Afzal Khan, more popularly known as Jan Rambo, has spent a lifetime entertaining the Pakistani audience; it was almost two decades ago when Khan played the character of Rambo in PTV drama Guest House — this role earned him a title he is proudly living with till date. The actor is currently co-hosting the Express Entertainment morning show, Rambo, Sahiba aur Aap which he feels is based on the idea of pure entertainment. Despite his love for dramas and TV shows, Rambo feels strongly about Lollywood.
“Not many films are being made right now, but if you say this is a permanent thing, then I am not ready to accept it,” says Rambo. “Maybe not today or tomorrow, but films will be made again because when it comes to entertainment, the biggest medium is ultimately film.” However, at the same time, he is content that new developments are taking place in film-making; TV actors and directors are entering the film scene.
“Being a hero in a film is like becoming the president of some institution. I will do films no matter what happens,” he exclaims, adding that doing films is a part of his future agenda. “Some friends of mine in television have started making films which is a good thing but they will have to integrate people who are actually associated with this industry.” He feels this is integral because until this is done, “the project will have the risk of looking more like a long play as compared to a commercial film.”
Rambo has also been connected with Punjabi theatre apart from doing the occasional film; Shahid Rana’s Dunya is one of his latest films.
Times have changed since Rambo first stepped foot in the industry and although his acting skills and leading man looks have remained intact, he feels the industry has changed drastically. “Earlier, there was only one channel so there were more opportunities [to learn]; now, there are a lot more channels so actors have become busier than ever,” he says, adding they have less time to prepare for their roles. “Before, we would spend the entire week thinking about how we would perform our specific role.” He feels it’s more about quantity now and less about quality.
Rambo believes the TV industry has retained its focus on romance and drama themes in the past few years and this has left little space for action or comedy; he feels films of all types should be made. “If you look at India or Pakistan, they both produced an array of films in the ‘70s but now, in India, only one type is being made — action-comedy,” says Rambo, explaining this is due to the medium becoming a pure commercial one.
He admits he wanted to produce films but took a back seat because of the circumstances in the film industry. “I’ve wanted to make a comedy film for a while now, but these days it’s all about action,” he continues. “I had considered the commercial value of doing so as well but then the industry’s situation was not that healthy either.” However despite these hindrances, Rambo says if he ever makes a film, it will purely be comedy.
As far as acting is concerned, Rambo says he feels it’s time to branch out; he has succeeded as a comedian and now wants to experiment with different characters also. “I have done comedy for years and have earned respect for it also. So now I want to try out different roles, maybe even a negative one,” he says. “The issue is whenever an actor does a certain character really well, directors and producers seem to permanently fit him into that specific role and don’t let him become a versatile actor.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2013.