As long as Pakistani actors don’t bring shame to our nation
Pakistani stars Iman Ali and Fahah Mustafa take us behind the scenes of the Pakistani film industry and their film Mah-e-Mir
Pakistani actress Iman Ali made a splash when she made her debut with Shoaib Mansoor’s post-9/11 drama Khuda Ke Liye (2007), following which she played a small role in critically acclaimed Bol (2011) and then disappeared from the big screen. She is back with Mah-e-Mir that releases in the UAE this weekend.
Mah-e-Mir revolves around the life of the legendary poet, Mir Taqi Mir, the role played by Fahad Mustafa in the film.
‘She is like Mystique from X-Men’
According to Iman, this film has many layers around it making it a very complex kind of cinema, “this film requires patience and a strong will to watch,” she told us. “Its a fantasy world because it is about somebody reading something and then visualising it. It is not really a period film but we are giving you a visual reference of what this guy is reading because when we read a book, we kind of see it in our head. My character is meant to have lived at some point. I don’t want to expose much of the character because the mystery of my character is the beauty of it. She is like the mystique from X-Men. We don’t know whether it is imagination or a real character.”
‘Mah-e-Mir will rekindle people’s interest in Pakistan’s literature’
The story follows the struggle of a contemporary poet and draws parallels with events in Mir’s life. It also traces his conflict with the royal court, his romance with a courtesan, his ideals of bringing Urdu poetry to the people in the streets. “I am very lucky to get this character. I am playing two characters. Both my characters look and talk differently. I have done both commercial and art films. I like characters that offer more substance to my role and that give more identity to Pakistani cinema. It is genuine, original and very Pakistani. Our youth doesn’t read much about our writers. A lot of those writers were not appreciated during their time and we are trying to address this issue. Imaan has played her character so beautifully. She looks totally different in the two parts of the film. The script was very interesting and difficult as an actor to do, but the director has created this beautiful world and we are glad to be part of it,” says Fahad.
Yes, Pakistani film industry is in its revival stage but we see hordes of formula and commercial films coming out it, which category does this film belong to? “You have got the glamour and romance factor going in a typical commercial way yet it has got that art finesse to it. This film is not going to fit into any category. It is not going to make you laugh and it is not going to make you cry, it will make you think. It doesn’t belong to any genre and that is the best part of this film. We need that kind of cinema. It will make you use your brain cells, yet it is pleasing to your eyes,” says Iman.
“As long as our actors don’t bring shame to our nation”
We asked Iman Ali what she thinks of Pakistani actors like Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan and Ali Zafar who are doing well in Bollywood.
“Everyone should follow their dreams and aspiration. If our actors are doing well in Bollywood, why not? One should not put barriers on actors; mankind has forever been putting barriers up. It has not done any good to mankind anyways.
“We should start thinking like a human being and let people be. I think whatever they want to do, good for them. As long they are not going to India and like some people who made a fool of themselves - and there have been some - as long as they are not bringing shame to the nation, even that we shouldn’t take it personally. It’s their choice. They are not responsible for entire Pakistan, if they want to make a fool of themselves.
I am really happy for the ones who are doing good for themselves. All the best to them.”
Would Iman like to enter Bollywood someday?
I don’t think and plan. I think there is a divine plan and a divine planner in this existence of ours. We can do the best that we can, with whatever that is thrown our way. Planning doesn’t work for me because I believe in the divine plan and that’s the design I want to go with. So wherever the force takes me, I shall go and be the best that I can.
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID
‘Indian films are going for set formula’
Fahad: Pakistani film industry is THE place to be. Our industry and cinema are young. People are willing to experiment. Indian films are going for set formula. I produce a lot of films and I think our people are very intelligent and talented to come out with different films. All kind of films is being made and we are evolving every day. It is a huge market right now.
‘UAE biggest overseas market for Pakistani films’
Director of the film Anjum Shehzad explains the strength of UAE market for Pakistani films. “After Pakistan, the UAE is the biggest overseas market for Pakistani films. We are looking forward to releasing this film in India as well if certain political parties allow us to. For this film, India is a very good market. We are trying our level best.”