Junaid Khan was always known as a singer in his early days. He made his mark in the industry by being the lead singer of 'Call' a band that also sang 'Laari Chooti' for the Abhay Deol film Ek Chalees Ki Last Local. However, he later turned to television and began working as a hero. He also appeared in Humayun Saeed and Mahira Khan's Bin Royeand is currently working as a 'negative' lead in various projects. The actor also revealed that he was offered work in Aashiqui 2 and later even in television dramas across the border. However due to the political clashes between the two countries, nothing could ever materialize. Masala! caught up with the actor-singer and asked him about his upcoming ventures (namely one with Ayeza Khan) and playing the evil, hateful hero in dramas.
Masala!: What is your pairing going to be like in Yaariyan with Ayeza Khan?
Junaid Khan: I have received a lot of positive feedback from most of my team members and co-stars about this, but I’d like to leave that judgement up to the viewers of the show, especially now that the first episode of ‘Yaariyan’ has gone up on air.
Masala!: Since this is a first for you to take up the role of an abusive man, how do you feel portraying such a negative role after carrying an image of a chocolate boy for so long?
Junaid Khan: I believe there comes a time in an actor’s career when he becomes comfortable with taking up different characters, especially depicting those messages that he feels close to, or wants to communicate to his audience. Hania wasn’t just an acting challenge for me, but it has quite a few important key points that I strongly feel about and wanted to convey through my art to the audience.
Masala!: The drama Hania revolves around a woman being blatantly abused by her man. What’s your take on showing a damsel in distress in popular drama series, in general with dramas like Kaisa Hai Naseeban and particularly in Hania?
Junaid Khan: For me, this role was very important and I took it up particularly because of the strong idea behind it. As our core audience is mostly female, the main message we aim to communicate through this serial is to the females in our society. So many parents out there, in an arranged marriage situation, focus more on financial security of the groom, believing that the couple would get to bond later on after marriage. Hania, through some very intense scenes portraying reality, firmly emphasizes on a need to do a strong background check and take into account the opinions of the girl. The serial also dictates that physical and emotional abuse is not something for a girl to adjust into, like Junaid’s mother has done in the drama serial Hania, and that breaking free is always an option that should be easily given to females in such situations.
Masala!: How challenging has it been, given your past career experiences as a protagonist in most of your roles, to mould yourself into the character of Junaid in Hania, as an intense, dark and abusive psychopath?
Junaid Khan: Being an actor, we are observers and we absorb from various sources around us. Characters like Junaid would always be challenging to portray, but they are out there everywhere and after a lot of discussion with the director we were finally able to give Junaid this image of a dark, abusive man. It was very necessary to make it that dark and to mould myself into that character, to create a strong impact on the audience and get them to relate it to.
Masala!: Do you think trends are changing in the Pakistani drama industry, when it comes to depicting the lead character in a negative role?
Junaid Khan: From what I have observed, I believe having a negative lead role comes from the same philosophy that I follow, that a character needs to be very impactful, to convey a strong message. The evil around us is mostly very aloof to its own reality, and it justifies itself for that act. Empowering women is necessary and for that to happen, a man needs to be blatantly shown that his evil actions are not justifiable. Evil will always be evil, and it cannot be excused under any circumstances. That is the purpose behind these negative roles, and if this is a new trend, it might be a great one.