In Delhi's sweltering heat, wearing a thick black jacket is an invitation to be dismissed as a wannabe. But you can almost forgive this faux pas if the person wearing the jacket wears it like it's part of his anatomy. That's how Imran Abbas Naqvi does it, so you don't scream to set the AC lower.
Naqvi, 31, is one of Pakistan's most beloved small-screen stars, and is now about to make his Bollywood debut in Vikram Bhatt's soon to release sci-fi flick, Creature 3D. He'll also appear on the Indian small screen, when his 2011 TV show, Mera Naseeb airs on the new entertainment channel Zindagi, which broadcasts syndicated shows from Pakistan.
"The good thing about Pakistani serials is that they don't go on for years like they do here. They last a month or two, with 22-23 episodes max," says Naqvi. "I was initially sceptical about appearing on TV in India, because then you would know me as a TV actor first. But my role in Mera Naseeb allowed me to showcase a range of acting skills. So people will know me even before I appear in my first Bollywood film."
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Born and brought up in Islamabad, Naqvi comes from a family of Urdu poets and is an architect by training. He spent a year-and-a-half modelling before moving to Karachi to work in television, where he spent the next nine years working in hit serials such as Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan (2009-2010), Noor Bano (2010) and Khuda Aur Muhabbat (2011), among others.
Also watch: Why Imran refused Aashiqui 2
Creature 3D, slotted to release in September, stars Naqvi opposite Bipasha Basu. This is his first film, though he might have been seen in Indian theatres long ago if he hadn't been so busy. "I was offered the second lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Guzaarish and the lead in Mohit Suri's Aashiqui 2, both of which went to Aditya Roy Kapoor," says Naqvi. "Bhansali had also wanted to launch me in Ram-Leela. But I was tied up in a contract with a production house in Pakistan at the time."
Like most actors, he'd always wanted to do films, but he's grateful that he had nine years in TV before transitioning to the big screen. "It is the right time for me," he says. "Because in TV dramas you can get away with a lot of things, but in films your acting has to be polished, you have to be a good dancer, your looks have to be mature. I have worked towards these in the last few years in TV."
aqvi will also feature in Muzaffar Ali's Raqs, opposite newcomer Pernia Qureshi (the fashion and filmstylist and designer behind Pernia's Pop Up Shop).
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From HT Brunch, July 20
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