Let’s be honest: it wasn’t until the 2019 blockbuster Anaa that Usman Mukhtar managed to get in the limelight. The actor left a mark on fans and critics alike for his portrayal of Altamash, which was also his TV debut. Since then, Mukhtar has been scaling new heights with one hit drama after another.
Recently, the 36-years-old star has been praised for his role in a star-studded drama serial, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay. The Mahira Khan, Kubra Khan-starrer has been the talk of the town before it even made it to the small screen.
Mukhtar has been rightfully lauded for his performance as Aswad but did you know that the Janaan star had initially refused the offer to play Aswad in the Umera Ahmed penned show? In a recent interview with BBC Urdu, Mukhtar commented that the ‘bitterness’ Aswad originally had in the said novel, had been mellowed down in the drama serial.
“Just as Aswad cannot think that his cousin can lie and constantly believes whatever is being fed to him, a lot of people take fake news as facts,” he said. “I asked a lot of people about vaccinations and they said, ‘Sir, we will die in two years if we get the vaccination,'” he recalled. “If we can fall into believing something unverified on the internet, then Aswad (character) was hearing all this from his cousin. Naturally, it made sense for him to believe her.”
Ticking the right boxes
It’s always a debate when it comes to Mukhtar committing to a project. The actor revealed that he was initially hesitant to take up Aswad’s character – and with good reason. “My friends, my wife tell me not to think too much [when choosing roles], ‘it’s your job’, they would say. But to me, I am an actor. The actors, directors or producers who come on television should be very responsible. The audience sees the content we create, they learn from it. “
Speaking about his latest role. Mukhtar commented, “I found Aswad’s character very negative and I wasn’t really on board with a lot that was expected of me. So I said I’m not comfortable doing it all, so replace me,” But he added the makers were adamant on casting him and making sure he does justice to the role.
While this is Mukhtar’s third serial, he has previously played a key role in Hania Aamir and Naimal Khawar Khan’s Anaa and Mawra Hocane-starrer Sabaat. Initially, the actor-turned-director was a stage star but the love and attention that followed Anaa’s release forced him to delve more into TV.
“Of course I think about it, but I’m an actor. I have to pay my bills. If I say no to every script, I won’t even have money for food.” He further commented how people should keep his onscreen and off-screen personalities separate. “The audience should understand that this is our job and I do what I can [to remain positive],” Mukhtar asserted. “There will be a time when Aswad abuses Mehreen but I told the director that I can’t do it, we can alleviate it,” he said. “I don’t want the audience to think that since he is the hero of the show and he can misbehave with a woman, we [the audience] can easily follow in his footsteps.”
The actor added he was firm on not showing the violence of any form onscreen. “I discussed with the director that we don’t really have to show the women being abused on screen. We can show that Aswad is angry, yet it can be shown without him touching Mehreen. I told them these things could not happen!”
Marrying off his co-stars
Mukhtar had once become the subject of the mem army when netizens pointed out how his co-stars usually tie the knot after starring in the show with them. Now that he, himself, is happily married, how does he really take the jibe? “It was all in good fun. People were making fun of how costars get married because of me,” he quipped. “I will only believe this if Kubra gets married after working with me in Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay.” He went on to add, “If four to five actresses who worked with me get married, then I will start a business to take pictures with me and you will get married.”
Working with Mahira Khan
Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay marks the return of superstar Mahira Khan to the small screen. Talking about the experience of working with her, Mukhtar said that he has seen the Verna star working hard for the role. “She’s the first actor I’ve ever heard tell a make-up artist to not do her makeup. She has played her role very well,” he concluded.