Sheheryar Munawar plays the lead role in Project Ghazi, the first ever superhero movie to be made in Pakistan. The story is about a mission which focuses on the intolerance in our society, and being a sci-fi film, Project Ghazi is expected to be a game changer for the local film industry.



“I am one of those unfortunate people who are never satisfied with their work.”

Munawar made his film debut two years ago with Ho Mann Jahaan, and his character, with its many shades of grey, was one that had never been played before in Pakistani cinema. Munawar was flawless and incandescent in the clenching, gripping drama of passion, ambition and love, and his portrayal of Arhaan won him the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the 16th Lux Style Awards.

He also made his directorial debut two years ago with high-profile brands such as L’Oreal and Sprite. Watching him during his takes on television commercials or rehearsing before his performances in award shows, it is evident that he is a perfectionist.

As he prepares to grace the screen again in a new avatar, OK! Pakistan catches up with the talented actor to discover the person inside. A graduate of one of the top schools of Pakistan, IBA (Institute of Business Administration), it was passion that drove Munawar to his current profession. He is sitting in the producer’s office as we speak and is more concerned with the correct colours and layouts being used for his upcoming film. He obsesses over his successes as much as he mulls over his failures. Most importantly, he is disciplined and he delivers.

The cover shoot with Sheheryar Munawar was immensely enjoyable as we decided to pay tribute to his favourite film legends.


Your last film Ho Mann Jahaan, was one of the few successful films last year. We are sure the offers were pouring in, why did it take you so long to choose your second film?
Sheheryar Munawar: Ho Mann Jahaan did really well for my career. I had scripts coming in as soon as the first look (of the film) was out. However I was also the producer of the film, so unlike my other co-stars, I could not move on to another project right after filming ended as I was involved with the post-production work of the film. After I got done with the entire process of post-production, I started looking into scripts that were coming in. Unfortunately nothing excited me. Rahat Kazmi Sahab in one of his talks once said: “Some days when I wake up in the morning, I have to remind myself who I am that day,” and that’s the reason I wanted to be a film-maker, to be able to do different things.

The first script that allowed me to transform myself completely was Project Ghazi and so I signed it on. The film preparations demanded a lot from me in terms of the time commitment. I had to put on 10 kg of muscle, take mixed martial arts classes and train to do my own stunts. Additionally, my film production company, The Vision Factory Films, in which I am lucky enough to have a partner as accomplished as Asim Raza, takes up a lot of my time.

Producers have described Project Ghazi as the first sci-fi film. You will be the first super-hero in Pakistan. What made you believe in the script and that it would be executed well?
SM: When Nadir (the director) narrated the script, his eyes lit up and I could see how passionate he was about the script. The kind of work we do, we all need the right amount of ‘crazy’. It was that ‘crazy’ look in his eyes that got me to sign.

Production budgets here are not huge as compared to Bollywood and Hollywood films. Do you think Project Ghazi has done justice to the sci-fi genre and are you satisfied with your performance now that the film is near its release?
SM: I am one of those unfortunate people who are never satisfied with their work. Hence, I really don’t know how to answer that question at this point. All I can say is that I have worked hard and tried to do my bit to the best of my abilities. To answer the second part of your question, an actor is merely a cog, which is part of the greater machinery that makes up a film project.

Ho Mann Jahaan saw Syra Shahroz in a special appearance across you and everyone felt the chemistry between you guys. Do you think that led to this pairing in Project Ghazi, and how was the experience working with her?
SM: Syra came on board because she fits Zara’s (her character in Project Ghazi) character. Zara is a scientist who kicks butt. I don’t think there could have been anyone else in Pakistan who could have done this job.


We see you doing more TV commercials and campaigns these days. How do you choose between endorsements
SM: I haven’t been doing any television serials and film project shoots are placed very far apart. So the only time I get to act, when I’m in between film projects, is when I do a television commercial. So I usually prefer projects I can have fun with.

Are you a man of few words? Your Twitter handle consists mainly of Jumma Mubarak tweets for your fans. Don’t you think that as a celebrity you should use this platform for other issues, opinions or to interact more with fans?
SM: I am not very active on twitter. I use it as a means to know what’s relevant these days. I have a manager who runs it.

You were recently termed as the ‘Best Dressed’, the ‘Most Eligible Bachelor’, and ‘Man of the Month’ in various editorials this year. How do you view this?
SM: I just try to have fun with what I wear and marriage is a commitment I can’t commit to at this point.


Critics have been talking about your look in Project Ghazi since the trailer was released. How did you prepare for the role?
SM: It was a tough process. I had to put on about 8 kg of muscle and drop body fat. At the same time I had to take mixed martial arts classes. A lot of the stunts we ended up doing required me to train quite a bit. I had to discipline myself and I think that added another layer to my character in the film.

Recently a picture of you with Meera-ji from an event went viral and she went to great lengths to state you’re the next big superstar. Do you enjoy compliments pouring in and do you share a good bond with her?
SM: I think there is mutual respect. She’s always been a star and I respect her. Plus she’s always kind to me.

Both your films HMJ and Project Ghazi are high-profile projects. Were these projects picked specifically?
SM: I’m not sure what that means but I’m hoping that’s a good thing.

Television dramas and television actors are more popular than films in Pakistan. What made you step aside from television serials while other actors continue to do them even after doing films?
SM: I think they are both very different mediums and one needs to be focused on what the goal is. However I do miss television at times and I wouldn’t mind dabbling in something that’s interesting.


The song Shakar Wandaan became a massive hit and you recently performed to it at an awards show. Do you believe songs support the success of a film? When will we see a chart-buster again?
SM: A tastefully shot song definitely adds to the allure of a film. As a genre, film music is one that I do enjoy. In the subcontinent, I think we’ve been brought up in a culture that prefers to have songs as part of a narrative. Having said that, I do think we need to experiment and test that theory. Project Ghazi doesn’t have any music. I think I’ll know soon enough.

Congratulations on winning Best Supporting Actor at an awards show recently. Do you think commercial acclaim is more important than critical acclaim? You mentioned in your winning speech that you thought your role was more appropriate for the Best Actor category. Explain your stance on this.
SM: Critical acclaim and commercial acclaim go hand-in-hand, or at least, in an ideal world they should. I think sometimes I falter and become an idealist. Arhaan’s character was one of the leading characters in a story that was about three friends. He’s an anti-hero who carries the main story forward. I think we’re just not ready to look beyond the basic formula where the main hero must be the one that ends with the leading lady. I believe that in stories that are more grounded, a real hero has shades of grey, as opposed to being either black or white.


Two years ago in an interview you said you were more inclined towards directing than acting. You also directed big-budget TV commercials last year with Bilal Ashraf as the main lead. Was Bilal your client’s choice or yours? Why didn’t you cast yourself in the commercials? Do you enjoy directing more than acting?
SM: Bilal is a great looking guy with a heart of gold. He is a dear friend who is willing to work really hard. Hence it was an easy decision for me when casting for the lead. I’m relatively new to the art of directing and I needed someone I believed would work hard. Directing and acting both fill different boxes.

From critics to fans, they all term you as one of the most good-looking actors in the Pakistani film industry. How important are looks in this profession compared to the art of acting – or do they go hand-in-hand?
SM: Looks help you become a star but it’s talent that helps you become an artist. I think both are important, depending on what you want out of life. I really didn’t do anything to be considered good looking so I can’t be sure what that is about.

You mentioned your close association with the ace director Asim Raza, mentioning him as your “guru” in your winning speech at the awards show. Do you think he has played a major role in your career so far? What factors lead to you being his new muse after Fawad Khan? Also, how was the experience?
SM: Asim is a mentor and a guru. He is one of the few people in the industry who are willing to take out the time to actually teach people. I really enjoy working with him and I hope it’s the same for him. Not sure if I agree with myself being his new muse. I think it’s more about having a great working relationship. We’ve seen people give their best work when they find the right team, for example Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro; Ranveer Singh and Sanjay Leela Bhansali; Junaid Jamshed and Shoaib Mansoor.

Mahirah Khan is one of your closest friends in the industry so working with her must have been fun in your last film and in a TV commercial this year. When are we seeing you both in a film again?
SM: Mahirah has always been a gem to work with. I always enjoy hanging out with her and she always gives solid advice. I try to be there for her as a friend. She’s fun and has a beautiful heart and is always relatable in all her performances. She has an infectious charm that makes you like her no matter what role she is playing.

What other projects have you signed on other than Project Ghazi? Are you planning to produce more films after Ho Man Jahan?
SM: Yes, shooting for Dawn Films’ first movie starts in August, it’s called Saat Din Mohabbat In. Other than that I’m working on a production and In sha Allah you should hear about it soon.


There are no controversies about your being involved with any actress in the media. Is this a conscious decision to be very private or are you an introvert?
SM: As a film-maker, my job is very consuming. I feel I would find it difficult being in a relationship with someone in the same line of work. Having said that, as a rule in life, a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.


The last text you sent?
SM: Confirmed a work meeting.

Hashtag that describes your life
SM: #badwithsocialmedia

One social media account that we have to follow?
SM: Mararomrraro (Italian fashion designer).

One app we should download?
SM: Houzz.

Favourite website?
SM: I don’t know. YouTube?

Name a TV show you love right now.
SM: House of Cards.

Last book you read?
SM: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
SM: I would love to say Steve McQueen but that would be miscasting. No, I think a younger Hugh Grant.

Favourite fictional character?
SM: Tyler Durden in Fight Club.

What’s your karaoke song?
SM: Cocaine by Eric Clapton.

What was the last movie you watched?
SM: It was a 12-hour binge – The Godfather 2, Gone With The Wind and Casablanca. Can’t remember the order though.

Last holiday destination?
SM: Warsaw, Poland.

What was the last thing you bought?
SM: Nicotine gum.

Best thing you can cook?
SM: Fettuccine Alfredo.

Favourite sandwich filling?
SM: Roast Beef.

Favourite pizza topping?
SM: Goat Cheese.

Favourite restaurant in Pakistan?
SM: I should get paid for saying this.

Dream dinner party guest?
SM: Jack Nicholson – I have a feeling he would have interesting stories to tell.

Favourite hotel in the world?
SM: As my mother would say, my house. I check in and check out every few days.

Favourite designer?
SM: I should get paid for this.

Star style icon?
SM: David Beckham.

Your biggest fear?
SM: Mediocrity.

Celebrity dream date?
SM: A younger Audrey Tautou, a younger Penelope Cruz, a younger Julia Roberts or Sonya Jehan (just the way she is).

Best gift you ever received?
SM: Ma ki Dua!

Personal motto?
SM: Live and let live.

Word or phrase you say the most?
SM: “Having said that.”

Choose one from each option
1. Madhuri or Sridevi: Madhuri.
2. Mahirah, Sajal and Syra Shahroz: Mahirah.

Rank the following in order of their acting ability
1. Adeel Husain, Mikaal Zulfiqar and Bilal Ashraf, Adeel Hussain, period.
2. Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor: Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone.
3. Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan: Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan.


Post Bottom Logo