In a candid and heartfelt interview with FreeStyle Middle East, renowned actor Fawad Khan shared insights into his childhood, the challenges he faced with diabetes, and his personal philosophy on life. The Pakistani heartthrob, known for his versatile performances on screen, provided a glimpse into his life beyond the limelight.
On his childhood
Reflecting on his childhood, Khan described it as “pretty alright” and emphasised its normalcy. “I had a pretty alright childhood. Very normal, nothing extraordinary in that way. I was born in Karachi. When I was six months old, my father’s job was such that we were constantly moving around, I stayed in Athens for two years, after which it was Dubai and then Riyadh. And then, during the Gulf War, we were briefly in Manchester for a while. After that, we moved to Lahore and settled here.”
Opening up further, Khan said, “I went to Lahore Grammar School (LGS) and after schooling, I got admitted into a computer college where we learned about Computer Sciences. During that time, we had an underground band, from where it all started. Actually, in my first year of college, that’s when I started my career in acting, but it was not so frequent at that time. It was sort of a hobby, with a monthly income of Rs12000. I thought I was the richest guy in the class… We had a gang, we’d collect Rs10, 15 from everyone to have a burger or something like that. I have fond memories of my college and school.”
During the interview, Khan also shared the challenges he faced when he was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at the age of 17. “When I was 17 years old my body went through an auto-immune response,” Khan recalled. “I got a bout of high fever after which I lost around 10 kilos of body weight in a matter of eight days. I used to 65kgs and went down to 55kgs at the age of 17.”
He recounted the sudden weight loss, extreme thirst, and frequent urination that led to his diagnosis. Khan has been managing his diabetes with insulin for the past 24 years, acknowledging the initial impact it had on his energy levels and interest in sports. Despite the constant inconvenience of carrying insulin, Khan did not allow diabetes to limit his ambitions or deter his determination. “My thirst increased a lot, it is a condition called polyuria which means you are frequently going to the bathroom and you constantly have the need to urinate because you are drinking a lot of water…I would be drinking six to seven litres of water and my mouth would still stay dry because I was dehydrating.”
The Kapoor & Sons actor shared that he underwent blood sugar tests because of the symptoms and was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. “I have been on insulin since the age of 17 and now I’m 41, so it’s been a career in diabetes for 24 years,” Khan added with a smile. When asked about the impacts that the medical condition brought to his life, he shared, “I was very active in school, played every sport and after diabetes, it went to zero. My interest in sports waned altogether. I had no interest and always felt tired for the initial two-three months.” Khan admitted that administering insulin at a young age and carrying it at all times was a ‘constant inconvenience’ in school but he didn’t let diabetes ‘handicap’ him despite its ‘limitations’.
When discussing the emotional impact of his diagnosis, Khan revealed that it affected his father more deeply than himself. “To be very honest, when I was in the hospital, it didn’t hit me as hard as it hit my father,” he shared. “My father’s a very emotionally stable person. My mother says that’s probably only the second time – once when his brother passed away and then this. He said, if he doesn’t want to do anything in life, it’s okay, no issues.”
On personal philosophy and depression
Khan shed light on the power of belief. he stated, “I firmly believe in this saying; I might not be an ideal Muslim, but I believe that when God closes one door, He will surely open a hundred others, and it applies to everyone in life. I am a very fortunate and lucky person. Where I am today, I don’t think I did that bad. I think I did pretty well for myself.”
The interview also touched upon the connection between depression and diabetes. Khan highlighted the interplay between the two, acknowledging the cyclical nature of triggers. He said, “It’s like the chicken and egg kind of argument. Like, what triggers what, and it’s a cycle. If you have the ambition in your life where you want to do something, then leave diabetes, even cancer can’t stop you.” Pointing to his head, Khan said, “Here is what it is. This is what sets you apart.”
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