Fawad Khan can be easily dubbed as one of the most popular names that the Pakistani showbiz arena has produced in the past two decades. Very few people taste success in the entertainment industry the way Fawad has and continues to do so. Dramas, films, music – Fawad Khan has made a name for himself in all three fields as being truly a fine artist. However, is this all there is to him?
A considerable amount of people get confused about how to judge Fawad Khan in the current times. Being Pakistan’s most popular actor since the turn of the century, Khan has not done any substantial work either in Pakistan or internationally that would justify his the title of a reigning superstar of the industry – a tag that was associated with Fawad Khan for a good period of time.
Beginning his acting career via a sitcom, Jutt and Bond, Khan did not do any acting projects for some years. He focused on his career as a musician as the lead singer of an alternative rock band Entity Paradigm. He later left the band to pursue an acting career where he ultimately grabbed a supporting role in Shoaib Mansoor’s 2007 blockbuster Khuda Kay Liye. Since then the actor has featured in classic and blockbuster dramas like Dastaan, Humsafar, and Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
A Bollywood debut and later winning the coveted Filmfare Award for Best Debut proved to be the pinnacle for the actor’s career. He was dubbed as “The Next Khan” of Bollywood and featured in top sections of lists like Most Attractive Men, Most Beautiful Man, Most Desirable Men, etc. that the popular tabloids could think of and come up with at that time.
The popularity wasn’t idiosyncratic. Fawad has been a part of many memorable and iconic projects in the past two decades that have been praised internationally. Fawad’s associations with projects, both in Pakistan and across the border, have given him an image of being an actor that is truly worthy of being called the pride of the Pakistani entertainment industry.
There is no doubt the Khoobsurat actor has a broad appeal that makes him bankable for any project the showbiz people can think of. What baffles his loyal fans, like myself, are his career choices off-late. It has come to a point where one cannot help but question – does the current Fawad Khan deserve the hype that never seems to leave him?
For a good actor who is conventionally handsome, is well-spoken in real life, possesses an air of enigma around him, to not appear in any notable TV or silver screen project to continually prove his mettle surely gets disturbing, to say the least. Despite every other director and producer wanting to work with him, he doesn’t seem to be keen on offering his ardent fans anything special, especially in the past four years.
The last time Fawad Khan worked in any Pakistani project was in 2013 when he starred as a lead in the telefilm Armaan. The last acting project that had him in a substantial role was the 2016 release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, albeit it was later dubbed as a cameo by the makers of the film due to the Indo-Pak political tensions. 2020 is about to end and there has been no concrete news of when his next project will be released. While we wait for the news of his films to release, there is a weekly entertainment show that Fawad is all set to host for the first time in his career so I guess he is doing something on TV.
There was a time when TV director and producers like Abdullah Kadwani would call him “the closest actor to Waheed Murad.” Not just that post-Khoobsurat, Indian Express described the actor as someone who redefined the image of a Bollywood actor, replacing the stereotypical image of a Bollywood lead actor having bodybuilder six-packs with someone who is full of charm. Seeing these comments in today’s perspective where he hardly has anything to offer to his fans is a cause of concern.
Projects like The Legend of Maula Jutt have to be partly blamed for Fawad’s relative slumber at the local box office. The film has been a victim of many unfortunate delays that of course, have nothing to do with Fawad himself. He dedicated all his time and energies to the project yet, it has failed to find a proper release date contributing to his disappearance from our cinema screens. However, co-stars from the very same film like Mahira Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi have continued to do different projects and progressed in their careers. They have put the film behind them, more or less, by headling other successful projects while Fawad Khan has yet to do any such thing.
Fawad Khan’s contemporaries like Fahad Mustafa have impressed the masses and classes alike with projects like Load Wedding, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani 2, Na Maloom Afraad, and of course Jeeto Pakistan. Fawad’s senior Humayun Saeed has transformed himself into an industry mogul by churning blockbuster after blockbuster both on TV and cinema, cementing his position as the industry’s top superstar. Even Sheheryar Munawar, who started his career when Fawad Khan was at its peak with Zindagi Gulzar Hai, and Ali Zafar who has been Fawad’s peer since his music days, have a better cinematic or showbiz profile at the local arena than Fawad when compared in the recent past.
The only long-term project Fawad has done in the last few years is acting as a judge in a music reality show. He has been continually appearing in TVCs banking on his Humsafar–Khoobsurat charm and the package is working for him as people still adore and want more of him. How long will this aura last, that nobody is sure of.
With any other actor’s only career choices in the past four years being appearing as cameos in someone else’s films, doing TVCs, modeling for spouse’s clothing brand, or judging a musical reality show, and it wouldn’t warrant a discussion. But it is Fawad Khan that we are talking about here. Fawad Khan who is the audience’s sweetheart. Fawad Khan has the screen presence, off-screen charm, and acting skills that attract the audience towards him as they flock to no one else. Not only that, but he also has the authority and the means in the industry where he could very well dictate what kind of projects he would have liked to do. For him to not take advantage of all of that is just tragic.
Fawad has spent a better part of the last four years giving both his audience and the industry close to nothing worth boasting about. 2021 will be the most important year for Fawad’s career as he has two releases lined up – The Legend of Maula Jutt, and Money Back Guarantee, with two more potentially getting a release in the upcoming year as well – Aan and his home production Neelofar. Will his absence from the television and movie screens impact his upcoming releases negatively? Or will these new releases once again shoot Fawad Khan up at the top of the game? Only time will tell.