“I am very artistically satisfied with Ishq Zahe Naseeb,” Zahid Ahmed

  • 11 Apr - 17 Apr, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Interview

The progress of the drama industry is a debated subject; with a national and international market and celebratory ratings, reiteration from audiences and within the industry echo the done-ness with the comfort zone. But, last year Twitter blew over in a bittersweet meltdown at the finale of Ishq Zahe Naseeb, with praises on the brilliant script and storytelling. I sit down with the man who won the show to talk about his success, still fresh, and a peek in his film debut Ghabrana Nahi Hai.

Icebreaker! What makes Zahid Ahmed happy and what makes him angry?

Spending time with my kids make me very happy and not eating food at the right time makes me really angry.

What does stardom and being an actor mean to you? Entertainment, fame, passion or legacy?


A by-product of the celebrity status is the social responsibility. Celebrities are expected to represent and be socially conscious and there is little tolerance for mishaps. Social media has aggravated this. How does it impact your life and work?

I used to be silent with a lot of things and that was my stance but I have come to the realisation that not having a voice will never make an impact. The things that concern me which I feel the need to speak up for, I will voice concerns for.

Let’s talk about your biggest hit Ishq Zahe Naseeb. It won hearts all over the country. Now that it’s done, how are you feeling about it?

I feel great. I feel as excited as I was on the first day to be a part of such an obscure subject and I was able to play a character that actors with a knack for challenging roles would want to perform, I believe this was one of the meatiest characters that I could have played. I am very artistically satisfied with IZN.

What made you say yes to the script and take up the mammoth role?

Something I have said in interviews before is that I am not one to make safe choices. I always want to push beyond my own limits and I think that is the only time when a real artist grows and this role presented such a prospective for me.

It wouldn’t have been easy to execute the two characters. Walk us through the challenges you faced and how you overcame them?

The biggest challenge for me was the attire and makeup. I needed to get rid of any inhibitions about what people will think and will this be perceived in the wrong way. Every artist is conscious about their image and mine is an angry young man. In complete opposition, this was me trying to tell the audiences that the angry young man character is a very comfortable niche for me and what is more important is to continue pushing the envelope and to create new expressions and emotions within myself. This is not something usual scripts can teach you.

Having done IZN, do you think you have a high bar to meet henceforth?

Very high.

You’ve signed a movie! Give us some insider scoop.

In this film, we’ll use cameras and the sound will be recorded. There will be people on makeup and spot boys and tea will also be served on the set. [laughs]

From the small screen to the big screen, as an actor, what changes do you have to adapt to in this transition?

Body language is the biggest challenge that television actors face when they are going on to the big screen because your whole figure is exposed as oppose to close-up shots. I came from theatre so it’s a similar requirement, you have to be innate with your entire being. That’s the similarity between cinema and theatre and I am looking forward to that.

You are starring opposite one of the biggest stars, Saba Qamar. How is the actor in you taking this opportunity?

I have worked with her thrice before and every time, it’s better. Saba Qamar continuously works on her craft without spending too much time in makeup. She is not one of those divas who are just in it for being a diva. She wants to sit down to rehearse lines and look for areas of improvisation to create chemistry. That’s what she is all about and that’s what I am all about. Every one of our outings has been very successful as per the audience and yes, she was the biggest reasons I signed Ghabrana Nahi Hai.

What is the one thing that you have learnt from any one of your characters?

I have learned a little from every character because I have played a range of varying roles from different social and economic classes. All my characters are around the lines of being driven by greed or lust and there’s a learning forte for every human being. The good thing about our dramas is they are based on ground realities, they aren’t absurd characters.

With a script like IZN, we have seen one fact come to light: Pakistani audience has a taste for bold, experimental storytelling. What do you think this means for writers and the industry as a whole?

It’s a very positive thing. I hope producers, writers, and everyone will take lead from this. We got ratings and positive feedback, it was epic, so the least I will hope is that dramas like Udaari, IZN or some really different issues get picked up from the society; they come around once a year which show the intent of the channels that they know they are not a rating busters, they are experiments and I hope they come around less sparingly with no business aspect attached.