What was Fawad Khan like before he became a big star? He tells all

If you thought Fawad Khan’s early days sailed as smoothly as his career now, you’re mistaken.

He recalls sibling rivalry, being a slacker at school and feeling ashamed of being a TV actor in an interview with Indian Express.

The popular heartthrob may cause a frenzy wherever he goes, but he was no favourite of his parents. Fawad says he was a victim of the middle child syndrome:

“I have always been the black sheep of the family. I am the middle child, with an older and a younger sister. The older one was studying architecture and would attend a hip college where they would visit old bazaars or work on assignments till 4am. But I would be refused permission if I wanted to go out and, that too, on a Saturday afternoon. I grew up feeling that my parents were partial towards my sisters.”

He goes on to share that he was quite the slacker at school, which explains why his parents may have been hard on him.

“I wasn’t a fan of the university I was attending. I was only bothered about what college my girlfriend — now wife — was going to. Education had lost its importance for me at that point because I was a man who had just fallen in love. Since this university was far from the campus where my wife was, I took up acting as a means of escape. But somewhere, there must have been a tiny desire to become an actor.

After dabbling in theatre for a bit, Fawad got his first big acting gig on TV – and his first paycheck made him “feel like a king”:

“I was 17 when I first acted on stage. I was a part of an Urdu adaptation of Spartacus in the titular role. The director was a TV director, which I didn’t know then. Two years later, he called me to say that he was directing a sitcom and asked if I’d like to be in it. He told me I would make Rs 3,000 per episode. I quickly did the mental math and realised I would be taking home a cool Rs 12,000 Pakistani rupees. I felt like a king.”

We can’t blame Fawad, especially after he admitted to behaving like a pauper at university, a cunning one at that:

“I hope none of my batchmates reads this interview. I was notorious in college for borrowing money and not returning it. I would borrow from several friends until I had collected enough for a meal at some hip eatery. The friends would all make a sour face and I would promise to return them the money soon, which I never did.”

His TV career was bittersweet, though.

“When I did join the industry, I did it with a heavy heart. I used to find TV sub-standard and thought no one watched it. After I was cast in the acclaimed film Khuda Ke Liye, I thought it would open up film avenues for me in Pakistan and, maybe, even internationally. When that didn’t happen, I decided to use TV as a means of polishing my craft. But when my shows received a mad response, I realised I needed to pull my socks up and take this medium seriously. Over time, it started to get repetitive, which is why I decided to veer away. Now, Kapoor & Sons has made me realise that what I want to do more than anything else is to experiment.”

Published in Dawn on March 26, 2016.

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