Burak Özçivit is ready for Dubai

Burak Özçivit is ready for Dubai

By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 4:58 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Nov 2016, 7:10 PM

Turkish hunk Burak Özçivit is known to his fans in the Middle East for playing the Ottoman military commander Bali Bey in the popular Turkish historical fiction TV series Muhtesem Yüzyil (The Maginificent Century or Hareem Al Sultan in Arabic), but he undoubtedly carries a charm that goes beyond his handsome looks that makes young women swoon.
In the city for the red carpet event of Hareem Al Sultan: The Exhibition last Wednesday, City Times sat down with Özçivit for a chat about his career and love for Arab culture.
Exuding an even stronger appeal in real life, Özçivit carried a persona that wasn't much different from the classical gentleman you see on your TV screens. With a beaming smile and shy manner, he addressed all our questions with an open heart, even though language was a barrier (he spoke in Turkish while his assistant translated it in English for us).
There's a good reason why his fans occupy a special place in his life  "I feel bad, I don't know why I did not come here before. I'm very excited, because I read so much about the city, but due to my workload, I haven't been able to visit the city before. I want to meet people and feel their warmth and hospitality, that's what I'm most interested in," Özçivit said.
The actor is known for his spontaneous interaction with fans on social media. With five million followers on Instagram, Özçivit said he loves fans following him from all over the world. "This communication is very important to me, it needs to be even more. Being here in Dubai provides me with an excellent opportunity to connect with my fans in person and I hope I can come much more in the future," he said.
Although his professional life is an open book for anyone to read, a mere mention of his actress girlfriend of three years, Fahriye Evcen, gave us the impression that he's a very private person. "When you preserve your private life, you're able to feed yourself and be more positive and stand on the ground with firm feet. Keeping your private life intact and living something real away from the spotlight helps you."
Excerpts from the interview.
On preparing for the role
"The way I hold myself in certain situations and the way the character (Bali Bey) looks at love and relationships is very similar to me. Television and cinema connect societies. As a Turk, one role connected me to other people all around the world, and I am very happy for that."
On the success of Hareem Al Sultan
"There are a lot of similarities between Turkish and Arab cultures, which contributed a lot to the success of the show. Family structures and relationships between people are very common between both cultures, which are equally warm and sincere."
On his character Bali Bey
"The masculinity and strength of Bali Bey made him very relatable to men. He's a strong warrior, yet also very sensitive and emotional, which also affected female viewers. The good mashing of these two sides of him is the reason why I'm getting all this attention today. Honestly, he's a dream character for any actor to play."
His success formula
"I didn't expect my character to reach that level of success. But sometimes, if you push yourself so hard to achieve something, it doesn't really work out. You need to let yourself be and see how things naturally comes to life. I gave my best to the role, but if I had planned it that much, I don't think it would've turned out to be so good. This formula applies to all careers from my opinion not just acting."

On his love for Arabic
"Posting an Instagram snap with an Arabic caption during his visit to Kuwait turned heads. When asked if he knows Arabic, Özçivit said, "Difficult question! I just know Inshallah and Mashallah. I think pronunciation-wise, I would do well if I were to learn the language. I could live in Dubai!"

On fame and privacy
"About 12 years ago, I would've given a different answer, but now I have got used to fame and limited privacy, so I'm able to isolate myself from fame and live a private life away from the spotlight. It feeds into my acting and makes me more focused."

On his modeling career
"I started off as a model, it was a starting point for me. I worked hard and my eyes were set on being on screen so I've come to being an actor today. In terms of experience, I did modeling for about three years and acting for the last 12 years, so I identify myself more as an actor."
Future projects
Currently starring in the TV series Kara Sevda (Blind Love) with his fellow actress Neslihan Atagul, Özçivit said fans can expect a movie in a year's time. When asked if it will be similar to his movie Kardesim Benim (My Brother), which received great success in the Turkish cinema, he smiled and said, "I don't know."
On his love life
Özçivit and his girlfriend Fahriye Evcen met on the set of TV series adaptation of Çalikusu (Wren) novel in 2013. Since then, the pair have been making headlines in the Arabic and Turkish press. In 2015, they starred together in the Turkish movie Ask Sana Benzer (Love Looks like You). 

Wedding plans soon?
He blushed, and said, "That's a question I cannot answer now but I'm grateful my fans are following me everywhere, especially on social media. My connection with my fans will continue and I will share with them any upcoming happy news!

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