Meet Haider Rifaat- A Man With A Vision…

Today, most of us seek shortcuts in the practical world. People want to work
less and earn more. We no longer wish to strive. Instead, we endeavour to reach the peak of our careers almost immediately. The ones, who are actually willing to struggle, encourage us to follow into their footsteps. Fortunately, in this merciless and selfish world, many people inspire us. I met one such inspiration a few days ago, who is an emerging success story.

Introducing Haider Rifaat, an actor, model and talk show host. He began his
journey on social media at the age of 10, and has come a long way since. He is
set to make waves in Pakistan’s entertainment industry with his upcoming debut feature film 24 Hours, which will premiere on the big screen this winter. Let’s have a chat with the promising star!

Haider, give us your background.

I was born in Fairfax, Virginia on July 3, 1995. I spent a large portion of my
childhood abroad, mostly in the United States. As a youngster, I was
mischievous, happy and jolly. These traits resonate with me today too, and my
family can attest to it. After completing my high school, I moved to Pakistan to pursue higher education. I graduated cum laude from SZABIST, majoring in Psychology. Although I come from a family of media professionals and avid followers of politics, I took a different route, but not outside of the media realm. Performing arts has always been my passion. I aspired to be an actor at a very young age. I find myself most liberated in front of the camera; it gives me ultimate strength.

Haider Rifaat
Photography: Hannan R. Hussain & Shaan Faisal

Alongside acting, I am a journalist. I began writing for The Express Tribune
blog in 2014 and eventually Daily Times, Good Times magazine and OK!
Pakistan. I have interned at HELLO! Pakistan, GEO News and DAWN News
under the supervision of Hamid Mir and Meher Abbasi. Since 2016, I am
headlining The Haider Rifaat Show, which is Pakistan’s first web talk show on
YouTube.

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For the publications I write for and my channel, I have interviewed eminent
national and international celebrities: Ali Zafar, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahad Raza
Mir, Mehwish Hayat, Georges Chakra, Renan Pacheco and Patrick Shaner, the
spokesperson of H&M in New York among others. I was also fortunate to have
interviewed almost every renowned anchor in Pakistan. I could not have asked
for a better life, and thank God for his immense blessings.

Tell us briefly about your on-going projects.

I have completed my debut feature film 24 Hours directed by Sharf ul Murtaza
Zaidi. It is currently in post-production and will release nationwide and in
global cinemas this winter. I play a supporting role; the prime victim of human
trafficking.

The film sheds light on an important and neglected socio-political issue. Human trafficking is real and ongoing in Pakistan. The problem has mounted in recent years and we hope to counter it effectively through the medium of film. We shot the entire project in the capital city, and it is great to witness production houses in Islamabad taking initiative to revive the essence of performing arts. My other project is a tele-drama Kiran for PTV Home that will air this summer. I am also working on my debut book and other exciting roles.

How did people around you react when you launched your YouTube channel, and grounded yourself in Pakistan’s media industry with The Haider Rifaat Show?

Haider Rifaat
Photography: Hannan R. Hussain & Shaan Faisal

My family was incredibly supportive. I don’t know about others. One can’t
really tell how people actually feel for your success. I simply focus on giving
the best to my work. If people appreciate my efforts, it is an added achievement, but I don’t look to appease anyone.

What were/are the most challenging moments in your career?

Good question. There is a lack of emphasis on launching a talented new face in
Pakistan’s show business. People give more precedence to looks than skills.
That is not the goal of acting. It is more about becoming a character and leaving yourself behind for a moment.

There weren’t many trials to begin with. However, the few challenges I did face
appeared harmless. I neither cried nor felt defeated by them. My mother’s
prayers played a huge role in helping me reach my dream goal. Opportunities
began to flourish on their own. I only believed that everything happened for a
good reason. My willpower and family’s endless support kept me going. God
had it all planned out. He had something better to offer, and still does.

Your biggest support?

 

My mother – she believed in me before anyone else ever could, not even
myself. She has relentlessly sacrificed her comfort to ease my discomforts. I
cannot put into words her generosity and compassion for us, and others.
Helping the less fortunate gives her solace. I vividly recall how she utilised
sleepless nights to instil in us the value of honesty and charity. She has always
put our interests before her own. She is my lifeline.

What inspires you?

Confidence, humility and empathy. Anyone who demonstrates these three
qualities inspires me. If you are confident, you can conquer the universe, but try to be humble too. I would cite my mother as my source of inspiration. In acting, Aamina Sheikh, Imran Ashraf, Christian Bale, Meryl Streep and Viola Davis inspire me.

Does your work give you satisfaction/peace of mind?

Absolutely! If you are passionate and driven to do something you love, you will
enjoy it. Many youngsters are encouraged to pursue a career path that they are not satisfied with; it does more harm than good and parents need to understand that.

Haider Rifaat
Photography: Hannan R. Hussain & Shaan Faisal

Acting is grey matter. There are no rules to it. I feel content to imagine myself
in the shoes of someone else and become that person for the camera. Acting is powerful energy. If you learn how to use it properly, you can dominate any
character. I never studied acting; only observed powerful actors become
different characters, and that motivated me to take this profession seriously.

What are your future plans?

To redefine performing arts with my acting ability.

Your advice for starters?

Never compromise on your uniqueness for acceptance. It is just not worth it,
especially in the field of mass media. Your differences make you, YOU! People
are short-sighted. They want you to be like them, which is unfair. The world is
not full of like-minded people. If we were all the same, what new could we ever
bring to the table? Work hard and continue to be the best version of yourself,
and not someone else.

Thoughts on tubelight.pk?

I am grateful to tubelight.pk for approaching me for this interview. It is rare for
media platforms to promote unheard, raw talent. Many media outlets choose not to give coverage to stories that are creative and experiential. I am glad
tubelight.pk defies that idea!

It was an honour to sit down with Haider Rifaat for an interesting conversation.
Team tubelight.pk is certain that his drive, insight and vision will help him
reach pinnacles of success.

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