Amongst the many talented actors our entertainment industry holds, one prominent name happens to be Zahid Ahmed. Known for his deep voice and great acting skills, Zahid has proven his prowess with dramas like ‘Besharam’ and ‘Daldal’.
In a chat with Edition, Zahid spoke about his upcoming projects, his vision and his views on the Pakistani entertainment industry.
Edition: Tell us about your upcoming project with Netflix
Zahid Ahmed: Well at the moment one can’t directly work with Netflix in Pakistan because they don’t have any kind of operations here. What they are doing is that you can pitch an idea/plot to them and if they approve it then you’re supposed to shoot a pilot episode and send it across. They view the pilot and if it meets their criteria, which is very very strict…then we can get the title of ‘Original Netflix Series’.
So this is very much on the table, there’s a huge production group in Pakistan which is supposed to make this, but as to when it will be aired- your guess is as good as mine!
What is the story about?
This is basically based on foreign content, not Pakistani content. It is based on a novel, which is a specific country’s national novel- I can’t tell you which country because that’ll just completely give it away! It’s a beautiful love story and a clash between a muslim man and a christian woman and that brings two societies together, two countries together. So that’s being adapted in Pakistan, and most probably the other country depicted will be China.
Tell us about your upcoming project with Saba Qamar
There’s no such project (laughs)! I visited her set one day to meet Aijazz Aslam, and it turned out that Saba was on set and we took a picture and that picture went around. But no, I’m not shooting with her. I’d love to, it’s always a pleasure working with her.
What has been your most memorable drama or character?
It would have to be ‘Visaal’, which recently concluded, where I play this vagabond. One of the reasons why it’s most memorable is because there’s not very many Pakistani dramas written by a male writer and about a male central character. So Hashim Nadeem sahab, who’s an MNA btw, he writes and this was his play…there’s very few times that you find such a well structured, multi-layered character to perform…and it was a dream to play, I had so much fun.
What do you think our film and drama industry are lacking, or need to work on?
Well I guess I would have to say what lacks really is courage. You’ll see repetitive content on TV because every TV channel will say that they have a rating system and have done their research and this is what the masses want to consume. This obviously means that they don’t have the courage to risk even a small percentage of the business that they’re trying to make…
If nobody is going to take a risk then you’ll find yourself becoming stagnant and complacent…There are very few people who take risks and are courageous, and it always seems to pay off.
What are your views on the new talent coming up in the industry? How do we groom them?
Well this isn’t the stage where you get groomed, because you get groomed by the experiences you have once you are in front of the camera. The real question is whether there is any place in Pakistan where talent is being groomed, and the answer is no…
So there’s a big margin to groom new talent, but despite
that…we keep producing new talent and they groom themselves.
If you were making a drama or a film, what would be your ideal star cast?
Aminah Sheikh would definitely be in it, Saba Qamar would be in it, Fawad Khan would be in it and I would be in it!
Who do you find most impressive in the industry?
The people I’ve mentioned, and Nauman Ejaz. He’s a chameleon, he’s brilliant. Truly impressive.
What’s your take on the Me Too movement?
I completely support the movement and I think it can apply to both men and women.
How do you think one can stop bullying and harassment at work?
With movements like Me Too! It’s created a ruckus in the entire world. It buried a giant like Harvey Weinstein, who was a mammoth producer in a country like the US…Now it has formed legs in Bollywood and in Pakistan so this is progress already. The opposite of this is silence, which has been the case forever, and that I feel is more harmful compared to women having a voice, and like I said this movement should entail everyone.