast includes Saba Qamar, Usman Peerzada, Nayyar Ejaz, Shayan Khan, Ainy Jaffri and many others, with me in the series. The series will soon be released on an international platform.