Thursday July 18, 2024

“Our aim is to do lots of experimental work.” – Usman Mukhtar

By Maria Shirazi
June 28, 2022

Karachi:It was back in 2006 that actor-director Usman Mukhtar started doing theatre, and 10 years later, he made his acting debut in 2016 with the movie Janaan. He later played a key role in Parchi (2018), featuring Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan. However, in 2019 Usman transitioned from the big screen to the small screen with drama serial Anaa, followed by Sabaat, in which he played the role of a psychiatrist, Dr Haris.

Usman Mukhtar last appeared in Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay and essayed the character of Aswad Ayub. Though Usman became a household name due to his acting projects, he initially started out his journey as a director and has worked on different projects in the past. His first directorial venture was a short film called Aasia. It was based on a case of child molestation. Moreover, Usman has an award-winning short, titled Bench, to his credit that he produced, directed, and acted in as well. In an earlier interview with Instep, the Anaa actor revealed that though he isn’t formally trained in filmmaking, he’s always been passionate about working behind the lens. Case in point: Usman’s upcoming horror short film Gulabo Rani, which he has helmed as well as produced. The teaser is already out, and all we can say is that it is intriguing and quite horrifying.

Instep got in touch with Usman Mukhtar to get some insight regarding his upcoming project. The short is a collaboration between Eastern Terrestrial (ET) Studios and Down Town Films which is written by Ali Mudar and Millennial Rants. According to the actor, he chose to dabble with horror because he feels people don’t experiment enough with this particular genre in Pakistan. “We don’t generally work on different genres, and horror is something which we’ve put in the B grade category. So I think that was one thing, and our goal with ET Studios is to do a lot of experimental work that has not been done in Pakistan before,” Usman tells Instep.

Speaking about how the idea of Gulabo Rani came about, he shares, “I heard this story about a University in Taxila in 2004/2005, and it stayed with me for a very long time. I wanted to work on it for quite some time, but due to budget constraints, I couldn’t. However, I finally decided that it was about time that I go ahead and make it.”

The trailer says that the short is inspired by true events. When we asked Usman about it, he didn’t get into a lot of details because if he did, then somehow he’d be revealing the plot of the film. As far as the title is concerned, Usman says that once you watch the short film, you will find out why it is named Gulabo Rani.

So, how difficult was it to do horror? The actor responds, “I actually had a lot of fun experimenting with horror. I love working on different genres. Whether it’s Bench or Gulabo Rani, both were completely different experiences and amazing ones at that.”

As for his upcoming projects, Usman Mukhtar reveals that currently, he is in the process of reading drama scripts, and he’ll be announcing it soon. “However, there are a few directorial projects in the pipeline.

We are planning on making a pitch trailer for a very ambitious project because it’s slightly bigger budget, production-wise, which we will do later this year. Apart from that, there are some interesting projects as well,” he concludes.