Leading newspaper in India “Times Of India” interviewed Fawad Khan in detail. This interview unlike many he has given before was more of a personal nature. Here is the whole interview:
You are a big star in Pakistan. How did your career as an entertainer begin?
I was born in Karachi, where my father used to work in the sales department of a pharmaceutical company. The nature of his job required him to travel, so we moved to Athens, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Riyadh and then went to Manchester during the Gulf War, moving back to Lahore closer to my father’s retirement. He was not keeping well owing to a cardiac condition, as a result he was advised to not take tension any more and so he took an early retirement. I was 13 then. He also wanted to start something of his own. My mother was a housewife. I wanted to do animation, so for lack of available career counselling, took up Bachelor’s in Computer Science, but managed to get only C grades. During college, I didn’t really have an interest in what I was studying. It was during college that I first stumbled into forming an underground band where I was the lead vocalist. I had always had an ear for music, but nothing more than that. And that good ear of mine led me to learn and play a lot of instruments while in college. Our band was called EP and our first album Irtiqa meant evolution. We started playing professionally and did almost 250 shows. Our music was largely progressive metal and with the money I made, I managed to put together a recording studio. I dabbled in and out of television. I had fallen in love with my wife Sadaf when I was 17 and by now was dying to get married to her. I came from a conservative background. Also, Sadaf felt that her father would not buy into my just doing music or television as that was too risky, so just to con him, I took up a 9-to-5 job so that I could marry her. I left it soon thereafter, again did television and became one of Pakistan’s most popular faces with serials Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai. In 2012, I got my first film role in Khuda Kay Liye.
Talk about your wife Sadaf?
I met her when I was 17. I met her through chatting online, with noisy dial-up modems. She was in the girls’ branch of my school which was famous for all the pretty girls studying there. We thereafter met at our tuition classes and I, being quite a traditionalist, proposed to her within a week of my meeting her. She went into a university and I could not get admission there. And in fact, I feel that one of the main reasons for me not to get grades in college was that I spent half the years of my college years in her college, so much so that her chaukidars thought I was from her college. Post college, we got married. She has recently started her own clothing line called ‘Silk by Fawad Khan’ that is doing pretty well and I take pride in her work.
How did you get diabetes?
It is a kind of an immune disorder. I had an accident when I was 17, due to which I landed up with a virus infection which had my immune system confused. The virus attacked my pancreas and destroyed its capability of making insulin. I have type 1 diabetes, which only 1 out of 10 people have and it requires a very different kind of care, where anything that you eat can affect your blood sugar levels. Coincidentally, I was in the hospital after the accident when a common friend asked me, ‘You know who is asking about you?’ And that is where it actually started between us.
Talk about your father?
My father is pretty much a self-made man and I am proud of that. He was born in Patiala and crossed the border from India to Pakistan when he was four. My mother’s family also comes from Lucknow. My father’s mother died when he was six years old and his was a large family, but spent his childhood shuffling between relatives, but never really accepting help from anyone. My father was the youngest, but he studied, worked and eventually did his MBA, and then started working. So he has a lot of expectations from me to do something in my life. He was very dominating to the extent of being a bit regimental. I am very close to him even though I resented his strictness when I was young, as I was rebellious at that time. I would wonder why he couldn’t understand what I wanted to do, as I was too young to understand where he was coming from. I remember when I had that accident at 17, my dad actually had a breakdown moment in the hospital as the accident was going to change my life in many ways. Even though he was just a small agricultural farmer, he told my mother, ‘If, after this, he does not want to do anything, it’s fine with me. If he does not want to study any more it is perfectly fine.’ That was least expected from my dad and my mom became the hero telling him, ‘Don’t teach him that as he will never grow up to be a fighter. This is a defining moment in his life and you need to let him fight.’ While it did it not hit me while I was at the hospital, when we were driving back from Islamabad to Lahore, it was raining in the car and my two sisters were sleeping next to me at the back and it struck me for the first time that there were things from there on that I would not be able to do in my life and sort of felt disabled. I did not let anyone know how I was feeling in the car, but I broke down inside. Today, my father does not keep well, but I know that he is proud of me. And while he doesn’t need anything from me, I try and do whatever I can for him.