Popular Netflix show Money Heist was one of the shows that made lockdown more bearable as the world binged it, creating hype that lasted long after the show ended in Dec 2021. Since the show skyrocketed to fame, we had the Pakistani film industry come up with their own version of the series in 2020 and more recently, a Professor doppelgänger was uncovered as well. Nida Yasir featured Pakistan's very own Professor, Israr Khan, on her morning show and he revealed some delightful details about himself.
Khan appeared on Good Morning Pakistan and spoke about his rise to fame, his iconic look and his first robbery.
Money Heist is about eight thieves who take hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain as a criminal mastermind who goes by Professor manipulates the police to carry out his plan.
Yasir introduced Khan, revealing that he has officially added "Professor" to his name after people insisted on it. When asked if he changed his appearance deliberately to match that of the character's, Khan said, "This has always been my look, same shave. I've been acting since before Money Heist and my videos were out there but the hype was received after the show was released."
He added that it definitely felt like a big win. "I've been working in this field for nine years, have worked on YouTube as well and have had viral videos too but there was no hype around them. Ever since I worked on a Pakistani web series as Professor, there's been a lot of hype."
Khan said the only change he made to perfect the look was changing his glasses frames. "My look has always been the same, I only changed my glasses, I used to wear a different frame. I had to really search hard for the Professor's frames, I went through seven or eight shops, tried on different glasses for hours and then only I found this frame. Even after finding the frames I had to wait two weeks for it to arrive."
The actor shared that though he's done his masters, he wasn't much interested in studying and that he's wanted to act ever since he was a child. "Professor and I have always been into acting, not studies but I am definitely interested in heists and robbery." When asked about his first robbery he said, "My first robbery was dil churana [stealing hearts]. That is the first and last robbery," he added with a laugh.
Khan spoke about how his family perceives his resemblance to the Professor, saying, "My mother has seen Alvaro Morte and she says 'I think this is you', whenever I show her the picture she asks why I keep showing her a picture of myself. I tell her it's not me and she insists it is."
The actor said he got married before Money Heist was released and his wife still doesn't see the resemblance. "She asks 'who says you do?' The whole world accepts it but she doesn't." He quoted the Urdu idiom "ghar ki murgi, daal barabar" which roughly translates to undermining one's possessions by comparing them to those of someone else. "It's the same in this case," he said. "The rest of my house does accept that I resemble him, only my wife doesn't."
The actor has his own YouTube channel where he poses as the Pakistani Professor and has accepted this facet of his identity.