My story is like "Cinema Paradiso" meets "Rudy" with a little sparkle of "The Godfather" on top.
I was intrigued by films at a very early age when my father built the movie theater "Amber Cinema" in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975, but when I was twelve years old he was murdered.
Afterwards, I was not allowed to go out by myself, not even just a few blocks away in broad daylight. My only connection with the outer world were Walt Disney Cartoons, Movies and great TV shows like "M.A.S.H. 4077."
When I really needed a father figure, nobody was there, only the people who made these great movies and TV shows were there with their work. They became so much a part of me that I just had to come to America - against all odds. If my amazing mother, sister and a few great friends had not supported and encouraged me, I would have never made it.
I have since studied Acting and Filmaking in Los Angeles. I've had roles in independent films, shorts and in stage productions. One of them was the NAACP Award -winning play "For the Love of Freedom."
I myself wrote, directed and edited five short films and also acted in two of them.
My short films saved me. I made them during the most difficult time in my life:
I was put in deportation proceedings during the "Special Registration Period" (where Muslim men had to prove that they were no threat to the US), which was a direct result of 9/11 and lasted from 2003-2005. After having waited for nine hours, the INS confiscated my passport and issued me a deportation notice, despite the fact that all of my papers were in order. The judge terminated the case two years later because the INS was unable to prove any wrong-doing on my part.
The things that kept me sane during that time and motivated me to keep going were Acting, Writing and Making films. So I made my short films and wrote my very first spec script.
When almost everything is against you, you keep going anyway and finish whatever you've created - perhaps that is your chance to get in touch with your true potential, and I find that fascinating.
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