Rahim Pardesi - On Being Nasreen, Switching To Solemn Roles And Acting
A burly man clad in a snug sweatshirt appears onscreen. He is wearing a vibrant pink duppata, an obnoxious, uncombed wig and goes, ‘hain jee!’ The camera changes frames to the actual Pardesi who appears to be incessantly annoyed with his spouse and goes like, ‘ab ki gal hogayi hai, Nasreenahh?’ Meet the duo of ‘Nasreen and Pardesi’, both played by inimitable Rahim Pardesi as he switches avatars to embody each role to perfection and inevitably created a fandom across the country and beyond. From the light-hearted setting, to the hilarious exchange of dialogues in Punjabi, excellent comic timing and endearing moments between the Nasreen and Pardesi, the sketches are cited by Rahim as his claim to fame.
YouTuber, digital creator, actor and musician, Rahim Pardesi is revered by his fans which span across the globe. While ‘Nasreen-Pardesi’ sketches made him popular, there is more that he has to offer. From shooting commercially acclaimed music videos, short films and web series, Rahim is now channeling all energies towards acting and that too in ‘solemn’ roles. What more does the future hold for him? We ask in his exclusive interview with HELLO! Pakistan.
We all know who Rahim is on the internet. Who is he when offline? Tell us something about yourself the Internet doesn’t know already.
Not sure if the internet knows this but Rahim when offline is very reserved and mostly quiet. Call me an introvert in a way that I like to absorb my surroundings. Aside from that I am very sporty – I love sports with a passion.
Did you originally plan to be a digital content creator from the start? Or this is a trajectory you discovered later on in life. We are curious, at what point in time you decided you want to do this full time?
Doing what I did, I started it off just for fun with no ultimate goal or to gain fame. I always did this thing where I made small sketches in my spare time. The response Alhamdulillah, was so phenomenal that going full time was naturally the next step. Look how that turned out.
Tell us about your iconic sketch of Nasreen and her husband. These characters have been your claim to fame, what inspired them?
Hahaha, of course Nasreen and Pardesi are the staple. Pretty sure we all have come across a ‘Nasreen’ and a ‘Pardesi’ in our desi families. But contrary to what my fans think they aren’t based on an individual I met, but rather a collective of many of my experiences. At one point I wanted to discontinue the Nasreen and Pardesi sketches because I felt I had done enough of comedy, but the fan outrage did not really let me.
As a fulltime content creator, do you tackle times when inspiration for new content does not come your way? How does one deal with periods of ‘content block’ (much like a writer’s block)?
Yes, of course this block – the inability to come up with original content that is good happens way too often. It is fairly common and I am only human. In case of a burnout of creative content ideas I make sure to take some time out to refresh myself. This usually puts me back into the creative mode. Breaks are important too.
In recent times your fans saw you switch gears from fulltime comedy to other creative dimensions. Was taking a break from comedy on the cards for long? You have broadened your horizons more, what’s more on your plate right now?
Acting is passion for me. I didn't ever think comedy would be my only forte. I have always wanted to explore many different genres and roles - this has always been part of the plan. The desire to create music was also secretly lingering in me and I was absolutely thrilled when the opportunity for that came along. I feel very artistically satisfied with what I am doing right now, pursuing acting and exploring my musical journey. I am happy with the pace of it too. Broadening one’s horizons can be very rewarding at times. As to what’s next, I am focusing more on acting and have some short-films in the pipeline. I will be seen in more somber roles this time as opposed to comic ones.
What made you move back to Pakistan? Most fans will call it an unprecedented move.
I was travelling to Pakistan a lot for many projects. It made sense for me to make the move as I had a supportive team and project opportunities. Also, needless to say that I am a big patriot.
How do you find inspiration for your content?
I usually start from a topic or theme in mind and from there it gradually grows. Some sketches are inspired by experiences, people I meet and places I go to.
What more projects can we expect to see you in future?
I would say many more projects and all different types of projects! We are currently shooting for an action comedy mini-series. We also have a few short films in the works! Like I said, more of acting is coming your way. And less of short films.
Do you think influential content creators like yourself have a huge responsibility when it comes to delivering good, educating and progressive content to the masses? What are some types of content that you dislike and would never create?
I think as social media has progressed so much as an influencer the dynamics have changed. A portal that was once purely entertainment is now a platform open to much more. Yes it is important to be mindful of your viewing community but ultimately I am not responsible for what YOUR children watch or do.
What is THE DREAM, Rahim?
The dream is to be a movie star! The dream is to maximize my potential to show my fans all that I have while keeping it original.
COORDINATION: OMER ANWAR
PHOTOS: COURTESY RAHIM PARDESI