So, what does it take to make a cinema King? Well, for starters – sprinkle in a bit of television. Then a few dollops of theatre. Oh, and just some dapples of film. Stir that up, along with a dashing personality and impeccable looks, and you get Ahsan Khan. The man has done it all, and is undoubtedly one of Pakistan’s greatest living performers, with his incredibly impressive plethora of work. An unsung hero, he’s a rare breed – a man who relishes in method acting but also dips his toes into the more mainstream pond. We interviewed Ahsan, who is currently promoting his upcoming film ‘Chupan Chupai,’ and the more we spoke to him, we came to a startling realization – we were speaking to a king in the making.
Ahsan grew up in London and moved back home when he was around ten years old. His earliest acting stint came at the age of seventeen, and it was only up and beyond for the child wonder, who toplined a thriving Lollywood scene, working with greats like Syed Noor, Shaan, and Saima. However, it wasn’t for him; Ahsan left for London to pursue performing arts further, returning to a blossoming drama industry in the motherland. He left Pakistan for a while to get a taste of London’s lush theater life, starring at prestigious Sadler’s Well in London in critically acclaimed play ‘Ishq.’
Ahsan’s shining role came as the patriotic and zealous Saleem on ‘Dastaan,’ that shone light on the actor’s tremendous capabilities and talent
And while he toplined many dramas following it, it was his pivotal role on ‘Udaari’ that catapulted the actor into the stars.
‘Udaari’ was more than entertainment for Ahsan, and for the actor, the role was a bestowment from the Higher Being
It was a projection of an underlying problem that has plagued society for far too long – child abuse, something that has become an uncomfortable and unfortunate norm.
The actor’s upcoming drama ‘Aangan’ is based on an award-winning novel by Khadija Mastoor, and is a period play – something the actor is really anticipating
The story is set in the peak of partition, between 1929 – 1950s, and will be the story of two generations, according to Ahsan
Along with ‘Sang-e-Mar Mar’s’ writer Mustafa Afridi, and with Momina Duraid behind the production, ‘Aangan’ is one to look out for.
Talking about his upcoming film ‘Chupan Chupai,’ Ahsan couldn’t be more thrilled, ardently urging Pakistan to support the NAPA (National Academy of Performing Arts) students behind it
It’s their first venture together, and a proclamation of new bustling new talent in the industry. When they approached me they were entirely new people – all I knew is that they were NAPA students. When I met them, they struck me as an intelligent bunch of people, and I felt that they weren’t messing about – they’d have something fun.
He sees the film as a hit, and wanted that break from the heaviness of ‘Udaari;’ he wanted a change – “I don’t do sitcoms, I don’t do comedy really, but I really liked the script”
The film is a comedy with a heart; “it’s about all the kidnappings that have happened in Karachi, and this story keys in on a few unemployed boys desperate to earn money. There isn’t any guidance so they plan to make money by any means, and it’s more than a kidnapping of a minister’s son; it’s about their goals, their plans, and aspirations. It is a comedy the satirizes the ugliest aspects of urban life within a city, and by adding humor and glamour, it gives it a necessary lightness.”
Ahsan’s support for newcomers is heart-aching – the only reason he’s so emotionally invested in ‘Chupan Chupai’
The producers have been very enthusiastic – it’s their dream. They wanted to make a film and for us (Ahsan and actress Neelam Munir) to be there to help them. The film brings together veterans such as the great Talat Hussain, Sakina Samo and also Javed Sheikh who comes in a cameo.
Despite a few, crisp roles that have showcased his unfailing versatility, it’s only the beginning for the actor, as his career unfurls in what is quite the profound revolution in Pakistani television
He treasures two particular dramas very close to heart to date and considers them his two peaks
Mor renowned for his serious demeanor onscreen, humor might not be his forte, but Ahsan will be venturing outside of his comfort zone with ‘Chupan Chupai.’
Ahsan is the prime epitome of a method actor, seeping into each role and identifying it to its very bones
Alternating between genres is never easy for an actor, but for Ahsan, it’s easy breeze, what with him breathing acting so passionately.
“With a passage of time, when you feel slightly content and satisfied with your work – it’s a feeling unlike any other,” expresses Ahsan
Ahsan Khan, ladies, and gentleman.