Actor Adnan Shah Tipu, known for his roles in television series such as Suno Chanda and Dil Na Umeed Tou Nahin, sat down for an interview with a local publication, shedding light on missed opportunities across the border and offering reflections on comparisons between the Indian and Pakistani film industries.
The actor, who made his Bollywood debut with the film Kajraare, has also played roles in critically acclaimed films such as Khamosh Pani and Ramchand Pakistani. Speaking about missing out on working with Madhuri Dixit in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Dedh Ishqiya, Tipu said, “Some things just aren’t meant to be. If something is supposed to happen, paths to it open up on their own, and if not, you can try a million times, but until God does not will it, it does not happen.”
The actor elaborated further, detailing the story of how he was set to star in the film before logistical issues got in the way. He shared, “There was a film called Dedh Ishqiya. I had been in touch with Vishal [Bhardwaj] when we were doing Kajraare. The casting director, who is my friend and was also part of films like Udta Punjab, told me there was a film with the role of a nawab sahab and that he would like me to audition for it. I gave nine auditions for the role.”
On how there’s no use crying over spilt milk, Tipu explained, “At the time, no one could get a visa. Vishal Bhai even went to Delhi in-person to get me a visa, but it didn’t work out and I couldn’t do the film. You have to be patient and move on. Like they say in Punjabi, if you keep turning back to look at the past, you’ll turn to stone. Forget what you don’t get and be thankful for what you do.”
Tipu went on to speak of the stellar cast of Dedh Ishqiya, and how it would have been a great experience for him had it happened. “I always respected Madhuri as an artist because I think she does great work, then there was Arshad Warsi in it, Naseeruddin Shah sahab, Salman Shahid sahab, Vishal Bhardwaj sahab, Gulzar sahab’s poetry. When you are in such company, the experience you get really polishes you as an artist.”
The actor revealed that he was also offered a part in the hit series Sacred Games 2, which stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Saif Ali Khan. However, the actor was unable to sign on. “Sacred Games 2 was offered to me, and it’s not like I didn’t want to do it, but because of the situation in India and Pakistan, it could not materialize. If the situation was better, I would be working on it,” he shared.
When asked whether he felt that he had benefited from working in the Indian industry, the Dukhtar actor asserted, “Definitely. It’s a bigger market. I believe we become a bit arrogant when we compare the Pakistani industry with the Indian industry.”
On the differences between the Indian and Pakistani showbiz industries, the actor shared, “Our language may be the same, the way we live may be similar, but that industry is huge. You can take the example of the film Dangal, which gathered around the same amount of money as all the Pakistani films in the last 10 to 15 years combined. The place we can compete with them and, in fact, do better, is in dramas. Our content is better. When it comes to quality content, there are some films of ours that Indians loved. Khuda Kay Liye, Na-Maloon Afraad, Actor in Law. When it comes to making, Teefa in Trouble isn’t less than any other film.”
The actor asserted that the issue with the Pakistani industry is not a lack of talent, but the mismanagement of it. He went on, “If we can produce artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Firdous Jamal and Talat Hussain sahab, then where are we lacking? We only suffer when it comes to talent management. There is no dearth of talent in Pakistan.”
On the absurdity of trying to separate Indian and Pakistani culture, despite their deep connection, the actor explained, “Is war a solution to anything? Can you keep me from loving Rahul Dravid or loving the music of Kishore Kumar? I may not sing it in front of you but I will carry the music in my heart. Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Bhagat Singh, the artists in India, whether they are Hindu or Muslim, you like them.”
He added further, “Every person loves their country. I love Pakistan. But, can we not live in harmony like civilised people? When a protest is required, we will protest. We will call out the wrong we see, that’s what our religion and humanity teach us.”
Sharing how he doesn’t believe actors from Pakistan going over to India to act is a threat to the local industry, he said, “Tell me this, do we not go abroad to play cricket? Do people from other countries not come to Pakistan to play cricket during PSL? Does that make you insecure about your earnings? Better your skills. The films I did in India, I did them after giving auditions. It wasn’t about nepotism, my work took me there. So when you play in a better league or work with better artists, you will get better at what you do.”
The actor concluded with a message of peace, “You can fight all you want. There were two world wars, with three crore people dead. Then what happened? The UN was formed and they sat at the same table. How many people will you kill? Mothers cry here as well and children become orphaned there as well. Instead of working on ourselves, giving people access to safe drinking water and building hospitals, we are stuck in this back and forth.
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