” When CBM’S patron came to know that I am leading the team,
he said to Our Patron ,If Bilal Yousufzai is going,
you guys will surely win the best play and best actor award.”
With absolutely no doubt and hesitation I can unassumingly say this that there is nobody, who has seen theatre competitions, theatre and especially contesting team from Iqra University, can claim they do not feel familiar to the name of, Bilal Yousufzai.
The founder of Dramaculas, a brand name he carries with his team of talented actors. Hes not only a theatre actor, but he also musters the art of mimicry, direction and script writing as he has written a couple of his own plays as well, that have won best play and direction awards at nearly all the contests they were staged.
Having performed in almost every Theatre and Dramatics contest all over Pakistan, held at grand or mediocre scales, and being a part of the most glorious stage plays ever witnessed in Pakistan, those being written by Pakistan’s greatest veteran in literature and arts, Mr. Anwar Maqsood himself, Bilal’s journey through different characters sums up in this small but meaningful interview.
- Why theatre ?
Well for me theatre is love, theatre is life, theatre is everything..I mean I cannot describe the type of feeling you get when you’re standing in front of a huge crowd. All eyes are looking at you and all ears are there to listen to you and the moment you end a statement and the crowd applause its..its just amazing.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration throughout?
My theatre director Dawar Mehmood. He has always been my inspiration throughout my journey. I mean he is only 24 and he has directed some of the finest theatre plays including Pawney 14 August, Sawa 14 August, Aangan Terrha And Half Plate..I’ve learnt nothing is impossible by looking at his work.
- Biggest rejection ever faced?
I was just 19 and I auditioned for Pawney 14 August..The first ever Pawney 14 august..The first ever theatre play that Anwar Maqsood sahib wrote..I was very excited for this and I desperately wanted to start my theatre career with this masterpiece but unfortunately I wasn’t that good in auditions..I failed the auditioned..it made me cry because I was expecting a lot. I never looked back and auditioned again. The second time I was impressive and I finally got my name written in the cast of Pawney 14 august Lahore. After that I’ve been in each and every play that Anwar Maqsood sahib wrote.
- If it wasn’t theatre, then what?
If not theatre, I wouldn’t have been a very polished actor. I mean when I look at myself 3 years back I was an ordinary actor but when I stepped into theatre I was polished and I became more mature.
If there wasn’t theare I might have directly stepped into the tv.
- What has been your most triumphant moment as yet, on stage?
The day when I stepped on Iqra university’s stage to perform my first ever play. It was for IUMUN Delegates. We assumed the delegates to be very decent and well mannered. They were but after a hectic day, they wanted some entertainment. They were getting annoyed by the music performance which took place before our play, so they started hooting. As our play started they continued to hoot and our play started very bad until my entry. As I entered people didn’t let me speak a word and they continued their hooting. Then there was a girl who shouted “Hansi nahin arahi, thori entertainment lao” and I replied her “Ye wo log hotey hein k jo mayyat mein jatey hein to wahan b kehtey hein, hansi nahin arahi thori entertainment lao”. And suddenly the whole crowd busted into laughter.
There I made a point that stage is our home, if you try to enter our home and mess with us, you’ll have to pay. The crowd started shouting “Sharfu sharfu sharfu” in the entire play and continued to do so even when the 2nd play was started.
- What disappoints you most about theatre, here in Pakistan?
Theatre is becoming a business in Pakistan. Each and every theatre company that is working here are aiming to make money and not promoting the art. I hate the fact that the ticket price for every play that is taking place at arts council ranges from 1000-1500. It only means that theatre is for those who can spend that much money to watch.
- Any regrets?
Not at all ,I am just thankful to Allah for everything.
- Your journey until now, have you suffered or faced the wrath of haters?
No, I mean there are lovers and haters everywhere but as a comedian and as an entertainer I believe I don’t have any haters. And if there are any haters I don’t know them.
- What do you love most about your relationship with theatre? Theatre has helped me groom as an actor and as a human being. It has taught me lessons like self-belief, never giving up, never looking back.
- What / who is your motivation/ motivator?
I’ve seen many ups and downs in my life and there was only one person who stood beside me when it mattered the most..that is Bilal Yousufzai. I believe sometimes your are your only hope.
- Favorite play of your own?
I am in love with each and every play that I did in my life, I’ve done 9 commercial plays and my favorite play was Sawa 14 august in which I played the role of a Coolie which received tremendous appreciation. Even today when people see me they talk o me about that character. There was a lot of hard work behind that character I mean I had to spend time at the cantt station watching every coolie and noticing their behavior. Courtesy of being a method actor.
- The most meaningful and valued praise you’ve ever received?
When a random girl said to one of my friend “I’ve seen many theatre plays and many theatre actors, but Bilal Yousufzai is one of the most unique actor I’ve seen”When we came back from LUMS, after winning the best actor and best play award. Our patron told me that he received a call from CBM’s patron who wished him luck for LUMS Dramafest a day before we were leaving for the competition. When CBM’S patron came to know that I am leading the team, he said to Our Patron “ If Bilal Yousufzai is going, you guys will surely win the best play and best actor award.”
What is the greatest lesson, life and theatre have taught you combined?
Be humble, down to earth and be nice to everyone, stage is a place which will make you or break you and you have no idea when. So be humble, down to earth and enjoy what you do.
- What makes you proud, the most?
Well what makes me proud is when I look at my trophy cabinet and I see the number of awards I’ve achieved over the years. The stats say it all, 24 awards in last 3 years. I am very thankful to Allah. Apart from that the fact that I’ve acted in all the theatre plays that Anwar sahib has written, makes me feel amazing.
- Your words of wisdom for everybody reading this interview?
Always believe in yourself no matter what, if you believe yo u can do it YOU CAN. Let nobody tell you, You can’t do anything, people cant do something themselves, they tell you, you can’t do it either but the fact is there is talent in each and every human being that is here in this world, we just need to explore ourselves.