Soon after his birth, Taliban, in its previous avatar, captured Afghanistan, forcing his family to flee the country. For several years, international actor Qais Khan, who garnered much popularity after the serial ‘Tehran’ on Apple TV, and will be seen in Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Bell Bottom’ lived in multiple countries before finally settling in Belgium.
As Taliban 2.0 took over Kabul recently, Khan laments that hundreds of women and children have been kidnapped and forced to be sex slaves. “Innumerable families have been made homeless. It is simply a game of power, it has always been. This is no jihad for God. The world needs to realise that Pakistan is funding these barbarians to take over Afghanistan.”
The actor, who played the protagonist in the internationally awarded ‘Nur’, did not really like his nomadic existence initially, as it always made him feel like an “outcast”. That’s when his father told him — “If you know one language, you are one person, but knowing ten makes you ten people in one”.
He soon started to notice that he could easily blend in with people from different countries and learn more about their culture if he spoke their language. “And that is how I got so interested in learning different languages, something which has helped me immensely as most of my projects required at least one other language besides English,” says the actor who is fluent in seven languages — English, French, Hindi, Farsi, Urdu, Pashto and Dari.
Khan, who studied theatre and film acting in Belgium, though grew up on a dose of Hindi films, was not really looking at working in them initially. “My mother once joked that she would consider me a ‘real’ actor only post-working in a Bollywood film. That is when I asked my agent to look for some roles for me in Hindi films. Though I did not get the first Indian film I auditioned for, but bagged ‘Bell Bottom’. I cannot reveal much about my character in the movie — Kazini, a government official, but he is bound to entertain the audiences.”
Stressing that working in Daniel Syrkin’s ‘Tehran’, written by Moshe Zonders was a great learning experience for him, Khan, who shared screen space with Navid Neghaban (‘Aladin’, ‘Homeland’ and ’12 strong’), Shaun Toub (‘Ironman’, ‘Homeland’ and ‘The Kite Runner’) beside Israeli actor Liraz Charhi, says, “One of the things I love about my work is that I get to meet people from different parts of the world. Never did I think that one day I would be working with a team mostly from Israel.”
For someone who still does theatre, Khan feels that the medium gives one a massive acting toolbox and range. “If you are trained to perform a character for an entire hour, sometimes two, in front of an audience with no scope for error, then things become much easier in front of the camera where you enter a character for two minutes with multiple takes in between.”
Also, a screenwriter (‘Nur’), the actor, keen to explore the Indian film industry is also auditioning for international projects.