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Born in Ahmedabad, Ajaz Khan for a time labored as a taxi driver in New York City, while longing to work as an actor. Upon his return to India, he pursued his thespian dream, becoming a familiar face on television with roles in Karam Apna Apna, Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka, Rahen Tera Ashirwad, and Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki. Ajaz gained further exposure on reality television when he was crowned winner of Zoom TV’s Bollywood Club. And as a “wild card” entrant on season 7 of the very popular show Bigg Boss he gained even more fans and suddenly became a household name. Along the way, he had supporting roles in several feature films including Ek…The Power of One (2009) starring Bobby Deol, the Ramsey Brothers’ comedy/thriller Bachao…Inside Bhoot Hai (2010), Ram Gopal  Varma’s Rakta Charitra (2010), as well as several well received Telegu language films opposite the likes of Mahesh Babu, Ram Charan, and Nithiin. Back in Bollywood, Ajaz had the opportunity to work with living legends Shatrughan Singha in Rakhta Charitra 2 (2010), Naseeruddin Shah in Allah Ke Banday (2010), and Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah…Hoga Terra Baap (2011) . Having shown his stuff in character and negative parts, he earned a starring role in a low-budget drama titled The World of Fashion (2011), a movie he admits he would just as soon forget. But, as unremarkable as the film may have been, Ajaz deserves every bit of praise for giving an impressive performance and for showing that he had what it takes play a hero.

 

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Fast forward a few years, and a lead role in Lakeer ka Fakeer (2013) let his star truly shine. This hard hitting film shows how the actions of Mumbai’s underworld affects the lives of everyday people, and Ajaz received very positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. Lakeer ka Fakeer paved the way for lead roles in Ya Rab (2014) and the upcoming releases Love Day  and I Love Dubai. Currently he is filming for Puri Jagannadh’s Telugu language feature Rogue. No doubt, we will be seeing a lot of Ajaz Khan in the near future.

 

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Ajaz with Sonu Sood in the Telugu film DOOKUDU

 

Ajaz is known to be outspoken and blunt, but if you follow him on Facebook or Twitter then you already know that he also shows a great sense of humor, has a heartwarming devotion to his young son, and a gratefulness for those who have stuck by him through thick and thin. As a fan, I am delighted that he took the time to chat with me about his career; and as a film journalist, it is a pleasure to spread the word to English speaking audiences about this very talented personality. Hollywood, take note!

Mike Barnum:   Your family had no connection to show business, so how did your interest in such a career come about?

Ajaz Khan:      I did some plays in school and people said I was good. Then, when I grew up I did an ad for a local 5 Star hotel. People liked my face and I was told I should go to Bombay and try my luck. But my family was against it. I was from a middle class family and they did not want to support me as Bombay is expensive and we didn’t have a lot of money. But, I decided that if I don’t take a chance and face the risk, I cannot do anything. I came to Bombay and I tried my luck. I got my start in television and did several shows. I got [roles in] Karam Apna Apna and Kya Hoga Nimmoka. Again, after that, I have no work, so I am in a downer. But I did not give up. Along came the reality show called Bollywood Club on Zoom TV. I won that show and then I got a part in Ram Gopal Varma’s film Rakhta Charitra along with one other film, plus a chance to work with fashion designer Vishal Kapoor at the PANACHE Runway show in Kathmandu, as a showstopper along with Zarine Khan. So, I got very, very big chances from there on and I became a little bit known.

MB:        Your popularity soared with your entry into the competition show Bigg Boss [For you non-Indian’s reading this, Bigg Boss is similar to Big Brother, except that the contestants are all celebrities.]   

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Fellow BIG BOSS contestant Sangram Singh supports Ajaz at the promotion of YA RAB

 

 

AK:         After Bigg Boss, everything is history. People loved me so much. My honesty, my upfronting, my confidence. They liked it, and they loved me, and I am so thankful to my friends and to people who made me what I am.

MB:        Two of your most impressive roles are in Lakeer ka Fakeer and Ya Rab.

AK:          Working in Lakeer ka Fakeer and in Ya Rab were great experiences. These are my two solo hero films. So these were my first time. I did Lakeer ka Fakeer all on location. It was realistic cinema and I learned a lot. Then I got Ya Rab with actor Vikram Singh. It was written by Ikram Akhatar who is a very big writer, and director Mahesh Bhatt promoted it. And that was a very good experience to work with Manzar Sehbai, who is a known actor from Pakistan. The experience was mind-blowing and I learned from both films that I can take the responsibility of playing the protagonist and justify the character.

 

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With Manzar Sehbai in YA RAAB

 

MB:        And  both roles are very different.

AK:         In Lakeer Ka Fakeer I am playing someone who is a normal middle class guy named Fakeer Mohammad, who has a dream to really be something in life. In small slums, the dreams are small, but he dreams to drive taxi in Dubai. And he has a lot of problems because of the area that he lives in, which is notorious for crime. But the police system, politicians, and gangsters, they exploit him and make him into something else. A very different character from who I play in Ya Rab where I am an ACP officer named Rann Vijay Singh. He is from a rich family, very different guy from Fakeer, you know. Very sophisticated, very classy, very responsible. But at the same time he can die for the country.

 

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MB:        You did not stick to just Hindi language cinema, you have been very successful in regional films.

AK:         For fans I would recommend my south films Dookudu with Mahesh Babu, Baadshah with NTR, and Nayak with Ram Charan. All of my south films are very good and they were very good experiences. They work very professionally, they give you respect and they respect actors also. Acting has no language, it is only expression.

 

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Ajaz Khan shows his kind and gentle side

 

 

MB:        Most of your roles have been very heavy, very serious. But you are known to have a great sense of humor and you have done a few lighthearted parts. Do you see comedy roles in your future?

AK:         Yes, for sure you will see me in comedy roles. Jhol Company Public Limited is a comedy, in fact. A dark comedy. Love Day is a friendship comedy film. I like to show my comedy side more because I am a hero inside, not a villain. I Love Dubai is also a comedy film, Ikram Akhtar’s debut film, where I play a bad boy comedy villain. Yes, I am doing comedy. I love comedy.

 

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Ajaz takes on Rufy Khan in the Ramsey Bros. horror-comedy BACHAO – INSIDE BHOOT HAI

 

MB:        Rohit Shetty signed you on for a role in one of his films.

AK:         Singham Retuns has already released and Rohit Shetty ji promised me, but he did not give me any more work till yet. But I believe his promise that he is going to give me something. He is man of his word, so let’s see. There are a hundred people who promise me, but only one, Ram Gopal Verma, has followed through. He made his promise, so he is the man with the steel balls and he is a legend. Rohit Shetty is making two films, so let’s see. If he does, then I believe.

MB:        You have had the opportunity to work with some of the greats of Hindi cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, and while doing Bigg Boss you got to know Salman Khan.

AK:         One of my very, very close friends [director] Puri Jagannadh called me for a cameo part in Bbuddah…Hoga Terra Baap. The film was to be with Amitabh Bachchan. I said “Wow!” and without giving it a second thought I did that role. It was a great experience to meet Mr. Bachchan. I learned so many things. He is so energetic and so punctual and on-time and extremely cooperative. He respects new actors and he taught me many new things. We had fun. As for Salman Khan, everybody knows that he is a very good mentor and a very good guy. He supported me a lot inside and outside, he loved me as a brother and, insha’Allah, in the future we will work together. I wish them both a long life and a happy future.

 

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Ajaz with co-stars Harsh Nagar and Sahil Anand on the set of his upcoming film LOVE DAY

 

 

 

 

 

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