Roll a pop singer, a musician and a handsome hunk together and you get Ali Zafar, the only Pakistani to compose, sing and act in a Bollywood flick. He excels in all departments and his success in Bollywood is proof of that. On a recent trip across the Wagah, the scribe was surprised to learn that if you shout ‘Ali Zafar is here’ in a crowded mall, people will rush towards you; such is his popularity in India. The multifaceted entertainer talks to Instep on Sunday about his just premiered film Total Siyappa, working with the Khers and being the person behind the soundtrack of the movie. Excerpts follow:
Instep: How different is Total Siyappa from your other comedies – Tere Bin Laden, London Paris New York and Chashme Baddoor?
Ali Zafar: The nature of Total Siyappa is different, very different from the other films that I have done. It is the kind of flick where no one is trying to make people laugh yet the interaction between the characters results in comedy. If you look at it from a different perspective, Total Siyappa is a sort-of tragedy for a Pakistani boy who ends up in the house of his Indian girlfriend. The reaction of her family on finding a Pakistani in their midst is funny and I am sure people would love it. In short, TS is a comedy with a cause and it makes you wonder as to how weird it can really get when India and Pakistan are involved!
Instep: You have acted, composed songs and sung in this film – the second time you have done that in a Bollywood movie after London, Paris, New York. How do you feel about that?
Ali Zafar: Honour ki baat hoti hai … it is an honour that Bollywood people consider me a music composer and ask me to compose songs for the movies. Music always plays an important part in the success of a movie although when you are acting, singing and composing, it means double the hard work, double the responsibility. But when people like the music as well as the film, you feel thoroughly satisfied.
Instep: How was the experience of working with the ‘Fair & Lovely’ Girl?
Ali Zafar: Yami Gautam is not only very ‘fair’; she is a ‘lovely’ person to work with. She realizes that she is a known face in Pakistan and wants to visit the country and meet her fans. A big premiere in Pakistan is on the cards so that the cast and the crew can come closer.
Instep: The Khers – Anupam and Kiron – come together onscreen for the very first time in their careers for this flick. How was the experience of working with them?
Ali Zafar: They are veteran actors with loads of experience behind them. One gets to learn a lot from them by just observing them. This is my second film with Anupam Kher ji and he is a humble person in reality. In fact both he and Kiron Kher are sweet and very welcoming and they didn’t let me feel that I was an actor from Pakistan at all.
Instep: All-rounder Shahid Afridi won a match against India during the recently concluded Asia Cup … Do you think the dialogue regarding the all-rounder is justified now?
Ali Zafar: Oh the Shahid Afridi dialogue (laughs). I encourage people to please go and watch the movie because it is only then that they would understand the dialogue and its meaning. They should pass their judgment only after watching the complete dialogue because it has been used in good faith and should be taken as self-criticism. People in India and Pakistan love cricket and when a cricketer does well, usko aasman par charha dete hain. If he fails to perform, gaalian bhi dete hain and this sequence is a take on that culture!
Instep: The film was titled Aman Ki Asha before it turned into Total Siyappa. Do you think it will be able to bridge the gap between the two nations?
Ali Zafar: I feel problems between Indians and Pakistanis escalate for no rhyme and reason, and we can resolve them if we apply logic inside of our hearts. This film will try to make the people of the two countries understand in its humble way so that they move forward rather than hate each other for nothing. I have met people on both sides of the border and believe me; they want an end to the conflicts as well.
Instep: What does Ali Zafar have in store for his fans all over the world?
Ali Zafar: After Total Siyappa, my next release would be Kill Dill, a Yash Raj film which will be an all-out serious action flick featuring Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra and myself in the lead. I would be seen in a different look in the movie because I haven’t done many action flicks. (Legendary actor Govinda will also play an important role in the movie!)
Instep: Any chance of working on this side of the border?
Ali Zafar: It was about time that I worked in a Pakistani film, and that is why I am writing and producing one in which I would act as well. I hope to use all my Bollywood experience to come up with a quality product for my fellow countrymen and I am hopeful that they would appreciate the effort, like always.
The writer works for Geo TV and can be contacted at [email protected]