Osman Khalid Butt is the ultimate heartthrob of Pakistani entertainment industry, with perfect looks and an extremely enchanting and witty identity. In a very short time he has managed to win the hearts many and has earned himself a big fan following.
He made his Television Debut with ‘Aik Nayee Cinderella‘. followed by ‘Aunn Zara‘ which turned into a hit among the masses. Before entering the Television Industry, he was seen in numerous theater plays and has even performed at international platforms. Osman appeared in the renown play by Nadia Jamil which was introduced in London as a major aspect of the World Shakespeare Festival.
The rundown of his ability does not end here. Butt owns a production house named ‘The Living Picture‘ under which he has coordinated, delivered and even choreographed various plays. He has additionally included in Independent movies like Zibahkhana and Slackistan.
Osman Khalid Butt has a specific ability of making spoofs, imitating and making parodies and has made some recordings that will bowl you over. His savviness and suddenness is the thing that makes his videos all the more engaging. This guy has been turning heads with his performances (referring to Diyar-e-Dil), however, his ready to release “Balu Mahi” is something we are all looking forward to.
We are definitely drooling over Osman Khalid Butt’s awesomeness! This person beyond any doubt has an interminable rundown of gifts. Here is a what Osman Khalid Butt told The Blush Works about himself:
Tell us about yourself and the family you come from, after all, Dr. Khalid Said Butt has enjoyed a good repute in the industry. How does it feel being a part of such a celebrated showbiz family?
I feel incredibly fortunate… and intimidated, to be honest. (Laughs) Listing my father’s body of work would turn this interview into a thesis: he is a President’s Pride of Performance winner for services rendered for the promotion of arts & culture in Pakistan and was awarded the ‘Chevalier d’honneur’ by the French government for the same reasons. From acting to writing to direction (in the golden age of Pakistani dramas), to developing the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, to establishing several arts and culture institutions, to instituting awards in visual arts (Chughtai Awards, Sadequain Awards to name two) – he has also been a Managing Director of NAFDEC, Lok Virsa & National Hijra Council… so as you can see, claiming his are pretty big shoes to fill is the understatement of the century. Because of him, I had a very early exposure to the arts; something I believe ignited that desire to eventually pursue the performing arts as a career.
Of course, this desire would have died a natural death had it not been nurtured by my mother (sculptor, educationist, founder of the French school in Islamabad, and also a genius), who always told me it didn’t matter if I slept (after a day’s work) with a heavy wallet; what mattered was that I slept satisfied and content with the work I was doing. My sister Michelle (currently heading Kuch Khaas, an arts & culture centre in Islamabad & Lahore) and brother Omar (who is a celebrated PTV news anchor and programming host), have been incredible pillars of support as well. Their faith in me, their setting their own lives aside to help me reach where I am today, their near-constant counseling and mentoring… like I said, I feel privileged.
How did you discover your passion for acting and entertaining? We have heard you were an active participant of plays in your school and college days, is it what made you the successful actor you are today?
I think I’ve always been passionate about performing; whether it was makeshift magic shows for an audience of three (my mother and siblings) as a child, to performing Alice in Wonderland for my annual school play – I was the Rabbit… that desire to entertain, to make people laugh (don’t even get me started on the maskharapan at family gatherings), was always there. However, growing up I never thought I could actually make a career out of this. It was a hobby at best: the debates, declamations, art contests and college plays – a way, I thought, to rid myself of my extreme introversion and make me a more confident person. It took a local production of Dracula (in Islamabad) in 2004 to really open my eyes and seriously reconsider my life choices – I had just begun a degree in Telecom Engineering, and despite my love for mathematics (!) felt like a fish out of water. Watching that play, I was immediately and completely bitten by the theater bug. I think that’s the strongest love story of my life: the stage and me.
A year later, I was totally immersed in the local theatre scene – from acting to writing to direction and choreography; I’ve done it all. And to answer your second question, yes, I firmly believe theatre is an excellent learning experience for an actor specifically: it is, first and foremost, an actor’s medium. The confidence, discipline, the diversity, the ability to know what is working and what isn’t in real time: I know I wouldn’t be half the actor I am today without theatre. But before I paint too rosy a picture (haha!), theatre comes with its cons as well. The transition from stage to film/television is rather tricky… they are two totally contrasting mediums. The latter is all about subtlety and self-restraint; theatre is anything but.
Hashtag that describes you.
Given the overwhelming support of my family – specifically, my elder siblings, the opportunity to have worked with some of the best directors and actors in the industry (both contemporaries and seniors), the multiple breaks I’ve gotten in theatre, television and film: the hashtag #blessed comes to mind (don’t kill me, I know it’s a cliché, haha!)
… So, dissatisfied with my response above, I took one of those online quizzes to determine your hashtag based on your personality, and I got… #StrangeIsTheNewNormal, which – fits perfectly I suppose. Another Google search brought me to the gem #BRBExistentialCrisis, which is also quite true!
From your debut Zibahkhana to your upcoming Balu Mahi, which one of your projects has been your ultimate favorite?
It’s really hard to pick a favorite but acting-wise it would have to be a tie between these two theatre plays I acted in: Freedom Bound (based on ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ by Frank McGuinness, where I play a captive Irish journalist) and The Pillowman (by Martin McDonagh, where I play a mentally challenged murderer) – both Irish playwrights! Experience wise, definitely Aunn Zara (directed by Haissam Hussain) – what a refreshingly hilarious drama serial in a time when loudness (the OTT kind) and slapstick was (and still is) mistaken for comedy. Diyar-e-Dil was a huge learning curve for me as an actor, possibly the biggest in television. And Balu Mahi being my first foray into the realm of commercial cinema – like I said, it’s so hard to pick just one. I’m very excited about Balu Mahi, of course, because Bilal aka Balu was such an interesting character to play. You see his growth as a person throughout the course of the film; how circumstance and this one stranger completely change his perspective on life, the universe and everything.
You are the co-founder, creative lead and poetry editor at Desi Writers’ Lounge: tell us about it?
Desi Writers’ Lounge – from its humble beginnings as an Orkut community to the thriving 24/7, 365 day-a-year writers’ workshopping forum and publisher of biannual magazine Papercuts – is one of the leading platforms for aspiring South Asian writers to showcase their work and have it critiqued & evaluated. I think our tagline: ‘Be heard. Be inspired’ really sums it up. In recent years, we’ve expanded the ‘Lounge from the virtual to the real world, with multiple events, a regular presence at literature festivals both national & international, and a host of offline activities you can learn more about by visiting our website: www.desiwriterslounge.net.
Being part of such a fantastic enterprise is a reward unto itself – being the Creative Lead of our stunning magazine especially is something I’m immensely proud of. I must admit, though, that this year I’ve been AWOL from DWL duties: Balu Mahi as a shooting experience (…spread out throughout the year; we only wrapped up in November) really took a toll on me. However, the core team, spearheaded by Wonder Woman Afia Aslam and held strong by Waqas Naeem, Shehla Wynne and our amazing prose, poetry and reportage editors (special shoutout to Noorulain Noor!), as a collective is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Janaan was a major blockbuster; tell us about your experience as such a big hit’s writer?
I always had faith in Janaan; from my very first brainstorming session with producer and dear friend Imran Kazmi we knew the one thing that would set the film apart would be its sheer relatability. We wanted to show this crazy, quirky family and their dynamics during an otherwise stressful wedding season. How they support each other; the leg-pulling and unconditional, undemanding love – each character was lovingly written, with some dialogues and sequences lifted straight out of personal encounters and real life anecdotes. The experience itself was extremely satisfying on a creative level because of the producers’ trust in my work and the free rein I was given in crafting the screenplay. For example, the social issue was something I really fought for: given that this was in essence a commercial, feel-good film there was a fear that we would be treading too dark a path by having our principal antagonist be a child abuser, but I’m proud that we managed to successfully weave that into our plot. Unfortunately we couldn’t film everything written in the screenplay (about 40 percent had to be axed for various reasons) but I’m extremely happy the humor and heart both resonated deeply with audiences in Pakistan and abroad.
What inspires you?
A good book, an unfiltered, unpretentious conversation about – anything, really; my brother’s patience and positivity, my sister’s insuperable spirit, the fantastic work of my peers and seniors… creatively, the most inspired I’ve ever been was after attending the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. I encourage every artist to make that trip at least once in their lives.
If given a choice between romance and comedy, which genre would you prefer?
The easy answer is comedy: whether its theatre, my video-blogs or Aunn Zara, comedy has always come naturally to me. That being said, I am always looking for a challenge and pulling off a romantic character convincingly is much harder than it sounds. A good, intense romantic role, preferably tragic – am in a Shakespeare funk these days – any day.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Always, always believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, if you let self-doubt and negativity weigh you down, then you cannot expect the world to believe in you. Learn to differentiate between constructive criticism and the click-bait kind. Keep at it, keep at your craft; never become complacent. Also: don’t measure your success in relation to others – if your journey is taking longer, that doesn’t mean you are lesser than anyone else. Finally, and this comes from personal experience: always treasure the victories, no matter their magnitude. Don’t be so focused on the next step of your career (read: summit fever) that you forget to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come.