From Dreamers to Khuda Mera Bhi Hai – Furqan Qureshi

The Hardcore Serious Actor of This Generation in Pakistan

Gives it all to Us

1. Not many people know you picked your family surname much later in life, while even until you were a fresher looking for work in the business of entertainment, you used your dad’s first name ‘Khalil’ as your last name. Your sisters tend to face this question a lot as to how come you’re siblings if the surnames are different. Let’s put you through this question for a change and not them J Why the change?

Haha, well it is all about the name in our business! The right name can actually do wonders. I felt my family name ‘Qureshi’ as opposed to my last name ‘Khalil’ was much more popular in the showbiz and had a higher recall value comparatively so I went ahead and embraced it in my professional life. I feel sorry for my sisters though.

2. While people who may have met you even once, know for a fact you have a very unique and rich sense of humor, to the extent that ‘Humor’ can pretty much be your middle-name, how come we’re yet to see you in any such light-hearted, comical roles to date?

I think most of the people I’ve bumped into in my field don’t/can’t understand my humor and to be honest I have stopped being funny because if you make them laugh they don’t take you seriously, and sadly people who are funny are foolishly considered foolish here.

3. How did your first break ‘Dreamers’ happen? Being an “outsider”, coming from a white-collared family of bankers and lawyers, what did it mean to you?

‘Dreamers’ was sheer luck and destiny. I was struggling and auditioning my lungs out when I got a forwarded message which said: Reach at Aag TV office at 4am. The director – Azfar Ali was taking the audition. Ironically all he told me to do in that audition was to ‘scream’ as loud as I can which I did and got selected as one of the three main leads. Fortunately ‘Dreamers’ turned out to be a massive hit and we became celebrities overnight. That was my first taste of stardom and then there was no looking back. One can overcome being broke but one can’t overcome being famous.

4. Also, what pulled you into relentlessly trying to make your mark on television and not just be say another banker or lawyer in your family?

To be honest, acting wasn’t something I chose and it’s not what I always wanted to become. On the contrary, I’d say acting chose me. I thought this was my only savior and how I’d be able to survive in this one profession alone.  I knew for a fact that I didn’t have what it takes to make it elsewhere as I just couldn’t co-exist with people who talk basic common sense and presume themselves to be genius.

5. You’re 6.3! A rare sight in Pakistan! Growing up what’s the kind of “attention” from the ladies you had to deal with? Let’s not assume you didn’t enjoy it though… J

I didn’t know being tall was so exclusive and cool until I started acting and as far as the women are concerned, tall or short, if a man is good with his words women would like you, regardless.

6. Conventionally speaking, someone with your kind of lean structure, height and sharp face-cut is quite the model material. Before you ventured into acting, did modeling never cross your mind? Were you approached for the same by some worthwhile names ever?

Well, no. Modeling was never my game but to answer your question, I sure am approached for it.

7. You lost your father at a rather young age. Do you think that changed the course of your life significantly? What was your equation like with him?

Abu’s death changed everything I thought was right. I think parental death is the biggest confidence breaker a person can go through. I could have easily ended up a druggy with no proper degree or direction as, but instead I used my pain to fight my demons. Now that he is not alive I understand ‘EVERYTHING’ he said was right. Had he still be alive believe you me I wouldn’t have been an actor. Everything happens for a reason.

8. Everyone prioritizes one thing or the other in life, be it wealth, education, stability or success. What would you say is your utmost priority – That one element that matters to you the most to invest yourself in and keeping the balance in your life?

I think since I saw bankruptcy at a young age and since then, it has become my biggest nightmare. Everything is either black or white. I became ruthlessly practical. One’s got to have money to even think, imagine, create breath, eat and cry. For me the ultimate priority of life is wealth and the rest automatically follows. I don’t like living in a bubble. 

9. That one role closest to your heart that you’ve played to date – And what was the audience’ response on it like?

I think Agha from Dreamers is hands down the closest to my heart.

10. Khuda Mera Bhi Hai was phenomenal! How did that power-packed role come your way? Needless to say, you pulled it off with all your heart and gave us such a pure and brave performance!

To be honest I wasn’t ready to do a transgender’s character fearing backlash as people here in general aren’t too supportive when it comes to such subjects but then I thought such roles don’t come every day and I did it. After Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, I was considered a serious actor and not just some random pretty boy. 

11. You seem to hit off really well with your two sisters! Any one good quality that you’ve picked up or would like to pick up from each of these ladies?

Have two elder sisters – brothers I might say as they have been my ultimate pillars of strength throughout my journey of struggle. Had it not been for them I wouldn’t have been where I am today. Choosing one good quality would be difficult as these girls are filled with some remarkable qualities. From Faryal I’d pick perfection as there is nothing she can’t do to the very best. From Fatma I’d pick simplification and clarity. She makes things clear and simple. It is black or white.

12. Lately, you’ve become quite the face to encounter at numerous popular morning shows! In fact, it looks like you’re Nida Yasir’s and Sanam Baloch’s favorite guest. Is there a coherent thought gone behind this (to be seen more frequently) or you’re just a sweet soul to grace the invitations that come your way?

To be honest going to shows in the morning looks easy but it is tough when I got married I wanted to go to a few shows to formally announce and inform people that I am married. Nida bhabhi and Sanam are great individuals and good friends.

13. You have been charged guilty. Guilty of not being as much out there in the game of Public Relations and Networking per say. In mere business terms, you do not market or push yourself the way some rising stars or even the seasoned ones are seen embracing. Why so? Won’t you like to change that?

I know I find it too pretentious and nakli i know my job is to exhibit myself in every which way possible and I am changing my strategy now because sadly it took me a while to realize and agree that in today’s time your talent is measured by the number of followers you have on social media. 

14. How do you react to scandals and/or negative fan comments online? Have you been a target to some such ugly scandal ever? And did it affect your personal life in any manner?

I hate it when people who work in ‘SHOW’ business complain of people interfering with their personal life. Once your face is on the screen and it gets registered, NOTHING remains personal. All their lives they work for their face to be recognized and when it finally does for the right or the wrong reason, it becomes a matter of personal space. Scandals, criticism, hate speech is quiet the part and parcel of this business and one should learn how to make peace with it and keep working. 

15. You’re a typical Capricorn we hear. Do you believe so too? Do you at all believe in a person taking after the personality traits defined by their zodiac?

I don’t generally believe in Zodiacs as I think it is too generalized.

16. What’s that one thing you’ve learnt in life the hard way?

The only thing I have learnt the hard way is not taking yourself seriously.

17. That one thing you won’t ever want to change about your life?

I’d like not to ever drink or be pretentious.

18. Your all-time favorite movie?

My all-time favorite movie would sure be Shawshank Redemption and Pursuit of Happiness.

19. What’s your personal style statement like? Define it.

 Oh I am not too high on fashion per say. I stick to solid mute colors and lean cuts.