Fawad Khan swooped into Bolly-land with Disney's 'Khoobsurat' where he played a perfect Prince Charming. Every girl skipped a heart-beat when he appeared on the small screen in 'Humsafar' and 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai'. In fact during his Bollywood debut Shobhaa De had declared him in a column to be “the yummiest, most sinful treat in town”.
With the release date of 'Kapoor & Sons' inching closer, the dishy actor gets chatty over his film, his working style, why he shies away from female attention, the funniest rumours about him and much more.
Excerpts from the conversation-
Q. Fawad, in your first film, it was about Kapoor and daughters and now it is 'Kapoor & Sons'. So how has been your journey so far?
A. My journey in between has been very slow according to many people that it took me 2 years to sign a new film and so. But it has been rewarding and that fruit has been great that I've taken from this. So no regrets regarding that and now I am an official Kapoor as well (laughs).
Q. You have taken a lot of time to come up with a second film. Why did it take you so long to come up with your next film?
A. There were films that were offered. It is just that I was looking for some space and my kind of space which I just wanted to try before I ventured out into something which is more main-stream and something that's more my zone. In 'Khoobsurat' I was just testing the waters, in this I've taken a dive in the lake and now after that I am going to go deep sea diving. So it took me a while because I wasn't agreeing with the material that I was being offered. Although it was some great stuff it wasn't of my type.
Q. What was that one thing you liked about the film?
A. It is an amazing script and the sensibilities are very real. It is so real that you actually get immersed in it and it's not a one actor's film. So for a film or any other medium the actors involved, it should be like a collaborative one rather than just one person driving the story. So this gives an equal opportunity for everyone to chip in.
Q: You said that you will now take a dive, so is this how now you will begin to keep your preferences?
A. I will begin to choose as I am bit of a bear as I like to go on hibernation for a long period of time. I don't like working too much as that kind of lifestyle suits me. So I think it kind of suits my temperament. It will be difficult for me to jump from one film to another, I wish I would have been like "main ek set se uth ke doosre set pe jaata and play different characters" but I am not that talented.
Q: You were also working in Pakistan in between?
A. I was only doing advertisements in Pakistan for a long time and not much of films and TV there and 'ab jaakar sign kiya because main thoda badkismat saa hero hu..mujhe filmey nahi offer hui hai pichle 3 saal me and ab jaake I have signed'.
Q. Actors who are with Dharma production have a long association with them, be it Alia or Sidharth. Recently on Twitter Karan even said that he would love to do more films with you. Have there been any talks regarding the same?
A. Let me finish then I will think about the next. Right now after this there is some work of mine left in 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'. Once that's completed then let's see. I think right now it's too premature to talk about this.
Q. Can you tell us something about your character in 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'?
A. My character is of a musician, an interesting DJ and this beard which I am sporting right now is for that character and I guess I should leave it to that because I think then Karan is going to kill me saying that you've away all the plot points and stuff.
Q. It seems that you shy away from attention from women. What you have to say on that?
A. Wow yaar..that's a very interesting question. Because I am very afraid and scared for my life as I know if I don't shy away from that attention then there will be someone waiting at home in the night with a knife.
Q. So, what has been your funniest rumour that you have heard about yourself till now?
A. There has been many as such but the recent one was that I am playing Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. So that was the funniest as I was never approached for the film and neither thought of them.
Q. Fawad, you have two ensemble films. First is this one and second is 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'. Were you sceptical before taking up these films?
A. 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' is something where I am not the main character of the film but it is sort of embedded in the story. So that is the concept for which I would like to play this character. It is not exactly cameo but it is an important role in the film. So you should focus on what you are actually doing in the film rather than thinking of how much screen time I am getting. I look at whether the character is interesting or not and the content is engaging enough.
Q. When the trailer launch happened Karan Johar said that its only you who can make her mother smile and Alia said even her mother feels the same. Are you aware of such things at this age because of the way you are?
A. Actually, I am more aware of popularity in that age because everyone keeps coming to me and saying that my mother is a very big fan of yours. So I am more aware of that than the lower age bracket and that makes me sad (laughs) but I enjoy it with the fact that " maa ko accha lag gaya to beti ko pasand aa hi jaaega" (jokes).
Q. You have a great fan following in India. So which kind of Bollywood actor has a such kind of fan following in Pakistan.
A. Everyone I would say. I think there are few "jinhone kaam itna kiya nahi hoga" and that is why they are not much known but everyone is known and loved in Pakistan. You just tell me one actor who is not known in Pakistan. There's an equal amount popularity there. All Indian actors are known very well in Pakistan. People there go out and watch their films in large numbers whenever they are released.
Q. After many films releasing in Pakistan, do you think it will become a good market for Indian films there?
A. Pakistan is a sizeable market for Indian films even now, like it's the 3rd largest market in the world I think as of what I know. Maybe 3rd or 4th. There's a quite lot of viewership in Pakistan, but the only problem is that theatres are in limited numbers. So if a film gets liked by people it gets a longer run. Basically it works on public demand. Here, there is a cycle where your time is up and you are out. So there is more opportunity to see films in Pakistan even months after its release.
Q. There might be discontent among the people there that Indian films prevent Pakistani films from getting theatrical outlets just as happens with Marathi films here as local people are hostile towards it...
A. I think that's true in every industry in the world. Here also its not just Marathi films but Hollywood films earlier because there is a certain amount of insecurity over not being given preference. Now in Pakistani film market they have their own culture. There is a certain lobby of people who like to say that this competition is going to eat us up so let's not let them in. But then there are also other people who encourage these films and say that the business will thrive. If you see the result right now people are flocking there to watch Pakistani films, yes right because of spirit of nationalism which is a great thing. I think that is the case anywhere in the world. That has only happened because we have allowed international films to come in otherwise the theatres would have been shut down by now.
Q. You became a household name after 'Zindagi Gulzar Hai' and now after your success in Bollywood if given a chance will you return back to TV?
A. I would love to back on TV but probably in a different way. I've been a big fan of what I've been watching recently like "Fargo", "True Detectives" and "House of Cards".If the content is relevant that is of our society and culture then something on those lines I would like to try. Then I would go back to TV.
Q. Would you consider playing villainous roles in future?
A. Yeah, I would love to play a villain. Why not?
Q. There are rumours doing rounds that you are going to play a gay in 'Kapoor & Sons'...
A. Well, everybody is a gay (jokes). Well, I think if there is something about this film, it's not on sexuality and not about love triangles. There's a lot of misconceptions about the film of what it's supposed to present and how it is supposed to shock people. But having said that if there was a role to be played that was gay I don't think there should be anything wrong in doing it.
Q. How has been your chemistry with Alia on and off screen?
A. Off-screen we talk very little because I think that she is such a busy actor that normally she would come to the set and work long hours and go to sleep and should be off with another project. She was probably shooting for that time for I think ' Udta Punjab'. So, "hamaari baat chit bahot kam hui hai but as far as I think as a human being she's a very smart women. Contrary to what all the rubbish that goes around about her. She's very smart and as intelligent as I think of a 35 or 40 years old. Her observation is very clear about the film industry and she can out speak you.
Q. Was it very easy to break the ice?
A. No, she is very intimating. She comes out as a hammer which is a great thing. She is so spontaneous. I wasn't prepared for that.
Q. How was your experience with Rishi Kapoor as he is known to be upfront and blunt?
A. That Sidharth will tell you better and "woh to yahi bolenge ki main toh ji bahar se mehmaan aaya hu naa toh woh toh zyaada kadar karenge meri" but the truth is I don't know why but he likes me more than them. He has been just complimenting with me and very courteous with me. "Unhone wakaye me woh mezbaan wala sulook kia hai mere saath" ,like a proper host and he's been like a constantly asking me that would you come with us and have a dinner? He likes to know what's going around the other side. He has been very friendly.
Q. How familiar are you with Rishi Kapoor's past work?
A. I've seen his much main stream work because I remember I've watched his films like 'Chandni' and 'Bobby' in childhood. Frankly speaking when I was travelling I had access to only mainstream Hindi cinema and that too very little and I am very big fan of his work.
Q. Were you nervous in working with a senior actor like him?
A. Obviously, "hota hai". My one preconceived notion from my past experiences has been that senior actors tend to be little more cranky and someone had told me that, " Rishi sahaab ke saamne agar apni line bhool jaao dialogue ki to" he will just give it to you really hard. So I was like line agar main bhool gaya to ye to galat kaam ho jaaega. So I started making lines on my own but then I realised that it's completely contrary to what someone had told me. He is wonderful guy to work with and an amazing person to hangout with.
Q. Are you doing Sonam Kapoor's 'Battle for Bittora'?
A. There has been talks but there has been no development as yet. I have come to learn that they have come up with another draft. But they might be also talking to other actors. It might materialize. You were supposed to meet but that didn't happen earlier because Anil (Kapoor) was busy. But if it happens that it would be nice. It's a nice script.