On the 14th of July 2018, I made my way to the Chilworth Hotel, Paddington in London to interview Ali Zafar. It was a very hot day and I wore an Orange Floral Kimono Wrap Dress by Closet London.
Ali Zafar is a Pakistani Actor, Singer/Songwriter and an Artist. He started off by making portraits at 5-star hotels in Pakistan to collect money for his first music album. Ali Zafar is an NCA graduate.
‘There was a boy sitting in the lobby and making amazing portraits’. I recall my mother and father telling me after returning from their trip to PC Bhurban some 20 odd years ago. My father loves portraits. After returning from this interview, I went to see my parents and told them, ‘Today I interviewed Ali Zafar’. My father asked, ‘Who is Ali Zafar?’ .My mother replied, ‘Remember the boy who was making portraits in the lobby of PC Bhurban?’ My father exclaimed with excitement,‘Yes! How can I forget, he was doing such an amazing job!’
Ali’s struggle has been seen through his work.
In one of his interviews, he said that he only worked in dramas to collect money for his first album as music was his real passion. He recalls how Ahsan Raheem was the only person who believed in him and was ready to shoot the video of his first song ‘Channo’.
Channo was a big hit. In fact, his whole album ‘Huqa Paani’ was a huge hit.
Before this, Ali had made his mark in 3 dramas that are still talked about today: ‘Kaanch Ke Par, Landaa Bazaar and Kollege Jeans’.
After making his mark as a singer & actor in Pakistan, Ali achieved another milestone by bagging major roles in quite a few Bollywood films like ‘Tere Bin Laden, London Paris New York, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Kill Dill’.
Ali Zafar has worked with Bollywood actors and actresses like Ranveer Singh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Alia Bhatt, Yaami Gautam, Tapsee Pannu, Imran Khan and Katrina Kaif.
Ali was here in London to promote his film ‘Teefa in Trouble’. He not only acted in this film as a hero but also produced it through his production company Lightingale Productions.
This is Ali’s first Pakistani film.
Teefa In Trouble is a Lightingale Production, directed by Ahsan Raheem. The cast includes Maya Ali, Javaid Sheikh, Faisal Qureshi, Simi Raheel and Nayyar Ejaz in major roles.
As I enter the room, Ali Zafar, dressed in a black T-Shirt and suit, his hair slung back, busy with his phone, he requests for another cup of coffee. ‘This should be my last cup of coffee.’ he says.
While having his coffee, he requests his friend to play a song from Teefa In Trouble. I set my camera and then wait for him to become available for the interview.
Ali seems to be tired and jet-lagged so I decide to keep the interview short.
He then comes over and I’m introduced to him as a London blogger by one of the PR persons. I get up to greet him but he requests me to keep sitting.
Me: Hi Ali, Congratulations on your first film as a producer and I hope its a big success, how has the whole journey been while making this film?
Ali Zafar: Wonderful! It was one of the best experiences of my life because I got to do so much, learn so much and experience so much and I think, to be able to make a film with that kind of team and director is something that we wanted to do for a long time because the director Mr Ahsan Rahim and myself would go back a long way. We were friends and we just wanted to, you know, sort of do something edgy, different and create the kind of cinema that we wanted to do and its always a dream to make it old friend one and I think we’ve sort of made that, now it’s up to people watching on the 20th of July and see how they like it.
Me: Do you think the revival of cinema had already happened or is it yet to happen?
Ali Zafar: Revival? I think the process has started for sure and that’s going to take its due course of time for the industry to develop itself as an industry in its true sense. But the good thing is that the process has started and with this film what we strived to do is, you know, the goal was to make one film in Pakistan which would be of international standard and could beat any international film and put Pakistan on the global map.
Me: Yash Raj Films is distributing this film internationally, how’s that coming along?
Ali Zafar: I think that was probably one of the best things that have happened to the film because of the studio and distribution house like the YRF (Yash Raj Films) which is the most respected studio to have actually come on board and to distribute the film internationally is I mean, like a dream and that too on merit after watching the film. So it’s I think hitting the right track so far and I am pretty confident that people will enjoy it thoroughly.
Me: Speaking of music, where has the Pop Industry of Pakistan gone? Is it still there or does it also need a revival? All we see is Coke Studio, that’s all.
Ali Zafar : Pakistani music always had its own taste and flavour, and somehow it has always managed to keep its roots intact and somehow keep its presence, and whether that’s through Coke Studio or the pop zone and I think Coke Studio has been an amazing sort of thing when it comes to music, but I think indigenous pop music has also sort of taking a back seat, but there are very very talented musicians who are producing some great stuff and I think its time will come.
Me: You have worked in some phenomenal dramas like Landaa Bazaar, Kaanch Ke Par and Kollege Jeans, will we ever see you returning to the dramas industry?
Ali Zafar: TV as a medium is not something that I think I’ll enjoy at this point time. I love the big screen, the magic of cinema is different.
Me: If you were to make a remake of an old Pakistani film and you were to act in it, which film will it be?
Ali Zafar: An old Pakistani film … hmm … I really have to do more research on it. I like to create original content, I think picking up an old film or character and remaking it is, although there’s no harm in it, it’s an easier route to take. Developing my own character and creating something from scratch is what I’ve always enjoyed.
Me: In our morning shows and interview programs, old Pakistani actors are never mentioned, don’t you think it’s important to talk about them to really revive the Pakistani Cinema?
Ali Zafar: Yes, everybody who has done and contributed to it in any way with the process of evolution of cinema or any other art form should be credited and should be recognized. Recognition of art and artist is very important in our society and yes we have lacked in this department. Normally we remember and recognize one that dies and I hope that changes and we recognize our heroes in our lifetime.
Me: What is your 90s jam?
Ali Zafar: Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Bryan Adams, Kishore Kumar, Latta jee, Muhammad Rafi and different bands.
Me: Is there anything in the pipeline that the audience should know about?
Ali Zafar: Well, After this (Teefa in Trouble) there is another project but I’ll start work on that once this is finished.
Teefa In Trouble Releases On 20th July 2018 and I’m going to watch first day first show at Stratford Vue Cinema, yes make the most of when you children are at school =)
Natasha Kundi is an entertainment writer based in London. She also writes on her own blog www.natashakundi.com. Follow Natasha on her social media @natashaklondon.
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