MODEL TURNED ACTOR SAAD QURESHI THE VERSATILE PERSONALITY
Have a peek into the journey of an exceptional model and a phenomenal actor. Get to know him as a person, his educational background, the challenges he faced, his go-to style and much more. Read the full interview …
Hello Saad, we are so happy to have you here. Before we start, can you tell us a bit about you? Your background, childhood, family etc.
I was born in Multan and, even though I lived there for only three years, I have a great affinity with the city of saints. Spirituality is a part of my being and I believe that in choosing the city of my birth, God ordained a life of spiritualism for me.
I was the youngest of four brothers and grew up in the city of Islamabad. Life as a child was very sheltered and protected for me; my parents and brothers were always there for me, through thick and thin. We were a very close-knit family and enjoyed each other’s company immensely. Hanging out together was our greatest pleasure. I did not have a lot of friends, as a child, given that the camaraderie with my brothers fulfilled a lot of the needs for friendship. It was a happy and healthy childhood.
After completing my high school education, I moved to Canada to study business at York University in Toronto.
How was your experience of studying abroad?
The experience of studying and living in Canada was great. I came of age in the country. It was for the first time in my life that I was on my own, without the safety net that my family members had always afforded me. I worked part-time while pursuing a bachelor’s degree at York. It was hectic but truly wonderful. Living in Canada was a veritable learning experience that allowed me to grow as a person while getting a quality education. I gained confidence in myself, developed the ability to forge friendships, discovered the pleasure of earning a living, started appreciating cultural diversity, increased my sense of responsibility, and grew into a more mature, kind and understanding person than the one who moved to Canada at the age of eighteen.
What inspired you to step into the Pakistani entertainment industry?
I developed a love for cinema as a child and, over the years, I gained a great appreciation of the performing arts. I was fascinated by the way in which actors transformed themselves into totally different people in moves. The work of method actors, in particular, captivated me immensely. As I grew older, my love for acting increased and I started watching the work of Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hillary Swank, Christian Bale, Al Pacino, and a few other actors with great interest and attention, often replaying scenes from their movies, over and over again. When I returned to Pakistan, after completing my education in Canada, the Pakistani entertainment industry was doing very well. It was perhaps for the first time in the country’s history that actors were treated with respect and regard. The profession has become financially viable and held considerable cachet and prestige. Moreover, a lot of good movies and television plays were being made at the time and actors had a wide variety of good roles to choose from. The time seemed right for me to enter the world of show business and take up a vocation that had always been of great interest to me. I seized the opportunity and jumped into the field with both feet.
As you have no background in the acting industry, did you face any challenges? Is your family supportive and stood by your decision?
Yes, I faced a lot of challenges. The first was to learn the craft of acting. The second was to enter an intensely competitive and saturated industry, with class, dignity, and honesty. The third was to secure projects with the right directors and writers. And the fourth – the biggest - challenge was to find the courage to turn down projects that I felt would not allow me to shine as an actor. Thanks to my determination, the unwavering support of my friends and family members, and, of course, God’s kindness, I never found any of these challenges to be insurmountable, and I have never once regretted my decision to become an actor. My family has always stood by me, and I remain grateful for their tremendous support and love.
As a fresh face of this industry, do you easily face the camera, or are you camera shy?
I love the camera and believe that the camera loves me. The camera is my friend; I joke with it, flirt with it, confide in it, and, occasionally, share my deepest emotions with it. All my life, I have been a shy person and an introvert, but not when I am acting. Strangely, my personality changes completely when I face the camera; I get energetic, I get bold, and I get gutsy. The camera helps me let go of all my inhibitions and fears. Acting is, therefore, a truly liberating experience for me.
You’re working as an actor and a model both, what do you enjoy most?
I have done very little modelling and do not enjoy it. Acting is my true love. I have always focused on acting and work very hard to improve my craft.
Modelling can be fun and lucrative, but it is not for me. I am an actor and I want to remain one.
Are you willing to take up any script? Or are you careful and picky about your characters? Tell us more.
I am very careful in selecting acting projects but would not say that I am picky, because the word has connotations of arrogance, and I am a humble person.
I did not join the world of show business to gain fame, fortune, or glory. My only goal was to become an actor who is known and recognized for his talent and histrionic abilities.
That remains my one and only goal. Selecting acting projects willy-nilly without proper deliberation, care and consideration would prevent me from achieving the goal. I have to resist the temptation to take on all projects offered to me. It is not easy to turn down work, but I do so whenever I feel that a role offered to me would not allow me to do my best as an actor. That is very difficult but the right thing for me to do.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
My biggest career challenge has been to live up to the standards of acting that I have set for myself.
I want to be in the league of actors like Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hillary Swank, Christian Bale, and Al Pacino; anything less won’t do. I, therefore, work very hard and tirelessly to improve my craft and will continue to persevere until I achieve eminence in the field of acting.
What are some of the things on your bucket/must-do list?
It is a very long list. I want to travel the world; I want to use my celebrity to bring about positive social change; I want to be one of the Pakistani show business personalities who help put the country’s work on the international map of film and television; I want to grow the charitable organization that my wife and I have set up, and I want to get into film and television production.
A Pakistani actress you would love to share screen space with?
At the risk of making some female actors angry with me, I must say, that it is Sajal Aly.
How do you define style? What’s your go-to style?
Comfortable, distinctive, original, and not dictated by fashion and fad. One’s individual style is everything and fashion is not much at all.
The last one, where do you want to see yourself in the next coming years? Mostly in dramas or do you have an interest in the film industry as well?
I can see myself as an actor who continues to work on his craft and becomes better with every new project.
I hope to work as an actor on all platforms – television, theatre, and cinema – and get renown at the global level. On a personal level, I want to continue to work on becoming a better Pakistani, a better Muslim, and a better human being.
One song that always stays on your playlist?
‘Don't You Worry Child’ by the Swedish House Mafia.
Define yourself in three words?
Passionate, kind, and respectful.
Favourite Netflix series?
The British anthology series, ‘Black Mirror’.
Who is your inspiration and why?
It is my father because he is successful and owes his success to no one but himself.
Your best feature?
What advice would you give to your young self?
Stay focused, have faith, work hard, and believe in yourself.
Best fashion advice you’ve ever gotten?
I do not believe I have ever received any good fashion advice.
Are you boring or a fun person?
I think I am a fun person - energetic, agreeable, and kind.
What is the first thing you notice when it comes to the opposite gender?
It is the eyes.
Favourite person to hang out with?
It is, without a doubt, my wife.
INTERVIEW: H! PAKISTAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: FAYYAZ AHMED
FASHION DIRECTOR: EHTESHAM ANSARI
GROOMING: JAZE IJAZ SHAREE