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He hit Bollywood with the force of a typhoon. His brooding prince act in the candy-floss romcom Khoobsurat gave women a new name to swoon over. But there was a long break between his first and second film in Hindi films. In between, there were ad campaigns, sizzling covers and the rare appearances. Thankfully, that long wait has ended with Kapoor & Sons. While the verdict is still awaited on this one, Fawad is taking it easy. There is none of the pre-release stress or the nervousness on his face as we fire away our questions…

Fawad, you have such a strong female fan following. Every actor’s mother also loves you including Karan Johar’s! So how did your association with Karan begin?

To be very honest, Karan has also said that it was his mother who had drawn his attention to me. She used to rave about me and so did her friends so that kind of favoured me, I think. They used to say ‘You should do a film with him, take him in your film’ and such things. He had not seen my work, then he started watching and well, he liked me so yeah, that’s how it started.

Who has been your role model?

My role model these days is… I really look up to my wife. She is a very balanced person. She looks at things from a very unbiased perspective. Over the years, I started feeling that I was failing. I do tend to lose my perspective and start judging things wrongly. But she reminds me constantly to look at things or films from a particular point of view. So, for her to be there constantly by my side, makes her my role model.

How is working in India different from working in Pakistan?

See, the mechanics of any filmmaking are the same. In the shooting, the craft of acting, in theatre or recording a song the mechanics are the same. The difference comes in the technical expertise. There is also a difference in the availability of technicians in each space.

Two brothers falling for the same girl is an age-old theme, reprised over the years. How would you say is the treatment different in this film?

Yes, you’re right. I think the treatment of the film here itself is the uniqueness of it. It is treated in a subtle and real way. Here the actors are not larger than life. We have seen brothers embroiled in some conflict, either there is some infusing action – here that is not the case. What makes this film more adorable is that it focuses on the relationships of the people in it as opposed to looking at one person carrying the film. This film is carried by all family members. Also I feel if the product is good and likeable then it need not be different for the audiences.

How do you feel when you’re working in India?

I feel at home! Yes! See, I go anywhere else in the world, London or New York, you’ll always feel like a foreigner but you land in India, the faces are the same, the language in the major part of the country is similar. You feel back at home.

How do you work out the fine details of the character?

Well, I just ask my director (laughs)! It is actually true. I ask questions about the character like where he’s born, his favourite food, what does he like to eat, what kind of books he reads, how he abuses… etc. I just feel that adds to the dimensions of a character and then you can somewhat method it.  If that is not given to me in material then I try to invent that.

What kind of personality are you, because here you’re all poised and calm but in some of the behind the scenes videos we see you having fun, and letting your hair down!

(Laughs) That is a million dollar question – I myself am figuring the answer to that! I think I have multiple personality disorder now. This reserved nature has always been a part of me but whenever and wherever I become comfortable, I do become a kid. Fortunately Shakun caught me off it and I hate him for it.

You’ve lent your voice to a band earlier. Any plans to sing for Bollywood?

I was never an accomplished singer; I just used to scream on stage! I was part of a Heavy Metal band; that’s the kind of rebel without a cause I was in those days. We used to basically behave like gorillas and monkeys on stage. I have literally broken stuff on stage. I was just angry for the sake of being cool.

Coming to now, I have started listening to a lot of stuff but I think it is a little late now to venture into that field. I cannot even learn that now. I have been writing stuff, world-based. But I cannot really fit into the Bollywood kind of music, I guess.

You’ve said that you were a little intimated by Alia. Why would that be?

Haha, I’ve not said that! Well, she is a little deceiving and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Like, she seems like this sweet little girl and then suddenly she comes up and starts talking and you’re just like, ‘Okay, wow!’

Whatever time I have spent with Alia, I have understood her to be very intelligent, very observant about her craft. She is very informed about the mechanics of acting, not just from the actor’s point of view, but even as the director or producer. At such a young age she has compressed so much knowledge about performing! I don’t know what she is going to do in the next 10 years; she is just going to wipe us all clean!

Coming to the intimidating part, I wasn’t expecting we’d jam along so fast. She started it and I was like, ‘Oh hold on, wait a second.’ It takes me two or three trial rounds to understand the diction, what word to choose where.

Does this extreme female adulation affect your performance?

Yes, it definitely makes me nervous. When people’s expectations are raised regarding you, then if your next work fails to impress them it will be, ‘Oh he’s just a one-hit wonder.’ So yeah, that’s obviously the tension I carry. But I have been carrying it before any other project of mine. That feeling actually allows you to compete with yourself…Try something different, try harder, so that this time it shines better than before. So that apprehension works.

Fawad, is it flattering to be rated as ‘Sexiest Man’ time and again?

I just find it hard to believe and that’s why it kind of bothers me sometimes. I don’t think of myself as a great handsome person. Because I know if I actually was, I’d definitely flaunt it and I’d flaunt it in many ways!

With constant attention being drawn to the Sid-Alia pairing, did you ever feel isolated?

(Laughs) See, the thing is Sidharth and Alia are definitely loved as an onscreen pair. When you’re sitting in an interview, that’s where the isolation happens. Most of the time journalists are asking, ‘How did you celebrate each other’s birthday?’ or that sort of thing, so at that time I just sit quietly. People are digging so they’ll ask that. If they want to ask me questions, they certainly will.

How much does the business of a film matter to you?

I believe in realistic expectations at the box-office. I mean, the producers should get their money back otherwise how will the industry work? But I think this race to make money like Rs.200 crore, Rs.300 crore and so forth is sucking the passion, originality and ingenuity out of films. I often sit down and criticise my own work. I think films are not made the way they used to be. It has become so much of a fast-food race, it is almost like a casino table, who makes the most turnover? I don’t like to get into that, may the producers profit.

You’ve played the romantic hero constantly. Do you think you should try something else now?

Yes definitely, I would like to play more characters; I would want to try something new. I like actors like Peter Sellers, there was a Pakistani actor Moin Akhtar and in India, Mehmood – they were known for their disguises. I’d like to do comedy as well. I think that craft can be used seriously as well. I think one should basically change their outlook to keep themselves fresh. I love what Aamir Khan does, I really admire his career graph. Be it TV or a film, the character needs to be interesting enough so that you entertain your audiences.


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