A life spent only on your own wishes and dreams is a very selfish life: Ali Zafar

Pakistani super star Ali Zafar spells out the need for artists to be honest and empathetic, and how their values can shape the world

By Mahwash Ajaz

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Published: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 7:23 PM

The glamorous, glitzy awards night for DIAFA in Dubai was resplendent with Ali Zafar’s charm and charisma. As he walked the red carpet with his gorgeous wife, Ayesha Fazli, he met his co-stars from his Bollywood stint, his counterparts from Turkey and his fellow artists from the Middle East. Zafar’s acceptance speech at DIAFA expressing his concern and appreciation for the people of Palestine had gone viral on social media. DIAFA is a part of UAE’s nationwide campaign for Palestine, ‘Tarahum - For Gaza’, and it is one of DIAFA’s pinned posts on its social handles.

City Times caught up with the Pakistani mega star and found out more about his experience at DIAFA, his urge to speak up on matters he feels important and his upcoming projects.

“The experience of attending DIAFA was very exciting,” the Jhoom crooner said. “It was great to be honoured with the award and for my work to be recognised. It was lovely to meet some of my co-stars from back in the day, like Aditi Rao Hydari. We met after many years. Nargis Fakhri and I worked together once in an ad campaign. It was also wonderful to meet artists, directors, and musicians from all over the world; it's great to connect with the community, it's good for us all to share a platform and share ideas.”

This isn’t Ali Zafar’s first stint in the UAE. He has been previously honoured at the PISA Awards and he was the first Pakistani actor to receive the Golden Visa. So how does it feel to be in the UAE and be a part of the events here? “This place is becoming the centre of the world where people can convene. It gives that facilitation, that oxygen to people from various countries and all walks life. It’s a place where businesses come together,” commented the Teefa in Trouble star. “Dubai is like a second home, which is why I keep coming back here.”

At this stage in his life, and as an artist in today’s day and age, how important are awards? “It can mean different things to different people. As an artist, it feels great to be honoured for the hard work. But to me, it means more than that. I think art and artists can play a very vital role in shaping the world. You can foster human values like compassion, creativity, empathy through art. Through writing, music, or cinema you can enable these feelings. To me, an artist’s job is not just to entertain. If he chooses to do that, it’s fine too but if you are given a voice to speak for people who cannot - which is what I said in my speech - then it changes the outcome of your art. To me, these platforms, which I use to speak about issues, are bigger than us. They are not just opportunities to talk about yourself; I don't give much importance to myself. These events are god's gifts and opportunities given to render your services to humanity at large.”

So how does he balance the occupational hazards of having a celebrity status with the more self-actualised role of speaking for the voiceless? “If you're honest to yourself, if you're sincere to yourself, your craft and your art, then you don’t have to care,” he says. “Eventually people also can distinguish and gauge - they have the intelligence to perceive others through small nuances. if you're honest, that honesty comes through.”

About his upcoming projects, ventures and his mantra in life, the Kill Dil star stated, “A life spent only on your own wishes and dreams is a very selfish life. To each his own. I don't hold anyone accountable for their philosophies in life, but my philosophy is that if you have that opportunity to have a voice, do what you need to do for yourself and also for those you can help achieve great things. That is what makes us human beings. We should be there for each other, understand each other and contribute and add value to each other's lives.”

Talking about his future plans, the Channo singer said: “This year was spent largely in touring. A lot of music has been recorded, which we will release next year. We released our first international collaboration. Our next international collaboration will also be very interesting for folks to watch. You'll get to see a lot more music. There's a film that I’ve been working on. The writing is going on and when that writing is done, we'll move to the next phase.”

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