How is the experience of working in a large Bollywood production — with Yash Raj Films — going?
It’s going great. People are very hospitable and very warm. Yashji came himself to the studios, which I thought was very kind of him, to ask me how I was and if everything was alright. The staff and crew have been great, and I got myself a guitar to play on the set.
Are you doing impromptu concerts, then?
Kind of (laughs).
Are you singing on the soundtrack of the film?
I will be doing three songs for the film.
Other Pakistani actors have also worked in Bollywood films. What is it like to work in the industry?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but my experience has been great. I’ve been lucky that I’m working here at a very good time. The industry is evolving very rapidly, there’s a lot of focus on the ideas and concepts instead of the budget, star cast, film banner, etc. Tere Bin Laden is being considered one of the biggest hits of the year and it made over Rs45 million. That’s done wonders for me.
Are there any other projects you’re doing?
I’ve been approached by directors but I can’t really say right now. Mujhe show maarne ka shauq nahi hai! (I don’t like showing off)
The Indian press reported you didn’t recognise your co-star Katrina Kaif at a party…
I’m still learning how the Indian media works, news is sensationalised. She came to the Tere Bin Laden success party and I’m a little serene, I didn’t have the same reaction…
The reaction other people would expect — that you’d fall down at her feet?
How is it working with Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan?
Imran is very friendly; he has no airs about him. He’s like a boy next door. I like what he’s doing with his character, because we have to contrast and he doesn’t have that issue – which other actors often have – that they want to overshadow their co-stars. Katrina is very nice and professional too.
Do you get to hear the stereotypes about Pakistanis?
Well, for starters, people were pretty surprised that Pakistanis are given visas per city (as it is in Pakistan for Indians) and that the Delhi to Lahore flight is only 45 minutes! But there are a lot of people here who went to Pakistan for cricket matches, etc, so they have a lot of memories of parties and people and how much fun they had. There are stereotypes that one comes across but I keep telling them and sharing pictures, etc with them that the youth here is normal and progressive and liberal.
Perhaps you should take a stack of GT magazines with you…
Well that’s another side which isn’t representative either.
How do you spend your time in Mumbai?
My friends sometimes drag me out; they go to this place here called Olive’s so I go there. Otherwise I stay in my room, I read or write or I go to swim. I’m a little lazy.
What’s happening with the album release?
I’m going to shoot the video for the song “Jhoom” in Mumbai. Hopefully the album — titled Jhoom — will release by the end of November.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2010.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: October 4, 2010
In an earlier version of this post, the revenue generated by Tere Bin Laden was listed as Rs4.5 million.