Sajal Ali looks forward to working with Ranbir Kapoor, Imtiaz Ali one day

The Express Tribune spoke exclusively to the star and Hamza Sohail

Sajeer Shaikh June 06, 2024

The sky-high hall welcomes media personalities with a grand poster of Sajal Ali and Hamza Sohail. Entering the area where the event commemorating the launch of Zard Patton Ka Bunn is being held, one is taken aback by opulent chandeliers that welcome one and all. If that isn't dizzying enough as it is, the press wall holds an unlikely sight: Sajal, speaking to reporters, an hour before the beginning of the event.

The stunning superstar is a sight to behold. Clad in a shocking pink sari, with simple makeup and hair cascading down her shoulders, Sajal is ethereal. There is something about the restrained manner in which she answers queries that one can't quite put their finger on - but that's not solely why many have gathered at the venue in the first place.

The leisurely pace at which journalists wait for Sajal to wrap up her interviews swiftly hastens as the time for the event to begin draws close. Between the numerous video interviews and a flurry of people asking her to put on mics, look in certain cameras, and answer a bevvy of questions, Sajal remains exceedingly patient. Eventually, Hamza walks in, dressed in a dapper suit that does little to mask his youthful exuberance.

Talent tango

One cannot help but think about the two stars and their personal experiences working together. "It was amazing," says Sajal exclusively to The Express Tribune with a dazzling smile. "Hamza is very professional. He really helped me as well." Amidst the pressure of working outdoors in the heat and memorising a script's worth of lines, Sajal joyously remarks that Hamza has "always been very supportive." She furthers, "I'm very happy, he's a great addition to our industry."

Hamza, too, is all praises for the actor of whom he is a fan. to begin with. He says: "It was a great experience - one of the best experiences so far In my career and I've said this earlier, I'm a huge, huge fan of hers. I was and still am. It was incredible and very overwhelming. I got to learn a lot."

It is not lost on anyone that the narrative for which all are gathered to celebrate is hard-hitting, touching upon vital and sensitive societal issues. Discussing the same, Sajal remarks, "I think we have to talk about women's education especially. If we want to empower them, then there is education. I think whoever is working on education in our country, there could be no better issue to work on. I'm delighted that I did this project and I feel like I am doing my part in my contribution to society."

Hamza, addressing his previous "green-flag" characters like Fairy Tale's Farjaad and the importance of depicting positive masculinity, adds, "We're promoting a healthy form of masculinity and the need for the same is great too. I think through that, eventually, we can promote healthier relationships as well amongst households." Even so, he does not shy away from pointing out, "However, if we're telling stories, I won't agree with just green-flag characters being shown - they should be there, definitely. But if we're portraying a grey character, that is also essential."

Looking ahead

The conversation shifts to Sajal and Hamza potentially eyeing work in the neighbouring country amidst semblances of a thaw in Bollywood's cold shoulder to Pakistani stars. Sajal, when queried about a dream director she'd like to work with, does not hesitate to single out Imtiaz Ali. In terms of actors, the one name that came to her mind is that of Ranbir Kapoor. Hamza, on the other hand, has a rather suave response. "We have so many great actresses here, the target is to work with them, God-willing," he says with an infectious laugh.  

The duo proceeds to divulge into goals that they hope to achieve one day. "I'm very happy with my career, I think I've achieved what I want to and I'm grateful to God," states Sajal. "I feel now I want to work towards women's empowerment and their education. I'd want to make as many schools as possible with great teachers."

Hamza's list differs, albeit only slightly. "I hope to contribute to society in a way where I do some sort of social work," he replies, continuing to share, "I would like to make my family proud, whatever accolades come with that, I don't mind. Finally, I would want to retire with a very great portfolio. I would like to be listed as one of those actors who brought about a change in the industry."

Armed with similar goals and the opportunity to be a part of narratives that push comfortable boundaries of societal norms and aim to break glass ceilings, Hamza and Sajal may well be on their way to achieving their noble milestones.

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