His knack of smelling good scripts, sheer hard work and dedication to his profession has made him one of the genuinely versatile talents in the industry. Yes, we are talking about Ahmad Ali Butt – who has made the audience crack up with his wit, humor, and perfect comic timing every time he makes an appearance on screen. Not just that, he has proven quite effective with his dramatic acts as well.
Ahmad is going great guns — he is playing the leading role in his next film Fatman, which will be directed by hotshot filmmaker Nabeel Qureshi. Other than that film, his next drama serial Jhooti features him in a completely different avatar. We caught up with the actor for a quick chat to learn more about these exciting projects.
How would you describe Fatman? What’s the USP of the film?
Fatman is a story about a guy who is overweight. It’s a relationship between a father and son; and how his physical appearance affects their relationship. The USP of the film is body shaming.
What was it about the part that interested you?
The daring subject excited me the most, which we usually don’t talk about. It’s largely prevalent in our society. I was very clear that it’s a different and experimental subject from the outset, right from when Nabeel told me the name. The script is amazing and we will come up with a good film.
You are playing the lead protagonist in the film. Do you feel any pressure to carry off a film entirely on your shoulders?
For me, the pressure is the same, whether it’s the leading or supporting role. One has to perform well and according to the director’s expectation, as per what the story demands. However, you are at the forefront while doing a lead role, so you have to be more aware of your performance and not disappoint.
Fatman addresses issues of body shaming, tell me how difficult is it to laugh at yourself?
Comedy is always at someone’s expense, the first rule of comedy is if you can’t make fun of yourself, don’t be in this business. I’ve been doing comedy all my life; it comes very naturally to me. I am comfortable in my own skin and making fun of my own self.
Who is the leading lady?
It’s a surprise! I think the makers are in talks with Jessica Chastain (laughs).
Nabeel Qureshi has a good track record of successful films. What qualities do you look for in a director?
The special thing about Nabeel is that his cinema is real; it depicts society brutally and honestly and Fatman isn’t an exception — it’s a bold topic. His work speaks volumes, he really puts in time and effort into each project and does detailed research work. I always wanted to work with him; in fact, any actor would be lucky to be part of his films.
Have you started shooting for it?
We will begin filming in February.
Tell us about your next drama serial Jhooti.
Jhooti is my next TV project with Yasir Hussain and Iqra Aziz. We play husband and wife; it’s a story of a husband married to a compulsive liar. It depicts how their life gets affected because of a single lie. It’s a different and serious role as compared to Fatman. Jhooti is produced by iDreams and will air from next month.
How important is your role to the plot? What has the play different to offer?
Abdullah Seja (iDreams) told me about this script that has a character for me which is very different. He’s not a typical hero; he has the persona of a real-life hero. I did the project due to the realism of the script.
Iqra Aziz has emerged as one of the finest actresses of the industry. What kind of an equation did you share with her during the making?
Iqra has great potential; she is young and fearless. She studies her character, comes well prepared on sets. I have worked with many actresses but according to her age and experience, she is way ahead. I had most of my scenes with her, she has amazing work ethics. I had a pretty good time working with her.
How involved do you get with your characters?
The more you prepare for a character; the brighter it will shine on screen. The director’s input will help you to portray it more realistically. I had time to prepare for my character in Jhooti, the look, the tone, and the movements. Resultantly we came out with something very interesting.
You have carved quite a niche for yourself. Who do you see as your competition?
We are a small industry; I don’t see anybody as competition. I see a lot of people as inspiration.
What brings out the best in you?
A good script, a good director and a great team.
Tell us about your future projects?
There are a couple of things in the pipeline; once they get finalized you’ll get to know.