His Bollywood debut, Tere Bin Laden, is one of the surprise hits of the year. Ali Zafar’s second movie is with the Yash Raj banner. Directed by Ali Abbas, it co-stars Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif and a new girl. The singer-turned-actor is delighted. “It’s a romantic comedy. I’m playing the parallel lead and singing my own songs. Ali, my namesake, has picked up incidents from his life and woven them into an interesting script. I chatted with Imran at the I Hate Luv Storys success party. He was friendly. I’ve met Katrina twice, she’s nice. Shooting should be fun,” he smiles.
Here and there
He adds that there’s no exclusive contract with YRF and he’s in talks with other filmmakers too. “I can’t reveal the details yet but I could be signing up with another big producer soon,” says Zafar, who has decided he needs a base here too, so his wife and child can join him. “I can’t live without them. And well, I can always have two homes, one in India and one in Pakistan, can’t I?”
He’s disappointed that Tere Bin Laden didn’t have an official release back home. “People have been watching pirated prints and wondering why it was banned,” sighs Zafar who had planned to distribute the film in Pakistan. “I’d worked on it for a long time. More than the monetary losses, I’m upset because I wanted to contribute in my own way to strengthening our industry. I know the film would have worked too,” he sighs.
Dabangg too will not get an opening across the border because Pakistan doesn’t want competition from Bollywood during Eid. Ali Zafar finds the move illogical.
“People are returning to the theatres and during a festival they like to watch big movies with family and friends. They should have the option of choosing what they want to watch. Such bans will not benefit our still-evolving industry,” he argues, admitting that that while he’s been getting offers there from day one, he’s not too kicked about them. “I’m open to good roles. I’ll never cut my ties with my country.”
For the moment, he’s arranging a series of fun raisers for flood-affected Pakistan with his singer friends. “One-fifth of the sixth largest country in the world was under water. We want to rebuild the destroyed areas. People there have given me a lot, this is my chance to give something back to them,” he asserts.
Buzz on Twitter was that he had been washed away by the floods during rescue operations. He laughs, “I didn’t know, what I read on Twitter was Shah Rukh saying that he had not laughed so much in a long time (after a screening of Tere Bin Laden). Well, as you can see, I’m alive.”