No debutante could have asked for a better launch pad.
"I never thought I would be part of history when I signed the film. But yes… I am glad," says Pakistani actor Iman Ali whose debut, Khuda Kay Liye, happens to be the first Pakistani film to release in India.
The daughter of the famous Pakistani actor Abid Ali, however, isn't happy with what she believes is a lack of hype around the film. "I believe more should be written about the film," she says.
The articulate Iman comes across as somebody who doesn't mince words. "I am getting offers to work in Bollywood but I am not game for exposure. I'll wait for a good script instead. The producer has to meet my conditions and I am firm on them," says Iman, referring to Pakistani leading lady, Meera, and her running into controversy after a kissing sequence in Nazar. This is the one reason, Iman says, why she picked up Khuda... from among many offers back home.
<b1>"More than religion, the film is about compassion and humanity. It is for everyone," says the actor who has worked with Indian designers such as JJ Valaya, Tarun Tahiliani, Rina Dhaka and others as a model. Khuda… may be her debut film, but Iman has dabbled in plays such as Woh Saat Din and Jaye Kahan Yeh Dil.
And like many of her contemporaries, Iman refuses to categorise films under genres.
"A film is a film. There is nothing called an off-beat or a commercial film," she declares.
Coming back to Hindi films, Iman has a dream. "I loved Umrao Jaan, the one directed by Muzaffar Ali. But he no longer makes films," she says, allowing a wistfulness to enter her voice. The big-time Hollywood fan also loves Hindi films, and the last ones she has watched are Omkara, Taare Zameen Par and Jab We Met.
"I loved Jab... If such films were offered to me, I'd latch on to them," says Iman who is set to star in a Hindi film about which she will not say anything at the moment.
Finally, how confident is she about Khuda… in India?
"It should do well like it has in Pakistan and other countries," she says.