Faysal Quraishi speaks about his upcoming dramas as well as his Hollywood debut with The Window.
Faysal Quraishi continues to intrigue fans with a variety of roles on TV. From playing the anti-hero in the critically and commercially acclaimed Bashar Momin to the role of a stepfather in Baba Jani that concluded earlier this year, he has set the bar high.
Recently, the morning show he had been hosting for years came to an end, paving way for more TV projects for the actor. He will be seen in not one or two but three upcoming drama serials, in addition to his film, Sorry: A Love Story, as well as his Hollywood debut, soon. Besides, the actor-host is also hosting a game show on a private TV channel.
Instep On Sunday got in touch with the incredibly talented artist to find out about his upcoming projects that he is currently busy shooting for. He also got injured (after this interview was conducted) while filming for one of the dramas.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
Instep On Sunday(IoS): Do you miss hosting a morning show that was both popular and entertaining?
Faysal Quraishi (FQ): Of course I do. I miss waking up early in the morning, coordinating with my production team, talking to the guests, spending time with [co-hosts] Aadi (Adeal Amjad) and Faizan (Shaikh) on the sets. It was like a family for me as I spent four years with them, five days a week. It will take time for me to settle down in the post-morning show routine and I hope my dramas will help me forget about that easily.
IoS: How do you plan to stay connected with fans after the conclusion of your morning show?
FQ: I have recently launched my YouTube channel, called Faysal Quraishi Official, and will be connecting with my fans through the digital world. These people are my energy and the more connected I am to them, the better it feels. I will also be doing a game show on a local TV channel which will also keep me connected to them.
IoS: You are presently working on three upcoming dramas; how do you distinguish between multiple characters at a time?
FQ: I have been acting in multiple dramas for a long time so I have some practice. The hairstyle, the wardrobe, the looks do help you a lot when you are a part of multiple productions. I must give credit to Babar Javed who made me act in not one but three dramas at the same time during my early days. We were shooting for Main Abdul Qadir Hoon, Qaid e Tanhai and Mera Sayeen in Turkey at the same time; at times I would be shooting for all three plays, and managed to do it effortlessly. All three of my under-production plays are being shot on different days; in fact, their schedule doesn’t overlap, giving me ample time to prepare for my character. Even then I take a look at the photos ahead of the shoot to recheck if I had missed something. I am glad that I requested Fahad (Mustafa) to delay one of his productions in which I am acting because I don’t have the stamina to manage continuity of four dramas at the same time.
IoS: Tell us about your upcoming, untitled drama that will soon air on Geo Entertainment.
FQ: My last play with Geo Entertainment was Baba Jani where I played a supporting brother, step-father, and husband but trust me, in the upcoming drama I will be playing the exact opposite of my role in Baba Jani. It will be different from Bashar Momin as well because in both these dramas that aired on Geo Entertainment, I was a caring person but my next character – Saif Ur Rehman – is too proud. He is a Cambridge-return feudal who doesn’t care what others think of him or want from him; he marries a young girl despite having a grown-up daughter.
The script has been written by Iqbal Bano and Kiran Shah whereas Shehrezad will be calling the shots. The upcoming, untitled drama also features Haroon Shahid as my nephew, Madiha Imam as my second wife, Sabina Farooq as my daughter, Ayesha Gul as my first wife, besides Ali Ansari, Saife Hasan and Fazila (Kazi) bhabi.
IoS: What are your characters like in the other two projects?
FQ: I am reuniting with director Mohsin Mirza for the first time in 10 years; he will be calling the shots for Loag Kia Kahenge which is the working title of one of my upcoming dramas. Aijaz and I play university friends who have grown up together while Saheefa Jabbar Khattak is part of our group. Loag Kia Kahenge also features Kinza Farooq, Tipu Sharif and Sakina Samo. I was involved in the drama’s writing process and I must say that scriptwriter Soofia Khurram has done an amazing job. It is based on the ‘friendship of a boy-girl’ phenomenon and because one of the characters does something bad, the others have to bear the brunt.
The third serial, titled Deewangi, is written by Saima Akram Chaudhry and is being produced by Aijaz Aslam. Directed by Najaf Bilgrami, it features me alongside the very senior Tanveer Jamal sahib, Jahanara Hai sahiba, Gul e Rana apa, Mariam Mirza, Yashma Gill, Ali Ansari, Jinaan Hussain and Faizan Shaikh. It revolves around misunderstandings between two families created by the character played by Faryal Mehmood, and I am enjoying working with such wonderful people.
IoS: Your last film was released in the late ‘90s; what paved the way for Sorry: A Love Story that is being produced under your own banner?
FQ: In 1997, while I was shooting Ghaddaar, senior film director Javed Fazil asked me to meet him and when I did, he showed me a script, which I instantly agreed to do. When he told me that the script is for TV, I was skeptical because I had done TV as a child star and that was back in the 1980s. He read my thoughts and told me to say yes to the script which went onto become Boota From Toba Tek Singh. He told me that the next 20 years will see the rise of television and his words proved to be correct. He added that the film industry will revive after 20 years and that too from Karachi, and I am surprised that that’s exactly what has happened, and I have been an eyewitness to it. My return to film just happened; it’s not that I didn’t get any offers. I wasn’t happy with what they were offering, and when I did, I launched my own production.
IoS: Word has it that you are doing a Hollywood film, is that true?
FQ: Yes, you have heard it right. I fell in love with the script of The Window and decided to work with Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia, who made Gumm earlier this year. The best thing about the film is the presence of Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir as one of the producers and leading men. Both Sami Khan and I will be reuniting after Bashar Momin and the film will go on floors in a few weeks. It will not only showcase our talent and locations to the people abroad but will also help us establish our identity in Hollywood. Trust me, it is nothing like what you are expecting but better. The film revolves around a real-life incident; as soon as we read the script, we fell in love with it. It’s such a realistic film that will engage the audience.
IoS: Who amongst the newer generation of actors do you consider as someone who can carry the torch forward?
FQ: There are a few good actors who I feel have a spark in them and have the will to go the extra mile. One of them is Bilal Abbas, who did a fabulous job in Cheekh; then there is Imran Ashraf, who prefers versatility over quantity. I have worked with Wahaj Ali and Ahmed Ali Akbar and they are very talented young actors. As far as actresses are concerned, I always praise my frequent co-stars Madiha Imam and Faryal Mehmood, but there are others as well who need to take their game to the next level.
However, I have a complaint from the younger lot; they don’t respect their seniors because they don’t know them. It’s partly the mistakes of channels and also of these youngsters who don’t know their seniors at all. Recently, Nouman Ijaz told me that during the shooting of one of his plays, he met Qavi uncle and touched his feet before going for makeup. Nomi Bhai was shocked when he overheard a few new actresses talking about Qavi sahib amongst themselves as if they had no clue who he was. If those at the helm of affairs in channels don’t take action, then in the coming years, people might forget us as well. This is the best time to construct a Hall of Fame or simply dedicate a Wall of Fame at places like the Arts Council and National Academy of Performing Arts so that rising stars know artists who came before them.