Art & Culture

Story of a storyteller: Another Fawad Khan from Pakistan you should know about

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When you meet him, his warm smile would want you to become his best friend. And after meeting him you will doubt if he scoops sunshine from air and eats it for morning breakfast. If there is one thing Fawad Khan carries in his aura; that thing is ‘hope’ which the world tells us to lose repeatedly.

The mean little cricket fanatic

He himself says,

“I was a mean kid. If I gave you something today, I will make sure I ask you for something a day after. Also, I hated a cousin of mine. Once I happily asked him for a cycle ride. After that I made sure I dumped him in the dirt. And I did it all without remorse.”

Born to a very loving set of parents, Fawad was born and brought up in Karachi. Being the youngest of the three siblings, he feels he was a little more favored by his mother. Childhood also meant his obsession for cricket, he recounts, “I played most of my waking hours. Not only that when no one was watching I would wear the cricket helmet and the pad, go to the terrace and act as if I was in between a very historical match. That was how I imagined it all. But in reality, there would be no one in the terrace but me.”

The teacher who changed my life

“I was not a bright student. Neither my parents pushed me into academics too much. But when I reached 6th standard, my parents got a little concerned and got me a home tutor, his name was Mueed Sir. Mueed Sir was the kind of teacher who would sit with me with all patience. Even when I messed up with the very basic of science or mathematics, Mueed Sir would clarify them. From then my love for Mathematics and Physics began which till date, has been a constant companion. But the most important thing that I learnt from Mueed Sir, is how to teach. Now that I teach at National Academy Of Performing Arts, I go back to the ways, Mueed Sir taught me and it has worked wonders with the students,” quips Fawad.

But his life took another turn when in his 8th standard plays Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Marylamb  were introduced in the class. Though he was not that great with English, he adds that he did not even speak it well, Mueed Sir would read out the tales for him. That introduced him to a new world of literature that opened windows to him, which he himself was not aware.

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On a lighter note, Fawad shares that he had his first heartbreak when he was in 10th standard. This was his kind of effort to get over the romanticism he felt himself a victim of. Though he laughs at it now, but he says, “Literature taught me to be a better man. In school, I would only indulge in fights and hating my teachers, I hardly knew anything about gender equality or respect for the other sex. It was books that showed me a new world and I chose to be a better man.”

NAPA gives me a new voice

Though deeply interested in literature, the only thing Fawad’s parents ever wanted him is to be an engineer. He thanks his stars that he could not make through any Engineering colleges. So, the next option was to do B.Sc. He got himself admitted to DJ College of science but in the meanwhile he was introduced to the world of movies. He credits his brother and Movie Magic channel on television that introduced him to world cinema. Later the Rainbow Centre at Saddar Market made sure; he got his fix of movies.

During this time, National Academy of Performing Arts was established in Karachi. There was advertisement in the newspapers. It also said that there will be classes on film making. So Fawad went there for films but they taught him theatre which he ended up falling in love with it.  Fawad says, that his audition went really bad, he got admission in NAPA. That he says gave him his voice.”

“NAPA was so different from the life I knew. It was as if I found a sense of purpose. It took me through theatre, plays, directions and opened new horizons of creativity. It gave me wings beneath my flight. I was a new man,” said Fawad.

And his biggest influence at NAPA was Rahat Kazmi.

The struggle begins

Out of NAPA was when real life began. It began well, when the repertory company by NAPA itself hired Fawad as an actor. But the problem began when after one and half years the repertory dissolved and the salary stopped coming. That was when Fawad says,

“I started doing odd jobs. I gave tuitions, I taught where I could, also then I started working in TV serials. But I was such a bad negotiator that I was extremely underpaid.” That was between 2008 to 2010. I almost lost touch to the world of theatre. In between I did two plays, “The Owl and the Pussy Cat,” and “The Odd Couple.” Though it was well appreciated, but our producer could not recover the cost. And I personally earned nothing. Though the experience was immensely satiating, I had almost nothing in my bank account.”

This was when Fawad says an opportunity came when he was again asked by NAPA to direct and act in a play for a newly initiated theatre festival. And the world started rolling. Since then Fawad continued to do theatre consistently that includes Baba Jalinoos (an adaptation of Moliere’s Tartuffe) Raagni (adaptation of Death and the maiden by Ariel Dorfman)  Chaay Kirdar Mussanif Ki Talaash main (adapted from Pirandello’s play) Khel ek raat ka by Melih Cevdet Anday , Juloos a play by Badal Sirca, Kuttay and so on.

In a short time Fawad Khan’s name is counted as one of the best in the business in recent times.  He himself says, “Theatre is where my soul is.”

TV serials, Dastangoi, Storytelling and Movies

Being a lover of stories, children and an immensely talented performer, Fawad started telling stories to children with a group called Toffee TV. His shows were absolute hits and every Sunday children would fill the auditorium to see him perform. In the meanwhile he got involved in the older form of Urdu story telling “Dastangoi.” He says,

“I have been performing for more than 2 years. I was always reluctant because I wondered if people will really like it, in the age of social media and YouTube where everything was at the reach of your finger tip, but I was wrong. There has been never a show that the audience did not enjoy. Even the teenagers who would not get off their phones would compliment and love our shows. It was a dying art, I would love to revive it and bring it to everyone.”

His recent serial “Teri meri Jodi,” did very well in the small screen and two of his movies “JeewanHaati” which also stars Naseeruddin Shah, and another film which is loosely based on Romeo Juliet, “Gardaab” is going to hit the big screen soon.

Fawad says,

“The quest to satiate your own soul and tell a new story inspires me to wake up to a new story each day.”

At present he is busy preparing to act in a new play, “The 12 angry men.”

Life for Fawad ends and begins with stories and he has so many to tell the world. He says that stories are the antidote the painful stories the world tells us each day. He wants to tell stories that make one question and stir the soul. For Fawad each day is an opportunity to tell the world a new story. He wakes up with that hope and hopes when his day is done, he can rest with one!

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Paromita Bardoloi

Writer. Dreamer. Storyteller

About the Author

Paromita Bardoloi

Writer. Dreamer. Storyteller

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