Bilal Abbas Khan may not be a regular at Pakistan’s film and television industry’s social scene but the young, budding actor has quietly managed to make a place for himself. His soft demeanor and versatile roles and not to forget his charming good looks with that smoulder have put him on the map and in this interview with Pakistan Today, Bilal opens up on his journey and future plans.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Karachi and completed my education from Szabist. To put it simply, just a normal Karachi boy with a dream!
2. When did you decide you wanted to pursue modelling, acting? Did you face any opposition or hindrances from family/friends etc? Who is your biggest support?
Ever since I was a kid I knew this [acting] is what I wanted to do. Like any other person hoping to achieve success, I did face a lot of hindrances, but my father supported me through it all. Even now he’s my biggest support system, critic and fan.
3. Who was/is your inspiration? What is it about acting that you love the most?
Inspiration is everywhere. But speaking specifically, I’m inspired by a lot of veteran actors including Irrfan Khan, Rajkummar Rao and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. All three of them are brilliant actors and I learn from them everytime I watch them onscreen.
There’s not one single thing which I love about acting the most. I love the fact that I get to live someone else’s life everyday; I get to express how they are feeling, empathise with what they are going through and then go back to being myself but always with a different perspective. Such experiences are not only humbling, it is also inspiring and gets me going.
4. What was your first project?
My first project was a soap titled Khush Haal Sasural.
My journey in the industry has been short yet sweet. My project with Kashif Nisar, Dumpukht, was what got me noticed, and was a game changer for me. Since then, life has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride.
5. The term ‘casting couch’ is being extensively used in the film industry all over the world these days. What are your thoughts on this? Do men in the industry face this issue also?
I really cannot comment on the industry, but in my own personal experience, I haven’t faced anything like that. I believe if you’re passionate about your work, are confident and have faith nobody can stop you from reaching your goals.
6. Is there a cult in Lollywood or are people welcoming towards new faces? Were you welcomed with open arms or did you notice any hostility?
Like any other major industry, there are always friend circles, cults, groups, cliques…and Pakistan is no different. But at the same time, I would say that the industry is welcoming towards new faces. I, too, was welcomed with open arms. God has been very kind.
7. It was widely speculated that the LSAs snubbed you and oversaw you in the nomination process. What do you have to say on this and award shows in general?
My awards and rewards are my audiences, fans, people who admire my work and even critics because they challenge me. For me, that matters more than any award show or trophy.
8. You are not a regular feature on Lollywood’s social scene. Is there a reason for this? Do you avoid them?
I’m generally an introvert person and don’t socialise much; I’m content that way. But it’s not like I avoid social gatherings, I just prefer to be with my family and friends when I’m not working.
9. Who is Bilal Abbas Khan as a person? Which one of your characters do you associate with the most?
I have never played a character even remotely close to myself! The real Bilal Abbas Khan in three words is introvert, humorous and weird.
10. Qasim from O Rangreza was one of your most applauded performances. What made you choose that character? What makes you choose scripts/movies etc?
I remember that I was sold as soon as I read the first episode. Qasim’s innocence pulled me towards the character and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. The amount of love Qasim has received is overwhelming to say the least.
And as far as choosing roles and scripts is concerned, to be very honest, there is no formula or checklist for me to pick roles. I just read the script and if it clicks in my head and heart, I’ll do it.
11. Your debut film, Thora Jee Le, failed to impress the box-office. Did that demotivate you? How do you deal with the lows?
Doing a film was an exciting, new experience for me and I wholeheartedly accepted it for the exposure it gave me, and not to forget the relationships I built. With regard to it not doing well, by the time the film was released, I was already busy shooting for Rasm-e-Duniya with the late Roomi Insha and my focus was on what lay ahead instead of what had happened in the past.
However, generally, to deal with the lows, I just go to the gym and work out! The adrenaline rush it gives me is unmatched.
12. Are you interested in working in Bollywood or Hollywood? Which director and actor do you want to work with next?
I definitely want to grow and spread my craft across the globe and if a good opportunity comes my way, I would love to represent Pakistan in Bollywood or Hollywood.
I believe Saba Qamar is a legendary actress, would love to work with her and Farooq Rind, the man behind Baaghi.
15. Lastly, the question which I’m sure all female fans want an answer to. When will Bilal take the plunge and tie the knot?
Haha not anytime soon. Sorry ladies! For now, I’m just taking each day as it passes and focusing on my work.