Gohar Rasheed talks colourism in showbiz | The Express Tribune


In a recent interview, Pakistani actor Gohar Rasheed appeared as a guest on actor and host Yasir Hussain’s The Pick and Drop Show. Settling into a candid flow, the celebs recounted their early days of friendship and charmed fans with their easygoing conversation. The episode kicked off with a forthright question prodding Gohar’s take on talent in Pakistan.

Responding to the inquiry as to whether Pakistan possesses talent, the Jannat Se Aagay actor stated, “I have to say this with a lot of regret that there is little talent…I can explain in a very simple way. If I ask you as a layman right now, not as a Yasir Hussain, who watches Pakistani television and cinema. Tell me how many good actors come to your mind?”

He furthered on, “We have such a big talent pool including male and female actors, yet we can only think of 13-14 names which is not a good ratio. So this is unfortunate.” Gohar explained how easy it is to pass the cliché statement that Pakistan has a lot of young, emerging talent but that is not true.

Debunking ‘character actors’

“However, if you look at our senior actors like Moin Akhtar, Qavi, Abid Ali, all these people have left us, may they rest in peace, but these were the talented ones. In their time, every person was talented. Now, there are only 13-14 people.” 

Gohar also underlined how showrunners are likely to turn to these select few people if they have a difficult character in a project. “If you want to Yasir or Gohar to play these challenging roles, then what are the rest of the actors doing?” 

The Jindo actor expressed his dislike for ‘character actor,’ a frequently heard term that he finds straight up ignorant. He added, “I find this so stupid. All these ignorant people who say ‘character actor’. So the rest of the actors have no character? What are they playing then?” 

Fair actors, good actors

When asked to share his thoughts on the current criteria to become an actor, Gohar referenced his long-standing gripe with colourism in the entertainment industry. As per the actor, the only way to make it big in the game is to get expensive skin-lightening injections.

“You can rest assured whether you can act or not. The production house knows you can do it, you don’t know it, but they know you can act because you are fair,” he remarked with a laugh. Gohar also called out mainstream television’s knack for ‘toxic masculinity’, tying it with wider practices of exclusion. He contended, “Unfortunately, we are a racist country. Let’s just admit the fact. We want everything fair and light like milk.”

On a related note of looks and beauty standards, Yasir questioned Gohar regarding his past admissions that he is not “conventionally good-looking”. The guest replied, “Until recently, I would say that I am not conventionally good-looking. Then I realised that I am the most conventional of all. Conventional is what is most common, I am the most relatable.”

The two actors also recalled how they performed together in a play years ago called Sawa 14 August in which Gohar essayed the former President of Pakistan General Zia-ul-Haq. The conversation emphasised the impactful performance given by the Laapata actor that a government minister in attendance jokingly refused to shake hands with him.

Seniors and showbiz

Switching the gears to his experiences with other showbiz names, Gohar reflected on how the senior cohort of actors treated him. “I have been generally blessed in that regard that I found good seniors initially like Humayun Bhai,” he disclosed how he shared a nice interaction with Humayun Saeed early on.

“He taught me a lot but I will say this openly, the majority of seniors are not welcoming…They don’t give you the space,” Gohar admitted how veteran actors do not foster dynamics conducive to learning and growth. “Look, to flourish, to learn, to develop, you need a certain space. You don’t need a space for a scene specifically. It’s an overall guidance.” 

The Dil-e-Momin actor divulged how he actively tries to offer his juniors honest and heartfelt guidance. “I won’t misguide them. I will not manipulate them. I will not be negative with them.” However, Gohar maintained that he keeps a distance from juniors who refuse to learn from and acknowledge senior actors and their work. “They think they have learnt everything,” he said.

Lauding the skills and talent of fellow actor Bilal Abbas, Gohar praised two actors from the newest batch in showbiz for their acting promise and professional conduct: Hamza Sohail and Komal Mir. Lauding Sohail, he declared, “That boy has guts. And he’s such a polite boy…Very good, very honest with his work. And you can see his honesty even if you watch his work. So, I find Hamza Sohail very promising. And among girls, Komal Mir.”

In the pipeline

The actor discussed his upcoming projects including a web series for an OTT platform that is still under wraps. “I have always wished I could work with Kashif Nisar. So I finally got the chance to do that. He is a genius and a very nice person,” Gohar teased his new project. “It has me, Amna Ilyas and Salman Shahid. It’s a lot of fun. So that’s a project that will come soon.”

As for the actor’s next appearance on the silver screen, he announced that there is a film set to release soon but is experiencing unexpected delays. Gohar said, “A film is coming but I can’t talk about it because it’s in a dispute.” 

The celeb clarified that it is not an old film and despite it being embroiled in a dispute, he remains hopeful for its release. “It’s not dark. It’s a good film. It might get slated for an Eid release but it depends on the producers and the distributor and what they decide,” he elaborated more.

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