Pakistani dramas are extremely reality based – Adnan Siddiqui

Adnan Siddiqui is a Pakistani television actor who has appeared in many commercials and drama serials. Adnan started his acting career in the 1990s. He gained popularity through his drama Uroosa. Amongst his other notable dramas are Meri Zaat Zara-e-Benishan, Doraha and Maat. Adnan has also been appreciated for his role in Angelina Jolie starrer A Mighty Heart. In 2010, Siddique won Best Supporting Actor Award for Ishq Junoon Deewangi on Pakistan Media Award.

Adnan was seen in Zindagi popular drama ‘Maat’. Adnan played the character of Faisal who is engaged to Aiman and the story takes a turn when he falls in love with her younger sister Saman. Currently he is seen on channel’s latest drama ‘Mere Qatil Mere Dildaar’ alongside renowned Pakistani actors Mehwish Hayat, and Ahsan Khan. Adnan character in the show, Bakhtiyar is completely opposite to his earlier on screen avatar Faisal. Bakhtiyar is a guy with lot of grey shades who despite being married is obsessed with his younger brother’s wife Maham (played by Mehwish Hayat). He makes Maham life a living hell and with his villainous antics is successful in creating enough confusion leading to disruption in the marriage of Umer and Maham.

Indian audience love Maat and Mere Qatil Mere Dildar. What was your reaction when you came to know that Zindagi channel is airing your shows in India?

Honestly, I was not shocked or surprised. There was in fact a point to ponder on why Indian channels have been so late in acquiring Pakistani shows and content. Pakistani dramas have always been brilliant and India should be showcasing more of these. Our dramas and television series are popular all across the world and we have received a lot of appreciation and recognition for this. What always made me wonder was why India has not acquired them, now that they have, I am really happy as this will be a big step towards developing a better understanding between India and Pakistan.

What according to you is the strength of Pakistani dramas?

Pakistani dramas are extremely reality based and will find substance in it. They are like Indian art films, not at all commercial. We try to shoot our television shows in real locations and not on sets, so when you watch our shows there is a very heavy influence of a realistic ambience which makes you believe in the story and the situation. India has a successful film industry and Pakistan does not. Pakistani films do not often withstand the quality and package that the Indian films offer. On the other hand, our TV industry is very strong, while films are weak. It is the vice-versa in India. There the films are strong and television series, dramas have weak story lines and never-ending sagas.

How did Bakhtiyar happen to you?

Before Mere Qatil Mere Dildaar was offered to me, I had not done negative roles. I had always played the chocolate boy or the good man. Bakhtiyar had lot of grey shades and the character sketch impressed and urged me to experiment with this kind of a role. After that show when I used to do out to public places, I have had people walking up to me and telling me that they hate me after watching Mere Qaatil Mere Dildar. I just thank them and tell them that it is Bakhtiyar that they should hate and not me. But somewhere what satisfies me as an actor is that I was able to portray Bakhtiyar so convincingly that it has genuinely influenced people to hate the character. As an actor, I feel I have succeeded. Coming to the script, it was written by Umera Ahmed, who has an excellent ability to convey the most profound and detailed messages in simple language. If in India, an actor receives a script written by Gulzar sahib to play a role in it, they would blindly accept it. That was what my reaction was when Umer Ahmed’s script came to me and I agreed to become Bakhtiyar.

How did you manage to attain such a huge fan following and stardom in Pakistan which has only TV series / dramas when it comes to entertainment. Quite a small bandwidth with a lot of competition, how did you sail through this?

In Pakistan, to be successful as an actor, one is required to impress three groups of people; school going girls, college girls and housewives. If you manage to impress these three groups, you will become immensely popular in the entertainment circuit. Your acting skills, your role and how you package yourself smartly as an actor is what plays a crucial deciding factor is making you a star in Pakistan. For me, showbiz is all about packaging. Those who get it right are happy, and those who don’t remain unhappy. In the showbiz world, there is no privacy. Everywhere you go, everything you do, you are captured on the camera. An actor or a star is always under public scrutiny.

Most of the Pakistani shows are women centric and you also find many women leading the entertainment sector in Pakistan. What is your opinion on this?

I have nothing against this. In fact, I am glad that even the women are coming out in large numbers and showcasing their talent in acting, script-writing, direction and other areas. Coming to shows being women centric, these are issues that have to be addressed as they exist in every society. Television series and dramas are very influential medium through which these problems can be addressed and a possible change can be brought in.

What are the current projects that you are working on?

A: As of now I am doing two projects, one is Ahista-Ahista and the other is a film, Yalgaar which unfortunately may not be screened in India since it is an army-based film. When I get a script, I am extremely choosy, read the script lots of times, try to understand the character thoroughly and read between the lines to see what the script has to convey to the audience. My role in Ahista-Ahista is a very experimental kind of a role and I enjoy doing such roles since it makes me expand by abilities as an actor.

Do you think with the exchange of shows and dramas, the misconceptions people have about Pakistan will be removed or eliminated?

Of course it does. It does bring a lot of change in what people perceive Pakistan as. When we meet Indians abroad in other countries, the warmth and the friendship we share makes me wonder whether there is genuinely any war and enmity between the two countries! All the misunderstandings and wars are created by the ruling bodies of the two countries. Citizens of both the countries are fine and cordial with each other, problems are caused by political issues.

Do you have any plans of collaborating with Indian film makers for any film?

I did get a few offers from India as well, but unfortunately they did not materialize due to various other reasons. Shaanu Sharma from YRF had once contacted me for a negative role in a film, everything had materialized and I was almost going to come to India, when the director felt the age of the villain should be reduced. Hence the plan got cancelled.

Are you receiving more offers from Hollywood?

I had no idea about A Mighty Heart coming my way. This role came to me through a friend’s friend, who gave my name for the audition and asked to give it a shot. When I went to the hotel for the audition, I saw the entire fraternity sitting there and in 15 minutes I had to give my audition. I gave my audition and had a chat with the casting director. The same day I got a call saying that the next day I have a meeting with the producer of the film. When the producer told me it was a Hollywood film and the cast has Angelina in it, I thought it was the Pakistani actress Angelina Malik, and wondering why was he creating so hype around it. Later when he clarified that it was Angelina Jolie, I was very surprised and excited and readily accepted the role.

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