LAHORE: In an entertainment industry like ours, not every actor can afford to be selective and not go for mediocre projects no matter how lucrative the pay cheque is. Choosing to stay off the radar and resurfacing only when a character really speaks to them is a luxury in itself. Actor-model Iman Ali is one individual who fits this model.
It has been nearly a decade since she made her silver screen debut with Shoaib Mansoor’s game-changing film Khuda Kay Liye and in all these years she has done just three films, her latest being Mah-e-Mir. This appearance of hers too comes nearly five years after Bol was released. Ali refused to call it a comeback. “I don’t consider it my comeback. This was a small role. I may still disappear if I don’t find any good scripts,” she told The Express Tribune.
However, that doesn’t mean she didn’t enjoy the stint. Mah-e-Mir has a dialogue-heavy script that required plenty of rehearsals. “Almost every word of the script needed a dictionary,” she laughed. “We sat with Urdu poetry experts to get a clear interpretation of the language of Mir.” On the flipside, she was quite confident about her character as a courtesan. “The only thing we discussed was that the role has to be done subtly because if we overdo it, it may look vulgar,” Ali added.
In an earlier interview, Mah-e-Mir director Anjum Shahzad had hinted that the film might just be a landmark in Ali’s career. But does she agree? “I don’t think this is one of my most memorable performances. This could be Fahad Mustafa’s memorable performance because it was all about him. He got the meaty role. I will have to be reborn as a man to get a meaty role in a Pakistani film,” remarked Ali. She has no qualms, however, about admitting that she looked flawless in the film. “He [Shahzad] made me look dreamlike and people might remember that for a while.”
The actor has a liking for roles that show women in stronger, independent roles. Things with Pakistani films, on the flipside, are not the most promising. “There are more stories about men because the scripts are mostly written by men for men,” Ali said. When asked if she has considered dabbling in television serials that show women the way she wants, she said, “I’ve never been a television aficionado. I wish people from television would start writing for films.”
Also known to have an affinity for scriptwriting, the actor mused, “I’ve said no to so many films that I feel I should write myself. I have written some stories but it’s just that I can’t go around selling my scripts to people.” The actor also continues to make appearances in commercials, photo shoots and fashion shows.
Many of her contemporaries have worked across the border but Ali has not given it much thought. “I only think about doing good films whether it’s in Pakistan or India. I feel only Fawad Khan has taken working abroad as a responsibility and been a respectable representative of Pakistan. He did a brilliant job but he was also lucky to get good roles. The rest tend to give us a bad name,” she shared.
Ali will next be seen in Mein Punjab Nai Jaon Gi alongside Nadeem Baig and Humayun Saeed, a project that has been penned by Khalilur Rehman Qamar. “Saeed has the comic role right now but I told them I want it too so they are working on that,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2016.