Muneeb Butt got his arms waxed and eyebrows done to play an intersex assistant commissioner in drama Sar-e-Rah
Muneeb Butt has undergone a transformation for his newest drama Sar-e-Rah in which he is playing an intersex assistant commissioner, starting with waxing his arms and getting his eyebrows done.
The limited series, also starring Saba Qamar, Hareem Farooq, Saboor Aly and Sunita Marshall, sees Butt in a rather unconventional role. A lot went down behind the camera for the actor to play a role like no other he had ever played before.
Butt and the cast of Sar-e-Rah appeared on Nida Yasir’s Good Morning Pakistan on Friday, where the cast promoted the show by sharing their experiences on set and how they got their roles. Qamar, Farooq and Marshall shared their experiences of playing Rania, Mariyam and Mizna respectively. Butt revealed that he initially wasn’t going to play the character of assistant commissioner Sarang because the role was not offered to him.
“I wound up with the shoot of other dramas way before I picked Sar-e-Rah. I was so excited, actually over-excited, that I had prepared long enough for the role that during this time I wouldn’t do anything else. So my focus remains on just one thing because the character is very sensitive that if I had left one thing out, I wouldn’t have been able to justify it,” Butt said.
Yasir asked him how he got the role and how he was convinced to pay Sarang as he has always played “hero” type of characters in the past. “Initially I wasn’t offered this character. Within this play, I was offered another role,” said Butt. “So after each episode comes to an end, the last scene from it connects with the upcoming one. Just like that I was offered an episode, I read it and then decided I won’t do it because I couldn’t understand the character,” Butt said.
“I have this habit to carry on with it till the end to see the result. So when my character came to an end this [Sarang] character came in. I then called our director, Ahmed Bhatti, for this role and he said it’s not for me but still I told him that I want to play this character and asked for the script.”
He said that after reading the script, he told the director that they can cast anyone they want to, but he wants to audition for the role. “So at night we packed up for this other project, I came back to my hotel in Lahore, I had this heavy beard so that I looked like a 30-year-old, proper man who has two wives. I had facial hair for that. So for the audition, I prepped and by midnight I started to edit the clip and added music too, for the feel. Then by 5am I sent it to the director and Abdullah Seja and I went to bed.” By morning, he got the call that he got the role.
“When I auditioned, I had a full beard. A lot of people were in disagreement because of the beard but I said chill and trust me. If I’m taking such a daring step then I know it’s not a normal character, it’s way more than that and different. So to take such a step I knew I had to prepare a lot for it. If you’re jumping into a war, you need to prepare enough to come back with a win. So I decided that I will prep for my role.”
Yasir told Butt that only fortunate people are able to get such roles to which Qamar added that the best part about being an actor is that you learn what you can do and you get the urge to reach your full potential. She suggested that Butt is at a stage where he wants to “experiment”.
Agreeing with what Qamar said, Butt added that he rejected a lot of roles before because he was scared of doing them, wondering if he’d be made fun of for doing it. But now he has decided to take “brave steps” by not being afraid of his work and trying to show the actor within.
“Let me tell you why actors are not considered. The producer is unable to understand that an actor is capable of pulling off different roles. I mean, for this project, no one told me that I have to do this, but I got my arms waxed and eyebrows done for this role. It’s such a painful process and I’m now able to understand it. When I was getting my eyebrows done, it felt like I was getting operated on,” he laughed.
“You know for me, I was surprised when I found out that Muneeb was doing this character because a lot of leading men, they don’t dare to do such characters. I was very pleasantly surprised that somebody is brave enough to do this and do it with grace,” Farooq said.
Butt shared that in a family of actors, when he sits with his wife and everyone else, he discusses what character he is about to do. So while discussing Sar-e-Rah, it was his brother-in-law Ahsan Mohsin Ikram who told him to think this one through. “That’s when I said, everything’s decided, now there is no time to think about how things will pan out. This is what I wanted to do, so the only thing to focus on is doing my best,” said the Qalandar actor.
He previously told Images that Sar-e-Rah is “a six to seven-episode series” similar to what we see on Netflix and Amazon. He said that it’s a USAID series in which each episode is based on a different story. “It highlights all basic, social issues such as the stereotypes in our society, the way things are done and it breaks taboos,” he had shared.
Sar-e-Rah released on February 4, starting with Qamar’s story of a woman forced to make a living by driving her father’s taxi after a tragedy in the family. The show airs every Saturday on ARY Digital at 9pm.