Episode 4 of Ms. Marvel, “Seeing Red”, put a new spin on Kamala Khan’s ally, Kareem, making him one of an order of Red Daggers who serve to protect the people of Pakistan from unseen threats. In establishing the Red Daggers as an organization, Marvel Studios was able to give Kareem a mentor in the form of Waleed, played by Indian multi-hyphenate legend Farhan Akhtar.
Akhtar stays unbelievably busy writing and producing, but seems fairly selective when it comes to acting. In an exclusive interview, Akhtar recalled how he came into the role of Waleed and why it was so important for him to be a part of Ms. Marvel.
When my agent reached out and said that Marvel is looking to cast people from India for this new show that they are doing, I was immediately interested. Firstly, it’s Marvel which is a big deal, you know we are all fans of what they make. Their films are entertaining and are always made on this amazing scale that has something for everyone. So I was immediately interested.Farhan Akhtar
Akhtar’s interest in the role grew when he found out that Marvel Studios was hoping to find a role for him in Ms. Marvel, a show Akhtar saw as groundbreaking. According to the actor, he had a feeling early on that he was joining a very special production.
And then when we found out more, we realized it’s Ms. Marvel, it’s a show about the first Pakistani-Muslim girl superhero, it speaks about the Asian community in the U.S., it travels all the way to this part of the world, it taps into the culture of this place, the folklore of this place, the history of this place. So it immediately felt like Marvel was treading new ground here, you know, in doing something that hadn’t been done before. And then they had people like Sharmeen on board-like Sana as a creative producer, so it really seem like this was going to be special. That’s what it felt like. And I wanted it. So I just said, “Listen, please whatever it is just call me and I’m gonna do it.” And after that, of course, we discussed Waleed and we discussed that character and all that more.Farhan Akhtar
Fans fell immediately in love with Akhtar’s Waleed who, unfortunately, seems to have met his end saving young heroes Kareem and Kamala. Whether we see Waleed again in the future or not, it’s safe to say Akhtar made his mark in his limited role and that his feeling he was going to be part of something special was spot on.
The first four episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney Plus.