Since the release of Aadat, Atif Aslam has gone on to become a well known name in the sub-continent. His albums – Jal Pari (2004), Doorie (2006), and Meri Kahani (2008) – have met with success, his vocals have been heard in films, and he has even been awarded theTamgha-e-Imtiaz for his contributions to music. The 28-year-old artist has now made his acting debut in the film Bol, which was released last month. We caught up with the singer/actor to talk about his latest ventures:
- Us: Could you please tell Us a bit about the movie Bol?
Atif Aslam: Bol - the movie - is a reflection of our society and its shades. The movie has emotions, drama, and a very strong and bold message for the audiences.
- Us: How did the Bol project come about? How did you get the role in the film?
Atif: Shoaib Mansoor approached me in 2009 and offered me this role of a doctor/singer in the movie. The role sounded interesting, and I signed on to do the movie after some formalities.
- Us: Is there a specific reason you chose to do this project?
Atif: The specific reason was that my singing career started from Pakistan, so I wanted to start my acting career from here as well. Also, the film was being directed by Shoaib Mansoor, so I considered it a safe debut.
- Us: This was your first experience as a film actor – how did it feel? Was it how you expected it to be? Did you face any difficulties?
Atif: Acting is more challenging than singing. We have to control our expressions and stretch our limits to a whole new level. I was having difficulties in the beginning as some of my colleagues in the movie said that my acting was still stiff, but Alhamdulillah it improved with time, and I was able to perform well enough to earn appreciation.
- Us: How was the experience of working with the director and your co-stars?
Atif: It was great, we had a blast! And Shoaib sahib is very artistic and very professional.
- Us: What did you feel when you were watching the final product?
Atif: Well, I was satisfied. Shoaib sahib knows his job really well. A few scenes were not included in the film which I understand the director didn’t consider adding.
- Us: How do you feel about the response the film has received so far?
Atif: The response has been tremendous. Alhamdulillah, the movie has broken all the box office records in the history of Pakistan, and I am glad to be a part of the movie which has done so well. In fact, it has been highly praised across the border, too. I came across some great reviews from their critics admiring Shoaib sahib’s vision and actors’ hard work. People are enjoying it. Some people think that my role is short in the movie, but I believe it’s the impact that matters, not the duration.
- Us: In your opinion, what makes Bol stand out?
Atif: Shoaib Mansoor, plus it is a great effort to revive the cinema culture and it will provoke thoughts of a lot of people.
Us: How did you become interested in acting?
Atif: I think it is a part of being in the showbiz, and I believe in exploring new dimensions of my talents and personality.
Us: Do you wish to continue acting? And would you consider doing Bollywood movies? Are there any projects in the pipeline?
Atif: Yeah, InshAllah, I will continue it provided I get a good response from people for my movie Bol. If there is a right script and team, then I will definitely do movies no matter what place it is.
Us: Now that you’ve taken up acting, do you feel like there has been a shift in priority from music to acting? Or is music still your main focus?
Atif: Acting is not a priority so far. Music is, and it will continue as it is, InshAllah.
Us: What do you think about the current state of the Pakistani film industry? And what can be done to improve it?
Atif: I believe there is no Pakistani film industry, whatever is being done was done on a personal effort by Shoaib
Mansoor sahib. The government should make it a proper industry and announce competitions for the young filmmakers to establish it.
Us: Is there any director you would like to work with in the future? And any actor and actress?
Atif: No one in particular; [I would like to work with] anybody with a good idea and better approach towards work.
Us: What is it about being a musician that you enjoy the most? And what inspires you to make music?
Atif: My environment is my inspiration, and I take inspiration from everything around me – the people, the happenings,
travelling, etcetera. The best thing about being a musician is that you have a productive and fruitful outlet to express your feelings and fulfil your passions. And love of the people is a bonus that you get along the way!
Us: You were working on a project that was meant to be in collaboration with international musicians. How is that coming along?
Atif: Alhamdulillah, I am working on it. A lot of tracks are almost done, and I will release it at the appropriate time.
Us: What do you think of the current music landscape of the country?
Atif: I see the positive side of it and I believe that this is the only good thing happening to the nation nowadays. We should respect our artists more and promote them. God bless our nation!
Us: How soon can we expect another album from you? Is there anything you can tell Us about it? And are there any other upcoming music related projects?
Atif: I’m still working on the album. Many tracks are done, and I’ll release it at the appropriate time. I am not hurrying things up for me. Right now, let the people enjoy Bol.
Us: How do you define success?
Atif: Eternal fruitfulness in this life and hereafter.
Us: How has your life changed in the past decade? Do you feel like you’ve changed as a person?
Atif: Life has gone fast and productive. Patience has also increased as Allah has been very kind.
Us: How do you deal with rumours? Is there any rumour that you’ve found particularly hard to deal with?
Atif: Normally I don’t care about them, but if there is something serious we normally clear it on our website or Facebook.
Us: What is the one achievement so far that you’re most proud of?
Atif: Alhamdulillah the love and prayers of people are the biggest achievements.
Us: Is there anything you want to do that you haven’t done so far?
Atif: I would like to explore more dimensions of music internationally, plus I wish to be more beneficial to the people of Pakistan.
Us: Any message for the readers?
Atif: Don’t let your passions die for ordinary reasons and regret afterwards.
Us: Who was the last person you called? And what did you talk about?
Atif: I dialled my friend after so long and her mother picked up saying it’s a wrong number, don’t disturb me, haha.
Us: What do you have in your pockets right now?
Atif: A lot of boarding passes, a dollar, and a SIM card to earn a few more.
Us: Which book did you read most recently?
Atif: I was reading the Holy Quran. I am loving every bit of it – the history, the sayings and words, the Prophet, oneness of Allah, faith, zakat, Ramazan, Hajj, and everything.
Us: Would you ever consider getting a tattoo? If yes, what would the tattoo be/depict?
Atif: Well I am not a tattoo person, but if I decide to get one then it’s going to be some animal; a fox maybe.
Us: When was the last time you used a pen (or pencil) to write something down? What did you write?
Atif: I have been using it for the past six days to fill up the immigration forms; that tells you a lot about my tour. Before that I wrote a song about composing myself.
Us: Do you have any pet(s)? Have you had any pets in the past? Would you consider getting a pet in the future?
Atif: I don’t have any pets, never had them, and not planning to have any in the future as well.