By Mohamad Kadry
Pakistani pop music star Atif Aslam dives into the film world with
his debut in the upcoming movie Bol. He sits down with City Times to
discuss his career crossover and why Bollywood needs to step up its game
THE CONTROVERSIAL FILM Bol may not have been an obvious choice for
someone entering the film world for the first time, but musician Atif
Aslam prefers it that way. The 28-year-old star is making his film debut
with a whisper rather than a flash, cast in a small role in the
upcoming Pakistani flick that tackles issues like women’s rights and
He chats with City Times about stepping outside his comfort zone, his
problems with Bollywood and why quality will always trump quantity when
it comes to his career choices.
Why did you decide to cross-over into film?
I just wanted to explore myself as an actor. I got bored of my music –
my commercial music – so I wanted to try something different. The
experience was entirely different from what I do in the music videos
because you have to deliver dialogues and act in front of the camera. I
was a little nervous in the beginning but it worked out pretty well for
What was it like the first time you stepped onto the set?
Working with senior artists was very interesting and encouraging for
me. I wanted to do more. By the time we finished, I was more encouraged
to do it in terms of getting lessons from the director and cast.
Were you nervous about getting into acting?
I’m not considering it right now. I wanted my fans to see the film,
just because it’s very intense and nowadays people really don’t have the
time for these types of films. They are all into Bollywood and dance
and those sort of things. This film is different because it’s catering
to a serious social issue and I think it will be very difficult for
people to even absorb it – dealing as it is with issues like child
molestation and women’s rights. I chose the film intentionally because
everyone was expecting me to a do a movie with a larger-than-life heroic
image. People have been offering me a lot of things but I am focusing
on what I really want to do – create a different image of Atif.
Is this the end of your music career?
I got bored because people want to hear commercial music and I want
to produce my kind of music – where I can sit and jam with my band
mates. I always like to leave my comfort zone and I try not to repeat
Are you a fan of social media?
It has become a requirement; I hate it but it’s very important for
the fans. I believe they have a one-on-one connection with the
celebrity, and I like that bit, but I don’t like doing it 24/7. I hate
the invention of the Internet.
What was it like working with your co-stars?
The fact that we were working together was enough for me because I’ve
grown up watching all of them and they have a certain theatre presence.
I got to learn a lot of stuff from them because I never had any formal
training. It was overwhelming.
What’s your character like in the film?
My character is the only one who brings joy to the film.
You don’t play a major role in the film. Was this a conscious decision you made when you went in for the part?
Critics and fans have already responded in a very positive
fashion.People were not expecting such a debut from me. It’s not that
I’m an amazing actor, but my role is very subtle, to the point and not
overly done. The film doesn’t revolve around Atif, it revolves around
someone else, but Atif was an important part of the film.
What’s your take on Bollywood?
There are pros and cons. It’s amazing how Bollywood is exploding, but
sadly, the messages and the entertainment have become stagnant.
Bollywood is making formula films and music, which never impresses me.
It’s growing, but it’s also killing the music industry. A film will
overshadow a pop artist and the artist will die without an industry.
Some movies that I enjoy include Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi
Dobara. But people don’t want serious films coming in, they want to have
entertainment and nothing else. They want six packs, Munnis and
Sheilas. I have friends working in Bollywood, they are amazing
musicians and actors – I think they can do better.
SOURCE = KHALEEJ TIMES ONLINE