Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram set to make his acting debut with Money Back Guarantee

Sultan of Swing takes fresh guard with his significant other Shaneira and heartthrob Fawad Khan-starrer hilarious heist releasing on April 21, 2023



By Shahid Hashmi

Published: Mon 12 Sep 2022, 5:15 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Sep 2022, 6:36 PM

They say filmdom and cricket are inextricably linked because of the glamour quotient.

You show your emotions when you come good, show anger and frustration when the chips are down.

But ask cricketers who have had a brush with celluloid. They can display emotions on the field without facing a camera, deliver the most lethal and beguiling deliveries to pick up wickets with consummate ease.

However, facing a camera and delivering a dialogue is an all-new ball game and many star cricketers break into a sweat at the very thought of such a “daunting prospect”.

Many cricketers ranging from India's Salim Durrani and Sandeep Patil to Ajay Jadeja to Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to Irfan Pathan and Australian speedster Brett Lee have tried their luck in films. From Pakistan the elegant yesteryear opener Mohsin Khan not only acted in films (both in India's Bollywood and Pakistan's Lollywood) but also married Indian actress Reena Roy, albeit the conjugal bliss was short-lived.

Now, it’s the turn of another Pakistani cricketer. The legendary Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram, the 1992 World Cup winner and a former captain, is set to make his celluloid debut with

, a much-awaited Pakistani film directed by renowned television host, actor and film and video producer, Faisal Qureshi.

The film is produced by US-based studio, ZASHKO films. Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan, who was a rage in neighbouring India following a string of box-office successes such as Khoobsurat with Sonam Kapoor, Kapoor and Sons with Alia Bhatt and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, is part of the cast, which includes comedian Hina Dilpazir, Ali Safina, Shayan Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Gohar Rasheed and Afzal Khan also known as Jan Rambo.

So, how was Wasim roped in after he declined scores of acting offers following his retirement from international cricket in 2003?

“Acting is a highly professional job,” Wasim told wknd. “The reason I accepted this offer is because I’ve worked with Faisal (Qureshi) in the past in several commercials. He’s known for directing hilarious comedies, being a good friend and an able filmmaker. I was taken aback when he called me and offered the role,” he recounts.

Wasim is considered to be an exponent of swing bowling at international level and one of the best left-arm fast bowlers ever to play the game. His stellar career record speaks volumes of his natural talent. He has 414 and 502 Test and One Day International (ODI) wickets, respectively, against his name. His 18 wickets not only won him “Player of the Tournament” award but was also key to Pakistan's triumph in the 1992 World Cup in Australia.

So, when a role was pitched to him, it must have been an inswinger for the King of Swing.

“Yes, it was a big surprise, my first reaction was, why me? He said that he has seen me working in commercials for six-odd years. And the role was perfect for me. But it wasn't me alone. He also roped in my wife Shaneria (Akram) in the movie. The biggest superstars — we’ve two in the film, Fawad and Faisal — when their names came up it wasn't easy to say 'no’. With Faisal in charge, it was easy to accept," he adds.

Having wrecked the best batting line-ups in the world, acting was tougher than bowling.

"Yes, it was tough. But the shooting went off well because of meticulous planning. Everybody was helpful. Acting is hard work and isn’t a cakewalk. Remembering the lines or dialogues is an arduous task. Commercials are comparatively easier because of fewer lines. However, Shaneria and I had a whale of a time. It was an amazing experience, and we can't wait for the film to be released. Faisal, who has written, directed and produced the film, is an allrounder in this industry. I wish him success," says debonair Wasim, who has been a mentor to several cricketers from the Indian subcontinent.

The plot, which the film unit is tight lipped about, purportedly revolves around a bank robbery. Wasim plays the president of the bank amid a hilarious heist, punctuated by puns and innuendos

Faisal loved every moment of shooting with the legendary Pakistan paceman.

"I had been thinking on the lines of pitching a short one on him," says Faisal, who has made a name for himself for his funny ad films. “I knew Wasim bhai’s acting chops when we worked on a few commercials together around 17-18 years ago,” he says.

Faisal feels Wasim was tailor-made for the role. “The character suits his personality. He was superb. We did the colour grading in Turkey, where we asked some locals who don't know about cricket about who they liked in cricket. All of them singled out Wasim (bhai) for his colourful and attractive personality," he adds.

Qureshi says Shaneria defied all expectations.

"Shaneria was also professional and perfect. None can say that she’s a debutante,” he says.

Comedian Shafaat Ali was thrilled to act with a legion of reputed actors.

"The execution of the film is excellent," Shafaat says. "The lighting, acting, dialogues and the style of direction was a seamless exercise. The laugh lines are a riot act that’d tickle the audience’s funny boxes. I’m certain the film will be a runaway success. Wasim (bhai) delivered a flawless performance,” he adds.

Will it be a ‘money back guarantee’ for the audience, when the film releases on April 21, 2023?

wknd@khaleejtimes.com

Shahid Hashmi is a Karachi-based journalist


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