No to Priyanka, yes to Waar for Shamoon Abbasi

Published: October 6, 2013

Villain in upcoming film says he is committed to Bilal Lashari’s vision.

LAHORE: 

While most mid-career actors’ ultimate goal is to bag the main lead in a film, Shamoon Abbasi grew up with a different ambition — of being a hated villain. With the release of upcoming big budget film Waar right around the corner, Abbasi’s dream of becoming Pakistani cinema’s favourite bad guy may well come true.

“People have asked me why I always pursue negative roles,” says Abbasi, who plays a deadly assassin in Bilal Lashari’s Waar. “There are a lot of heroes — I want to be the anti-hero,” he says.

Born and raised in Italy, the ruggedly attractive actor says he has in the past declined offers, as he feels the idea of a villain needs a revamp in the Pakistani film industry. “I would receive countless offers to act alongside Shaan and Momi [Moammar Rana], but there was always this feeling that the work being done is not up to standard,” he adds. Perhaps this selective approach is the reason Faisal Bukhari’s Bhai Log is his only major venture to date. However, he believes Waar will be a game-changer for both him and the industry.

“When I met Bilal and was told about the [assassin] character, he had a clear view of how it should be. It was very well-researched and somewhat inspired from real life events. It became easier to bring the character to life.”

Releasing on Eidul Azha, Waar will pair Shaan and Abbasi against each other for the first time. However, the two will also be seen in similar roles in the upcoming Zeba Bakhtiar project Operation 021. “Shaan is already popular and has done a lot of films over the last decade. I don’t know how the combination will work out but I think my main goal is to be part of something that changes the industry,” says Abbasi.

Pitched as a stylish, visual effects-laden action thriller, Waar has created quite a buzz. Abbasi is quick to highlight its pre-release popularity. “This is the first time I have seen such a wave of patriotism surrounding our film industry — it is filling people with hope,” he says.

He appreciates the out-of-the-box approach of talented young director Lashari, who is making his debut in feature films with Waar. He claims to have turned down Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj’s offer to act alongside Priyanka Chopra, to stick to Lashari’s vision.

“This is now on the record. He [Vishal Bhardwaj] got a little upset [by my decision] but I explained that it was important for my country. This is the first time a project of this scale is being done and I can’t just ignore it,” says Abbasi.

Directing Dad

Lashari has said that Waar is a movie made for the audience. He says the biggest challenge was to maintain continuity over a period of three years and ensure the film eventually comes together. “We made this for the public. It’s an exciting time for us now and I am glad that it’s finally coming to theatre,” says Lashari.

Apart from Shaan and Abbasi, the film also features budding star Hamza Ali Abbasi and singer, Ali Azmat. Famed bureaucrat Kamran Lashari, who is also the father of the director, will also be playing a role in the film. “My father has been directing me my whole life. I finally got a chance to direct him and I think he was impressive,” adds Lashari.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • ras
    Oct 6, 2013 - 10:49PM

    Its great that most of overseas Paksitanis love Pakistan. Come back to Pakistan and do small or big things to make Pakistan somewhat better. Either its Shamoon, Musharraf, Imran Khan. Its the people of Pakistan who do not deserve them.

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  • LaLakiMKaa
    Oct 6, 2013 - 11:15PM

    U turn down a offer from vishal bhardwaj and to act alongside priyanka chopra…….although am listening ur name for the first time…but this news was never in any press in Indian media…u people conspire to such an extent…i read here in ET how one actress bag a bigger role in BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG……after watching this movie when i asked my friend yaar….where was the pakistani actress in the movie…….he told me the girl in the swin suit in swimming pool for 2 minutes was pakistani…i came out with such a big laugh after watching a serious movie…

    ET..Get it through ..nothing offensive…

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  • optimist
    Oct 7, 2013 - 3:09AM

    We are waiting for this film… best thing to happen to us after a long time.
    .

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  • Oct 7, 2013 - 11:25AM

    I have read somewhere that Waar movie is 80% in English..this movie has a budget of rupees 20 crore and will be released on 50 screens..Movie does not has any songs and dances..
    This information only shows that it will be a big big flop on box office…

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  • Shah (Berlin)
    Oct 7, 2013 - 11:34AM

    @LaLakiMKaa:

    yeah ..he offered and he rejected..doesnt matter 2 mins or the whole film….simple

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  • Vishnu Dutta
    Oct 7, 2013 - 12:28PM

    I doubt this actor ever got a lead role alongside with Priyanka in a Vishal Bharadwaj movie.

    He may have got some role though, he is just exaggerating, He may have got a 2 min role of Prinka’s brother who dies in the first act.

    While he is free since over a year now and the said movie of Priyanka is not yet out then why doesnt he get his role back.

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  • Bilal
    Oct 7, 2013 - 3:39PM

    I have seen Shamoon’s work and he is simply awesome.His acting will help Indians shut their mouth.I am waiting anxiously for WAAR.I bet no Indian movie can ever match that. Cinematography is simply awesome.Indians have got only one topic in their movies “Boy-Girl-love” and yeah obscenity is also their trademark
    ET let this one through also

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  • choclet
    Oct 7, 2013 - 3:56PM

    out of the cupboard and dusted and cleaned who do we have in every 2nd film? shaan! fed up with him and themes about terrorism!

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  • optimist
    Oct 7, 2013 - 4:43PM

    Why everyone is making a fuss about offer from Bollywood and rejection??
    .
    We have history of such things (Shan rejecting offer of Amir Khan as a lead villain with the same pay in Gajini; Marina Khan refusing Raj Kapoor for lead role in Hina etc). It is not the 80s, get Vishal’s mobile number and confirm if this happened or not.
    .
    Focus should be on Waar which is probably the best thing that has happened to Pakistan for a long time.

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  • Ian
    Oct 7, 2013 - 7:31PM

    @LaLakiMKaa
    A bit like Amithab Bachchan, a great legendry actor gets 2 mins in The Great Gatsby.

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  • optimist
    Oct 7, 2013 - 8:01PM

    @ choclet
    How many terrorism related films shan has done? So far, only Khuda Ke Liye (2007), even then he was only a brother of a singer who becomes radical. There is probably one more film (operation 021) other than Waar where Shan is playing role as ‘anti-terrorist’.
    .
    We did NOT have just one suicide bombing or one terrorist attack that you don’t want this role to repeated in any film. This is probably the biggest theme we should be working on!
    .
    What was Van Dame and Selvester Stallon doing in Hollywood in almost all of their movies? Arnold Schwarnezeger also played similar roles all his life and so did Jackie Chan.
    .
    Why people like you are happy watching Shah Rukh Khan singing and dancing for 20 years but unnecessarily criticise Pakistani actors?

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Oct 7, 2013 - 8:03PM

    @ras
    “..Its great that most of overseas Paksitanis love Pakistan. Come back to Pakistan and do small or big things to make Pakistan somewhat better. Either its Shamoon, Musharraf, Imran Khan. Its the people of Pakistan who do not deserve them..”

    Since, you have included shamoon with illustrious company of the fake commando and a clean-shaven taliban. You are right we do not deserve them better the italian Shamoon (born and raised in italy) stays back in the land of pizza.
    It is amazing how we are ready to jump up and down and claim an italian born and raised person as true pakistani. At the same time, when london tube bombing carried out by british-pakistanis, the same people were shouting their lungs out, “they are british not pakistani”!!!

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  • Oct 7, 2013 - 10:12PM

    @Bilal:
    perhaps, you have not seen Indian blockbuster “Madras Cafe”…

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  • Bilal
    Oct 8, 2013 - 7:39AM

    @Din:
    Haha I am listening this name for the very first time and you are calling it a blockbuster.Indian movies are like fantasies for Indians.Only one movie tried to show some reality of India and that was Slum dog millionaire,showing Indian slums.It might seem offensive to you but it is quite right.Tell me how many movies have highlighted the social problems of India?How many movies have discussed gang rapes,poverty,absence of toilets etc?

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  • Maaz
    Oct 8, 2013 - 10:42AM

    @Din seems like you guys just buy a ticket to watch an item dance or such a kind of songs which doesnt make any sence related movie topic , and talking about flop movies then here i am to tell you that in top ten imdb list dont have any songs + item number, but still in top amazing naa. think before speak,

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  • Krash
    Oct 8, 2013 - 11:59AM

    @Din:
    I’m guessing you’re an Indian……

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  • Oct 8, 2013 - 3:57PM

    @Bilal:
    You people just have one topic for movies and that is “Terrorism and Islam”. While India has endless topics…
    Secondly, i am amused that “Madras Cafe” has been shown by pakistani cinemas itself and you have not heard about it…

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  • mafesto
    Oct 8, 2013 - 6:02PM

    at least 3 weeks old news and you are posting now.. he talked about it in his radio show..Recommend

  • Bilal
    Oct 8, 2013 - 10:34PM

    @Din:
    Correction: It should be like endless fantasies!Topics of Indian movies are meaningless and what will you say about the action shown in your movies?It seems ridiculous when one punch of some Indian Khan kills 3 or 4 persons.If you really want to see an action movie than take some time out and watch WAAR.

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  • Oct 9, 2013 - 10:46AM

    @Bilal:
    Dude, in India, fantasy means entertainment and reality means news channels..so Indian box office has experience of 100 years that movies based on reality get awards only but not money..So, in India entertainment means Money, not just empty appreciation..Indian news channels are doing well to show the reality…

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  • Zara
    Oct 9, 2013 - 1:22PM

    @LaLakiMKaa
    Does it matter you have heard his name or not? Why you got offended he didn’t say anything bad about indian cinema. He just mentioned it to highlight how much importance this movie has for him.

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  • Khuram
    Oct 14, 2013 - 2:09AM

    hahaha can’t stop laughing while reading some of indian fella’s comments….. I recently watched D-Day an anti-pakistani movie and can’t stop laughing….. they show how much they hate their most wanted person, pakistan general and even cricketers like of afridi and miandad…. they look to me complete losers…. they believe making anti-pakistan movie is the only way to win their audiences…. they still make movies like grand masti which even do a business of 100 crores and then protest on roads on rapes of their women….. as far as shamoon claims are concerned we all know that take atif aslam and rahat fateh ali out of your music there will be big hole which can not be fulfilled by any of your singers…hahahaha

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