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Aagha Ali says industry peers still haven't 'accepted' him

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Aagha Ali, even with a background in showbiz, had to work a lot harder than most to survive in the cutthroat industry. While he's starred in some of the highest-rated dramas, his journey has not been without hurdles. 

While on a recent podcast, Aagha described himself as “always filmy and emotional” as a kid and never imagined a career other than acting. His father, Agha Sikander, a Pakistani television and film actor in the eighties, was a huge inspiration for him. “My father died when he was very young. I would see him practicing dialogues all the time. Then, I realised I wanted to complete his unfinished journey as an actor,” he said. 

Aagha now shares the screen with many of the actors who previously worked with his late father and revealed that the Dil e Gumshuda actor loves it when they make comparisons or find similarities between father and son. 

On the podcast, Aagha discussed how he believes that vulgarity is never essential in relaying messages to an audience. He emphasised the idea that messages can always be delivered tastefully and within norms, no matter how bold the topic may be. 

Aagha also provided examples of how Pakistani dramas have consistently respected boundaries. “There are times when the actress' partners do not want them to do any touchy-feely scenes,” he said. The actor revealed that there might have been instances where he has had to stand his ground and tell the director to make the necessary changes in how the scenes will be filmed to respect his co-stars.

When asked about the future of Pakistani film and television, Aagha mentioned how the industry is churning out the same stories and characters year after year, just with a different cast. “It's the same character, and it's pretty much the same story. It's that angry young man who doesn't bow down, only knows how to love, and can set the world on fire for said love.”

He added, “Until these stories are relatable, and society doesn't open their minds to new things, these are the dramas and films that'll keep getting made. And I have no problem with that.” 

Known for his candid nature, Aagha also discussed how the standard of our awards shows is poor. He mentioned the lack of choreographed dances and good presentation. According to him, people often criticise awards show performances as being the worst. He said, “I wish for people to be wowed by these performances, especially those watching abroad.”

His main issue with awards shows, however, is with the criteria. Aagha himself has only won one award over the span of his career. When asked why he hasn't brought it up with those in charge, he recounted the time he clashed with others in the industry in 2014 and left an awards show halfway. “A lot of people in the industry - not all - think they are above everyone. They think people can't stand up to them," Aagha said. 

Aagha also revealed, “A large part of the industry never accepted me.” The majority of his projects went unacknowledged and didn't get recognition regardless of whether they were a hit or not. “The year my drama broke records, it still wasn't nominated,” he said, adding that he still accepted those people as talented colleagues as the Pakistani drama and film industry is already very limited. 

He said he hopes for improvement in all aspects of the industry someday and expressed his desire to make some of these changes possible himself.

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