With a flair for acting since childhood, Umer Aalam started acting in plays from an early age and got his big break in Anwar Maqsood’s Siachen. The actor hasn’t looked back ever since and has various television shows and even a film under his belt. The actor talks to OK! Pakistan about winning Tamasha Ghar, his rapport with co-actors, preferred roles, challenges he has faced, and so much more.
Can you tell us how you started ?
Umer Aalam: I started off with theatre; I used to perform in school, college and university as well. I even performed in a theatre play called Siachen by Anwar Maqsood, and after that, it all took off. Alhamdulillah.
Do you prefer to act in live theatre or films and television shows?
UA: I prefer film and television because I enjoy seeing my performances onscreen and it has always been my dream to perform on the big screen. It is one of the best feelings when I see people enjoying my work in the same way I do.
You recently won Tamasha Ghar. How did you feel being the winner ? What was your most memorable experience?UA: I always wanted to be the winner but mostly ended up coming second or runner-up, so this was the best moment of my life so far. When Adnan Bhai announced my name and lifted my hand, that was a high I always wanted to feel and I felt it. Alhamdulillah.
Shehnai or Pheli See Muhabbat which would you choose and why?
UA: Shehnai, because it was a light-hearted story and for the first time I got the chance to work in a romantic role on screen and felt like a hero. On the contrary, Pheli See Muhabbat was more of a drama full of seriousness plus I had been a friend (character) many times.
If you could relate your personality to any character you’ve played on screen, which would it be?
UA: I could relate to Ahmed (Raqs-e-Bismil) and Ahsan (Shehnai); Ahmed because I feel like I am obedient and respectful to elders and Ahsan because I have a hero inside me.
What are your upcoming plans ?
UA: My plan is to focus on my career and work even harder to win as many hearts as I can with my work.
If you were given a biopic to do, who would you play and why ?
UA: I would like to do a biopic of Fawad khan because his journey is amazing and girls love him.
Who has been your inspiration all these years ?
UA: Yasir Hussain has been an inspiration, a mentor, an elder brother, and a good friend all along.
What acting role have you found the most challenging and why?
UA: Shehnai was difficult because doing a romantic scene with an actor I barely knew was tough. The role of Arsalan from Nehar was challenging too because I had to play the role of a character whose nature was totally opposite to that of Umer Aalam.
How important is it to establish rapport with your co-actors with whom you are performing, to execute a scene successfully?
UA: That is the most crucial part of acting. If there is no chemistry it would look like acting or require too much effort while acting should be effortless. The one thing Sheheryar Munawar made sure of, despite being a star, was that he came and talked to me and broke the ice, making sure that we feel like friends. This translated on screen brilliantly, and the audience felt the connection and friendship.
If you had personality differences with your co-actors, how would you ensure it did not affect the performance?
UA: This is the part where the art of acting comes in handy. I have had this kind of experience and I always try not to pay attention to this so it doesn’t come in the way or jeopardise my performance.
Can you describe your acting style?
UA: I am a director’s actor, and I will do whatever the director tells me to do or at least try to do it by adding my essence to it, which has been working for me so far. Alhamdulillah.
Tell us about the toughest part of your work?
UA: The shoot timings are so unpredictable that it becomes tough to plan accordingly.
If you could change one thing about your line of work, what would that be?
UA: Lack of professionalism – I think it’s a major drawback that our industry or any other industry could have.
How does it feel to be a star?
UA: I am not a star yet; if that was the case I would have been on the cover. [Laughs]
Every industry, including the entertainment industry, is full of competition; what do you do to stand out amidst competition?
UA: I just keep myself motivated and focused to do better than what I did last time or yesterday and then it’s all fate.
How do you stay mentally and physically healthy?
UA: I workout and talk to friends and family which keeps me sane.
Favourite co-star you’ve worked with?
UA: Aadi, Areeba Habib, Affan Waheed, Sheheryar Munawer, Maryam Noor, Osama Tahir, Hassan Ahmed, and a few more.
UA: Many pointing out someone’s errors or weaknesses out loud, cutting nails in public, taking phone calls in public, and traffic signals.
Umer AAlam in five words?
UA: Honest, hustler, fun, emphatic, consistent.
Last book you read?
UA: Quran Majeed.
What are you watching on Netflix ?
IOS or Anroid?
Go-to designer label?
UA: Emraan Rajput.
White or black?
UA: Black all the way.
INTERVIEW: MEHR KASSIM
PHOTOGRAPHS: AKIF ILYAS