Pop singer turned Bollywood star Ali Zafar wants to resurrect the Pakistani film industry and believe this can only happen with solid support from the government there. Just before the recent election of Nawaz Sharif, Zafar called on whichever government is voted into power to make a real effort to help resurrect the ailing movie industry there.
“I’m working on doing something for the Pakistani film industry with other people. Now that things are almost on the right path it could happen. All we need is the right policy from the government that comes in. They need to re-prioritize the industry of cinema, and then we can make change happen. Without the support of the government it’ll be very difficult to do that.” – Ali Zafar
As one of a growing number of Pakistani singers and actors to have sought work in the Indian film and music industry, mainly due to the decline of the Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi and Sindhi language films at home, Zafar is vocal on Pakistan’s desperate need to improve conditions for its artistic talent. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Adnan Sami and Shafqat Amanat Ali are just a handful of singers who, like Zafar, have forged successful playback careers in the Hindi film industry.
Parvez Musharraf’s government lifted the 1965 ban on Bollywood films in Pakistan in 2008, with My Name Is Khan being the first film which was released officially. This ban was mainly due to pressure from the cinema hall owners who were on the verge of extinction with less popular Lollywood (Pakistan’s Lahore based film industry) failing to draw crowds. Since then it has helped lead a revival in the fortunes of the cinema industry in the region, with Bollywood filmmakers today counting Pakistan as an important territory outside of India.
“I am nothing like my on screen characters”
In a candid interview, Zafar also admits he is nothing like the live wire characters he portrays on screen. The star of recently released hit comedies like Chashme Baddoor and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan said the high-energy roles are in stark contrast to his relaxed real life demeanor.
The devoted husband and father would much rather be at home spending time with the family than out at a party like the crazy characters he plays.
“You know it’s very strange when somebody meets me in real life, they get surprised because I’m not like those characters. When the director says ‘action’ I immediately get into the character, but otherwise in real life I am a very relaxed person who likes to chill with a guitar and songwriting. I like to spend time with my family and am not wired like I am seen in my movies,” said Ali.
Do you think Pakistan is taking it a bit over the top by banning so many films in the country? Do you think Ali is right about his statement?