Exclusive With Umer Naru; The Guy Who Is Here To Stay

When I am shooting a scene I prefer being in my head space.

Contrary to the popular beliefs held by the Pakistani society against the Film and Drama industry of Pakistan, Umer Naru is a perfect example of hard work getting rewarded. Umer is a talented young actor best known for his role in `Durr-e-Shehwar`, where he played the role of a very sweet brother-in-law. He also played a gullible role of Mehtaab in Pyare Afzal. His latest project being Mor Mahal, Umer has a definite future in this industry with his charming looks mixed with the right amount of talent.

If we talk about first impressions, Umer comes off across as a very down to earth and rational person. He is well aware of the problems present in our society and talks about them with a keen interest in eliminating them.
Umer was kind enough to speak to us exclusively and this is your chance to get to know this gem of a person beyond the TV screens.

Q. Are you married? If not, what are your plans for marriage.
I am not and I have no such plans at the moment. I don’t mind the prospect of marriage in the future but marriage for marriage sake is not on my list of priorities.

Q: If I ask about one and only one moment, which made you realize that you can be an actor, what would it be?
It’s hard to narrow it down to a moment of divine intervention. I think it’s a series of events that led to the realisation that I could act.

Q: For how long have you wanted to be an actor for?
I never consciously thought of it as a possibility up until I did my first college play some 14 years ago but subconsciously I kinda knew that i had it in me since I was very young.  I used to put on faces to get myself out of difficult situations. I’d imitate my teachers and some TV characters and people laughed. My best and worst audience were my siblings and to get them to laugh used to be a real challenge.

Q: You look like a very well learned person, tell us a little about your education?
I grew up In Lahore.  Went to St. Anthony’s and F.C College in my primary and secondary years respectively and later enrolled in a University of London External program for my higher education where i studied a wide range of subjects from Economics and Business Management to Sociology and Law and everything in between.  But I must say (since we’re on the topic of education) that when it comes to education in Pakistan the standards vary quite a bit and therefore one ought to refrain from using terms like highly educated or well learned based on a mere certificate. Believe me,  had i relied on my formal education only, I wouldn’t be as well learned as you seem to think.  So i guess  I am more informally educated than I am formally educated probably because by the time I was a college student I began to develop critical thinking and came to understand that most of what I had been taught was either insufficient or inaccurate and my faith in institutional education started to waver, also in part because of my growing interest in the performing arts.  Don’t get me wrong! I am all for the idea of learning in a conducive campus environment but I couldn’t care less about competing in the exam room. I prefered being on the stage. That got me into a lot of trouble at home and I went through a phase of extreme social dissonance and anxiety but eventually my brother intervened and convinced my parents to allow me to pursue the Arts. 

Q: Are you working on any upcoming project?

I am preparing for a TV serial. Shooting starts mid december. Other than that I am in talks with a couple of directors for their upcoming films. Nothing official yet but fingers crossed.

Q: You have worked in a couple of projects already, if we ask you to rate your best work, what would it be and why? 

More than a couple! I think I have yet to do my best work.

Q: I have wanted to ask this question from someone who is making an entry into this industry but I never got the chance to do that until now. Do you think this industry suppresses new faces regardless of the talent they have?

I don’t think the producers, casting directors or other people operating in the industry make a conscious attempt to suppress new talent. On the contrary, they may be projecting too many new faces regardless of their talent. I think skill or talent is not the only measure for what is considered success anymore. It’s something else. It maybe a combination of things or just something that gets a boost in ratings.

Q:  What’s your take on ban imposed on Indian Content in Pakistan.

I think it’s unnecessary, I think it’s temporary but i also think that it’s time we stopped relying on their content to do our bidding for us. So in a way it’s an opportunity to invest in our own actors, musicians, writers, filmmakers, costume designers, sound engineers. makeup artists and so many other people who contribute in the process.  In order to survive this has to become a self sustaining industry with a solid fan base at home. But none of this will happen without a shift in the approach towards the business aspect of filmmaking. We need risk takers and visionaries who dare to think outside the box and are willing to invest in original ideas. We will never be better than bollywood if we adopt their formula. But if we create and perpetuate an original formula we may even succeed in securing a considerable following in India. I am not saying all of this will be easy but it will never happen unless we dare to step outside our comfort zones. We need to convince our audiences to come to cinemas and watch our films regardless of their so called commercial appeal. I believe that In the realm of cinema nothing is impossible.

Q: If you could choose a perfect role for yourself, that you’ve always wanted to play, what would it be.

There are no perfect roles because there are no perfect people.

Q: When looking for a project, do you look at the money involved in the project or the story line?

The script is definitely the first thing I consider but that’s not to say that the money involved does not matter. The more money spent on a production the better the end product is likely to be. 

Q: You sir are a perfect 10 for us, but hey, let us give you the chance to rate yourself. On a scale of 10, how much would you rate yourself.
I’d let others judge how they wish to rate me. But Thanks! You’re too kind. 

Q. When on a set, do you prefer being in your own space when the cameras arnt rolling or you like being surrounded by people?
I am mostly surrounded by people regardless of what I prefer. It’s a workplace. I don’t go there to be in my own space. I go there to work with some amazing people and learn from their company, their talent and their process but when I am shooting a scene, I prefer being in my head space. 

Q. What pisses you off when you are at a set?
Nothing specific. Sometimes I get a little agitated when there’s lack of communication but generally I am happy to be there. 

Q. Thank you for speaking to us Umer, if there a special message you would want to give to your fans and audiences?
There's no specific formula or one right way to success  Do what you think is right If you know what you're doing keep at it. Godspeed!


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