Omair Rana – an Inspiring Man of many Talents
IE: Describe yourself in three adjectives
OR: That’s a tough one. I think private, charming and easily excitable
IE: On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you in your life?
OR: 10 being the highest, I’d say 8 or 9
IE: Why did you choose the field of drama?
OR: Well, to be honest with you I just never “un-chose” it. I’m not a voluntarily ambitious person who pursues something cutthroat in any way, or plan to that extent, at least my life, I like to go with the flow. Drama was something that I’d been doing since childhood, it’s just that I let go of it after my graduation for a tad bit, I was not making a career out of it but I kept doing it and I proved to myself, and others that I couldn’t do anything better so I came back to drama and I stuck with it.
IE: Did your family freak out when they realized that you were actually going to do a career in drama and how did it actually start?
OR: My family is pretty smart in some ways and obviously they said “Haan graduation zarroor karo… kartey raho drama, kartey raho”. And obviously they weren’t going to say “Don’t make a career out of it” but I quit my job when i was engaged; I was working in a software house as a sales person in Marketing and Sales. And there I was, about to get married and I had no job, so they obviously were a little freaked out. But then I eventually got something from LACAS and LGS and I was the drama coach at both places and I was doing somewhat great, occasionally. And then LGS Johar Town gave me a really good offer later and I took upon that to begin with.
IE: Did they ever try to dissuade you from going ahead?
OR: Well, my father is culturally strong and he does still believe in that desi Lahori thing “Ae ki kadarkhana laaye hai”, “Ae ki notanki tamasha laaye hai” so he did say it to me twice, but he never pressurized me. My mother would always say “Soch lo, bus soch lo”, so she was more suave in her way, but there wasn’t much to think about, I had shown everyone that I couldn’t do anything else better and I was doing well in this so I did it and I pursued it.
IE: You’re a teacher, an actor, a director, and a producer… Which job do you think is the best?
OR: Actor. Hands down, actor. I am an actor and I will always remain an actor, that’s why I belong to the stage, in fact they say that the stage belongs to the actor, that’s where we come from.
IE: Are you driven by the need to make money? Or would you rather just do what you love?
OR: No I haven’t been, that is one of the reasons I wasn’t cut-throat ambitious but I will not lie to you, I have felt the pinch occasionally, of course I have, I’m extremely grateful and content, I thank God because I have never had to look for provision, it has always been given to me. I have grown literally from scratch, I have not inherited anything, I have not had inroads to television or theatre by my famous parents (they aren’t). They have given me what is more valuable than fame and money or legacy… they have given me the strive, hard work, per seen passion, and discipline. My brother used to say “You must enjoy what you do”… But yeah, of late I’ve started to feel it a bit more. Obviously when you become a married person you have different ambitions, if I wasn’t married I would’ve been a two room studio apartment chap, no clue who’s in the house and who isn’t, where’s my pet dog, that kind of stuff.. but I got married, then had a child, now having more and that does amongst other things say you know what I think I have earned it and the economy deserves to recognize that someone who has earned it needs to be rewarded in the capital structure, I hate the capital structure, but I would milk it fine, there are many undeserving people who are getting it, why not me?
OR: It has made me a better person for sure, it has boosted my confidence, I was a very shy person very introvert, it has made my own self-belief, now at the age of 34 I believe in myself, I feel more confident about myself. It has given me a lot of purpose and it has put things in perspective, I’m spreading education and I think it is one of the most rewarding professions you can get. I think that mainly doctors save lives but teachers are the ones who nurture them and drama has helped me do just that and now I’m teaching O level drama, and I would like to believe that I am somehow trying at least to contribute some change in points of view and perspective so that’s been the most rewarding.
IE: Tell us a few things that you can’t tolerate in a person
OR: Stupidity, and hypocrisy…Urrgh I can’t *angry growl*
IE: What do you do in your free time?
OR: I get very little free time… I like to try and come home and see this chap, *Asks Rayaan*”Do I come home and play with you?” “Never” *laughs* so I try to come home and spend some time with this little Rayaan. I like to watch TV and movies; I download and watch a lot of stuff… I would love to read but I don’t get the time, now is the time of the year that I can read so I’m trying to read as much as I can because otherwise when I come home and have the opportunity to do stuff I’m just so tired that I read and I fall asleep. And meeting people, socializing and dining out, I love to meet people!
IE: What’s the most embarrassing situation that you’ve been in?
OR: You really think I’m going to tell you that??…*laughs* I’ve had some very embarrassing moments in life but most recently what’s happened to me is, I have such a horrible association with names and faces, I’m telling you it’s a disease, so after I got married Maira and I, we would go out and I’d meet someone, usually girls, and as a newly married man who’s 25, 26.. And I’d say, you know, “Hi! How are you? How is blah blah… and then its rude, I have to introduce my bride, so you know I’d say this is my wife Maira and then Maira would be like “And she is…” and I wouldn’t remember the name and all I’d be able to say “umm uh she is uh” it’s happened so many times and it used to be so embarrassing. So finally Maira and I came up with a code, I said if I introduce you just as my wife and I don’t say your name, that means I’ve forgotten this person’s name, so don’t ask me, in fact do me a favor and ask them their name so that I can remember it too.
IE: Tell us about the “Taming of the Shrew”… Was this the biggest production that you’ve been a part of?
OR: Depends on how you measure it but yeah I feel as if after so many years of theatre, my own company has done 49 productions, “Taming of the Shrew” is definitely like Imran Khan’s speech would have been at the twilight of his career at the world cup, I’m not sure if this is the twilight of my career but it seems like it is… To be honest with you, “Taming of the Shrew” was one of the most excruciating experiences of my life, it wasn’t easy, it was one whole year and whole lot of stuff. I would not want to go through that again but I think it was worth it, it was worth every pain. But honestly I am so proud that I was a part of this because the whole team, we were fan-freakin-tastic!
IE: Tell us about “Real Entertainment Productions” and your plans for the future.
OR: Well, Real Entertainment productions was what had hooked my foot to theatre, that’s what kept me in theatre, it was something that was started off by a friend of mine, again I wasn’t the ambitious one who started it. The five of us planned to do a play together and it was received well. So I used that as an opportunity to influence the youth, because the youth did not get drama as a subject, and give them the opportunity to learn from drama… Now, after doing 49 plays I’m planning to celebrate the 50th somehow and for the future I want REP to become a dual platform, and this is my ultimate dream, we should have original plays at least once a year, and we should be a platform from all likeminded ambitious people who want to do theatre and they should take this platform and do a good job for it
IE: What about the name “Real Entertainment Productions”? Is it meant to be a jab at other entertainment production companies?
OR: *laughs* I could give you a lot of philosophical answers for this “True theatre is real”, “True entertainment is real” But you know the actual origin of the name is just so funny… We were just thinking of what name to keep and there was this group of actors from Liverpool, there name was “rejects revenge” I clearly remember them saying that” when you select a name be careful because the names stick, we all got rejected from jobs so we all got together and made the theatre company called rejects revenge but be careful”.. But we thought what difference does it make? We just had to do one play. So anyway, by the end of the meeting we still hadn’t come up with anything, all we could think of was something entertainment productions… but we were sleepy and a little bored so we just said we’ll keep it Reproductions… *laughs* When people asked us what the name was we realized that we couldn’t say reproductions, because that’s just ridiculous. So we told them that it was RE Productions – E for Entertainment and to clarify that the R wasn’t for Rana, because this wasn’t just me, it was everyone, I just figured why not make it Real…
“Rapid Fire Round”:
Drama - Passion
Love - Necessity
Food - Aaaaahhh
Life - Fun
Money - Ehh.. Zaroori hai
WAPDA - (Let’s just say it wasn’t a compliment)
Sahir Lodhi - Shahrukh Khan se ziyaada Shahrukh
Osman Khalid Butt - Pappu!
Women - Beautiful
Real Entertainment Productions - Thank you!
Ninjas - Burqas
IE: Tell us how social networking sites like Facebook and E-marketing forums like Ideas Evolved affect the way that you promote your work. And is there anything you want to say regarding websites like Ideas Evolved?
OR: I’ll say this much that it is easier for me to connect with a lot of potential – potential audience, potential coworkers, sponsors – much easier, because I used to be very difficult to reach out and let people know of opportunities and it really helps, it definitely helps… The only other thing is that where any particular sites give the opportunity for people like you to write it has now started blossoming which is really good but again it has to be done carefully so that people still stick with it in the true ethnics of it. Because there is a lot of authority and power with these people and they say that with great power comes great responsibility; with great responsibility comes accountability. So even things being promoted or given critical appreciation have to be done vey neutrally and sensibly and then supported.