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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Afzal Khan: The Pakistani ‘Rambo’

Afzal Khan aka Jan Rambo, primarily a stage actor, got his big break through PTV’s Islamabad production “Guest House” and marked his television debut by playing a sweeper in the popular TV series. The actor got his nickname because of his striking resemblance to Hollywood’s Sylvester Stallone who took on the iconic role of John Rambo,  and the rest as they say is history.
The actor, who’s doing a film project titled Love Mein Ghum after six years, talks about television, film, family and more.
How was the experience of playing Rambo in ‘Guest House’?
Theatre teaches an actor a lot. “Guest House” provided me with a chance to shift from theatre to television and eventually to the film industry. I worked hard and after television, it’s every man’s dream to move to films. This was the case for me as well and there was no turning back.
How do you feel about the one-liner ‘Rambo, Rambo, Jan Rambo, the cockroach killer’ becoming a hit?
It’s still a hit. There are certain continuities or repetitive phrases that strike a chord with audiences and remains forever engrained in their mind. Just like it was “Chakku hay merey pas” for Jamshad Ansari in “Uncle Urfi”, it was “Rambo, Rambo, Jan Rambo, the cockroach killer” for me in “Guest House”.
From 15-year-old kids to adults, all are familiar with that line. I am so grateful for this success.
Was it easy to manage fame?
After the third episode of “Guest House”, I would have to hide my identity by wearing a mask while travelling around Islamabad. It was so difficult to handle fame back then.
During that time, Sikhs from India had turned up for their annual festivities at Gurdwara in Hasan Abdal. Even they had seen “Guest House” across the border and during their visit to Pakistan they wanted to meet me in person. So as many as six vans arrived at PTVstation located in Islamabad and these people just wouldn’t go until they met me. That was a great moment of appreciation, however it was amusing when they added that if there were subtitles to the show, it would have helped them understand it better.
You’ve been a part of Lollywood for almost two decades. Have you tried to revive the film industry?
People don’t make family movies. I have always been a family actor. I did play a role in Love Mein Ghum on Reema’s request. The television is not promoting Pakistani films and Urdu songs and artists are not being given a promotional platform. I believe that Lollywood can be saved through media and media alone, and we don’t need to look towards India.
How does it feel to be first paired up with Sahiba in films and then being married to her?
I am a very lucky person to have her. She never gave me a reason to complain. I am extremely grateful to God for giving me such an understanding spouse.
What’s next in line?
Currently, Sahiba and I are hosting a morning show on Apna Channel, and then we plan to work on a TV production. There is a lot of demand for it and we are just looking for the right sponsors.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2011.

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