Profile: Faisal Qureshi
Faisal Qureshi is showing no signs of stopping.
‘Aap ne jeeti ek 800 cc car!’ His voice echoes across the studio as the audience applauds and the winners scream in jubilation. The effervescent Faisal Qureshi then proceeds to hand over the winners the keys to their brand new car all the while galvanizing members of the audience to cheer away in a manner that has become somewhat synonymous with his rather unique, yet endearing, style. Come the segment of the show where he distributes gift hampers all around, one can find people practically falling over each other just so that they can get their hands on them. Faisal, on the other hand, plays it cool and does not even furrow his brows as he moves from aisle to aisle, tirelessly, handing over gift after gift to outstretched hands.
Such is the atmosphere at one of Pakistani television’s newest game shows, ‘Jeet Ka Dum,’ designed to engage people in entertaining activities and ultimately win a prize. Faisal Qureshi gives the program an added zing with his candid style and heartwarming gestures, converting many a viewer into an avid fan. Of course, all this popularity comes when he sacrifices his comfort and the opportunity to take things easy as the entire transmission for Jeet ka Dum is broadcast live in front of a live studio audience. Challenges abound as Faisal is required to be on his toes from 9 pm until late at night. However, it seems as if he does not even break a sweat; in fact, if anything, his newfound status has humbled him to the point that he does not shy away from appreciating other contemporaries in the field. “Aamir Liaquat is a phenomenal host,” says Faisal. “I salute him for his energy with which he carries out his extremely lengthy transmission every single day.” He stops to reiterate his standing among what he labels as talk show/game show host greats. “His forte is hosting while I am an actor. For me, hosting is all about having fun and spreading happiness.”
The 41-year-old actor-host-producer is currently swamped with projects which include drama serials Jao Tumhe Maaf Kia opposite Mawra Hocane, Mol for Hum TV, Aashiq Hussain for Geo TV and upcoming seasons for Jeet ka Dum which is on twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9:10 pm.
It is reported that Faisal has even received several offers to act in Indian films but he has had to turn most of them down owing to the kinds of scripts he received. “I have had 2 to 3 offers from India; however, the scripts were not to my liking.”
Faisal has proven, time and again, that his acting prowess is something not to be taken lightly.
Known to be a great perfectionist, Faisal cited his fans’ rising expectations of him as the cause for his decision. “I don’t want to disappoint my fans by doing something that does not live up to their expectations. I want to do something that they would like to see.” As an actor, he is a great advocate for the need to shed spotlight on taboo issues via television serials and aims to continue taking up such projects. “I think we should continue to talk on issues that plague our society. By highlighting them, we can come up with appropriate solutions,” he says. “Frankly, I believe that drama serials such as Mann-oSalwa and Manay Na Yeh Dil have changed the landscape of the Pakistani drama industry.”
Born to Abid Qureshi and popular film actress Afshan Qureshi in Lahore, it is evident that showbiz was in Faisal’s blood. In fact, his frequent visits to the television studios in Lahore with his mother are what led him to be discovered. His first role ever was as a child actor in PTV’s Emergency Ward followed by Andhera Ujala. His first major acting role as an adult was in the 1992 film Saza. Faisal went on to star in 19 other films before quitting the industry altogether and going for full-time television acting.
He performed in a few minor roles before he landed the now legendary role of Boota in Toba Tek Singh which propelled him to instant fame. “I never wanted to become a hero,” says Faisal. “I’ve always wanted to be, above all else, an actor. The thought of becoming a director or a producer never quite appealed to me. I feel I still have quite a long way to go as far as acting is concerned.”
Ever since then, Faisal has acted in numerous TV serials that have helped him carve a niche for himself in the industry. Whether it is his critically acclaimed character of Ayaz in Roag, his immensely moving performance in Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan, to his exceptional comic timing in Kis Din Mera Vivah Hoay Ga, Faisal has proven, time and again, that his acting prowess is something not to be taken lightly.
Where his professional life soared, however, his personal life remained on the rocks. His first marriage was at the tender age of 18. They had a daughter, Hanish. The marriage lasted nearly 7 years before the couple decided to divorce. His second marriage was at age 28. Once again, he was met with failure as the couple, after bearing a son, divorced merely two years after marriage. He currently lives with his third wife, Sana, whom he married in 2010, along with his mother, his 18-year-old daughter Hanish and new-born daughter. In spite of all that he has been through, Faisal is grateful for the support given by his family. “I consider my biggest achievement to be my family’s faith in me. I am extremely happy that they are content with what I do.”
When asked where he sees himself in the next few years, Faisal is open to change. “I am not an astrologer so, I cannot predict anything! God knows better as I never plan things on my own.”