One of the most talented actors in the Pakistan's world of showbiz today, Mikaal Zulfiqar, made his debut in 2000 from a TV commercial and then followed it up with a hit music video Sanu Teray Naal Pyar Ho Gaya with Abrar-ul-Haq. Soon enough, however, he shifted his focus and ventured into acting which proved to be a fruitful decision for him. Since then, he has somehow carved a niche for himself with his multi-talented persona and his chocolate-boy looks. Nowadays he can be seen in numerous blockbuster drama serials and commercials. Some of his successful projects include Saiqa, Pani Jaisa Pyar, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan, Durr-e-Shahwar, Shehr-e-Zaat, Talafi etc. What's worth mentioning about his screen presence is that no matter how negative the character, he manages to instill likeability to his roles. In a chat with Mag4you.com Mikaal discussed his passion for acting and his future projects. Excerpts:
Please tell us how you ventured into showbiz?
It happened by chance actually. I was studying at the time, when I got the offer to do a commercial and one thing just led to another. So, it was not something that I had ever planned, it just happened.
How did your transition from modeling to acting happen?
Well… of course acting was a natural progression for me. In the beginning, I did a lot of commercials but as time passed I just knew that I wanted to do more because one cannot simply rely on modeling as a career. So, I gave acting a shot, quite liked it, and I continued with it.
Did you get full support from your family?
Yes, I did. Although, initially they had some reservations but as they saw my work, it settled all their doubts.
And now when they see your performances, do they criticise your work?
Of course, they do. My siblings criticise my work the most, although they do not get the opportunity to see much of it as they all live abroad, but whenever they do I have to face a lot of criticism. I have my biggest fans as well as my biggest critics at home!
The characters you have portrayed in Pani Jaisa Pyar and Shehr-e-Zaat are quite complex. So are you moving away from the romantic characters that you played earlier in your career?
The credit goes to our drama industry which has come a long way in the past few years. The overall situation has improved tremendously; we have better scripts now, our production teams are better equipped, we have more knowledge, which is why I am a better actor than I was five years ago. So, it is a combination of many different things because of which great dramas are being produced.
Shehr-e-Zaat has been doing really well. What would you like to say about your character in the serial?
Shehr-e-Zaat is a very complicated story and it is a great opportunity to work with Sarmad again. My character is not outrightly negative, it appears that way when you judge it through Falak's point of view. The character is quite different and dark, and as I personally enjoy playing negative roles, I am enjoying this one as well.
Which one is your favourite character played to date and why?
This is a tough question. There are a few actually; Mansoor's character in Durr-e- Shahwar is very close to my heart, Shimraiz's character in Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan… was also quite fun to do. From the recent serials, I like my character in Man Jali and another one which I am particularly fond of is Imaad's character in Talafi.
What sort of characters would you like to play in future?
I would like to play all kinds of characters. I used to be scared of doing comedy but then I did it in a cellular company's ad campaign and I enjoyed it a lot. So, I would always prefer to do something different every time rather than doing the same kind of stuff over and over again.
Do you watch your dramas and review your performance to improve yourself? Or are you mostly content with your work?
Yes I do, and I am my biggest critic. Initially, I could not bear to watch my performances, because they were so bad (laughs). However, I got better with time and learned from my mistakes.
Let's move on to your Bollywood projects. Your last movie U R My Jaan did not do so well on the box office. What do you think is the reason behind that?
It had many challenges; a new cast, new director and producer, then the releasing time wasn't so good either, so these are some of the reasons why the movie didn't do well. Despite all that, my experience was phenomenal, as it was an A class Bollywood project, and I was quite satisfied with my character. The film although wasn't well received but luckily I was well received, and I also got some good critical write-ups there. So if I get the opportunity to do it all over again I probably would, knowing that this would be the outcome.
You have done two Bollywood movies till now but you didn't create that much of an impact as Ali Zafar has. Your comments?
Ali is a fantastic actor and singer and I am a big fan of him. We are great friends and we have always supported each other. As far as Ali's Bollywood success is concerned, he has been very lucky. His debut movie did extremely well and then his second movie starred big names like Katrina and Imran. I would also like to take up massive projects like these in future.
So are there any Bollywood projects in the pipeline?
Not really. I had some offers but I have decided to wait for the right opportunity. My focus is entirely on dramas right now, because I am doing well and I would like to continue with it. Of course, if a really good opportunity comes my way then I would definitely consider it.
Who is your favourite director to work with?
We have so many talented directors in the country. Currently I am shooting with Anjum Shehzad, he is fantastic. Others like Haissam Hussain, Sarmad Khoosat, Nadeem Baig and Yasir Nawaz, are also quite exceptional. As far as TV commercial directors are concerned, Ahsan Rahim is a genius.
So are there any plans of going into direction anytime soon?
Yes I do have plans, but not right now. I might start production soon but I would probably go into direction after 40. I am 31 now, so till 35 atleast, my focus would entirely be upon acting.
How do you unwind?
When I get free time, I like to do nothing, stay at home with my family or lie in bed for the entire day. I used to enjoy playing golf but I just do not get the time anymore.
You are considered as quite a heartthrob. Would you like to share any crazy fan's story with us?
Well… there is not any crazy story to share but I do get loads of phone calls on regular basis. I get a lot of text messages as well, like there are some crazy fans who message me daily, and send their well wishes and love.
Please tell us about your forthcoming projects?
I have a number of exciting projects coming up. The latest one that is about to come out is called Saat Pardon Main. I am really looking forward to this one because my character in it is very bold. I am playing a flamboyant actor who indulges in all those stereotypes which are normally associated with actors. It's a very powerful and dramatic story and I am really looking forward to it. Then there is this one that we are currently shooting which is called Mirat-ul-Uroos. I have a few film projects coming up as well. Then there are many other TV projects that I am working on simultaneously.
Lastly, would you like to say something to all your fans out there?
Thank you for appreciating my work. Please keep on giving me feedback if you can because I love to hear from you guys. Be a good human being, look after your loved ones and your country. Set a good example for others. Work hard, have faith in God and yourself and spread love.