Ali Zafar: Mumbai calling

Published: October 3, 2010
Ali Zafar says he’s having a ‘great experience’ in Mumbai but misses home. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Ali Zafar says he’s having a ‘great experience’ in Mumbai but misses home. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

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. 

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Reader Comments (30)

  • RWS
    Oct 4, 2010 - 12:09AM

    So happy for you, Ali. Best of luck. People like you give me hope about pakistan, all the way here in US. My sincere thank you on carrying on and not losing hope :)Recommend

  • R. Khan
    Oct 4, 2010 - 1:22AM

    Wishing you all the luck. Yash Jee have made immortal movies like Veer Zeera, my favorite movie It songs I Love them. You are very fortunate to work in his movie which will be a sure success. Spread message of love & peace between two countries. RiazRecommend

  • Nasreen Ghori
    Oct 4, 2010 - 2:15AM

    From Preeto (Abrarul Haq) it was clear that Ali is suitable for a little funny or light comedy characters. and this proved in Tere Bin Laden. It was his natural acting and spontaneous dialog delivery that made TBL a super hit.

    As an actor he should avoid stereotype roles in future. if he wants to prove his mettles he must try something totally different, may be romantic, action or negative but strong roles.

    GooD Luck Ali, you made us proud on Pakistan :D Recommend

  • zeeshan
    Oct 4, 2010 - 5:46AM

    Looking forward to watch the movie on big screen … best of luck ALIRecommend

  • Cronous
    Oct 4, 2010 - 6:58AM

    “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.”

    Yes all two percent of them are liberal.Recommend

  • Dr. Ali Ahmed
    Oct 4, 2010 - 7:14AM

    4.5 million a big success <—- kiddin meRecommend

  • umar
    Oct 4, 2010 - 8:48AM

    best of luck ali bhai 4 ur new movie we all pakistanis pray 4 u…….:=)Recommend

  • Shariqa Zia
    Oct 4, 2010 - 10:08AM

    Wishing you best of luck Ali. You are a wonderful actor and a singer and an awesome painter. Hope you achieve the success you deserve. Very excited about you new movie. Hope its gonna be awesome. You are a true superstar. Keep spreading the message of peace and love all over the world. And hope the rivalry between two countries will soon come to an end. All the best. :)
    Your fan,

  • mohit
    Oct 4, 2010 - 10:28AM

    *you rock ali * yoyare real heroRecommend

  • Oct 4, 2010 - 2:05PM

    I think it was 45 million rs. Recommend

  • Oct 4, 2010 - 4:51PM

    i guess Rs. 4.5 million were his pocket money :P
    so yea its a big success !Recommend

  • R. Khan
    Oct 4, 2010 - 7:24PM

    Why are we jealeous if he made Rs. 45 million? I wish he makes Rs.450 million. We surely are a jealous lot! RiazRecommend

  • indian
    Oct 4, 2010 - 9:00PM

    bollywood’s priority should be to give jobs to india’s citizens first.

    there are many singers, reality show stars in india who are really talented (hassan raja, ishmeet singh etc), and have been done wrong in the name of political correctness and mending relationship with pakistan.

    bollywood produced great music and movies without any help from pakistani artists for decades.

    we dont want another ali azmat who milks money and praises india and then 10 years later appears on talk shows bashing indians.

    we dont have any obligation towards pakistan and nor do they have obligation towards us.

    Honest pakistanis would actually stop watching bollywood trash and promote their own stars. Recommend

  • whocare's
    Oct 4, 2010 - 11:02PM

    just wait till the next paki adventure..these so called actor’s will be running back with their tales between legs.Recommend

  • indian
    Oct 5, 2010 - 1:07AM

    its our government and film industry’s fault that they have no shame and continue inviting artists form pakistan.

    i just wish both countries stop this aman asha crap and get real.

    there is nothing in common between our peoples. its not just a difference of religion but we are also racially, culturally, linguistically different. i hate liberals who repeat this crap over and over again. Recommend

  • jai
    Oct 5, 2010 - 1:12AM

    Bollywood or private channels in India don’t care for Indo-pak relationship. All they care about is more money by increasing their viewership. Having pakistanis on shows brings them viewers from Pakistan aswell. Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 5, 2010 - 1:28AM

    Ms India -The real deal
    oh shut up Mr Indian…if America had the same attitude then all our best would be back home and you seem to forget Ms Kaif is not Indian either get with the programme our problem is not with Pakistanis its with Governance..keep your marathi manoos BS to your self we Indians what the best in the world at our disposal and that includes Ali ZafarRecommend

  • d c bhardwaj
    Oct 5, 2010 - 12:28PM

    @Anonymous.Bro totally agree with you and the same was willing to reply this Mr. Indian, it seems he is a Shiv Sena or MNS activist. Some time pakistanies otherwise North/East Indian.
    Recently when Obama said the same to protect their country’s intrest how we wrer crying.Recommend

  • sumbal
    Oct 5, 2010 - 3:02PM

    i really dont understand what he meant by progressive and liberal…..does he keep showcards with him for the world to see taht hey we are hip too??Recommend

  • Indian
    Oct 5, 2010 - 4:33PM

    See this is what I mean..Indians are attacking other Indians for different opinions.

    I’m not a Marathi nor a Shiv Sena. FYI, I’m originally from meerut, uttar pradesh. So before you make judgement about anyone please think twice.

    How many Indian artists are allowed to perform in Pakistan ? ??? none!

    What happens when we don’t let Pakistanis in IPL ?? Sohail Tanvir goes on television and says “this is hindu baniya mentality what can we expect form them”….i dont think you have seen that video have you ? if you have not then please do so.

    And please don’t you DARE compare USA with India.

    USA does not have 500 million people living on dollar a day, rampant AIDS, social, political problems on the level India does.

    India needs to clean a HUGE mess before we can start letting people from other countries coming in. We already have a huge influx of bengladeshis who are changing demographics and contribute nothing.

    And even then America makes it ridiculously difficult for people from hostile states like IRAN to come in.Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Oct 5, 2010 - 7:27PM

    Welcome to India.
    India should attract the best talent, no matter where it comes from. It will enrich even more our already diverse and enriched culture. Recommend

  • m khyal
    Oct 5, 2010 - 10:53PM

    ilike ali zafar very much .Recommend

  • Shani Syed
    Oct 6, 2010 - 6:08AM

    Ali is an absolute sweet heart , best of luck in what ever you do, hope to see you seen on hollywood too

    @inidian are you one of those guys who tried trashing Shoaib and Sania’s wedding party nahhiiii ye shaadi nahi hosaktiii :) lol chill dude its just a joke Recommend

  • R. Querieshi
    Oct 6, 2010 - 3:05PM

    @ Indian

    I appreciate your patriotism. I hope Pakistanis follow your advice and you are right that we don’t have any obligation to each other. The last time I watched any Indian film was in 1992!!! I just wish that we promote our own stars and good luck to Indians with their film industry!! Anyone who made something in India (ali azmat, Nusrat Fateh, Ali Zafar) were already big stars in Pakistan and had a lot of money (comparatively). Recommend

  • Indian
    Oct 7, 2010 - 5:10AM

    @Shani Syed

    I didn’t care about Shoaib and Sania’s wedding.

    What I did find extremely annoying was that media in both countries was showing that love crap while both countries were having far more serious problems.


    Thanks, for your post. I really do hope that all the Pakistani stars contribute and build up their own film industry because right now it just seems like they are churning out new stars for Bollywood. If they stayed back and built Lollywood, just imagine how many people would get employment. What these stars are doing is nothing but an act of treachery and selfishness. Same thing with Bollywood stars who go Hollywood or elsewhere. This entertainment crap is not the priority, what we need is debate on other serious issues (water, kashmir) which I know liberals hate to even talk about.

    I’ve a lot of respect for Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan btw because he was rather different from these neo-bollywood type singers.Recommend

  • Adnan Ali
    Oct 7, 2010 - 4:09PM

    Ali Zafar is great boy. He is leading star of PakistanRecommend

  • Shariqa Zia
    Oct 7, 2010 - 4:21PM


    We know there’s a plenty of good talent in our country. But won’t it get better if we get some talent from other parts of world too?? And i agree with mr anonymous her.. if America had the same attitude then all our best would be back home and are we forgetting Katrina, Barbara Moori and Jaqueline, they too are not indians, but none of us have ever had any objections on them either they are much appreciated here. Everyone should given equel opportunities. Every talent needs a platform. And the pakistani stars who are trying to be achieve something in India are already very successful in Pakistan but they are still coming to our country not because they need it but because they like India. Ali Zafar is an awesome actor and a great singer. Bollywood needs hardworking actors like him. I really appreciate him. And its the people like you who creates differences not the language, culture, literature, tradition or anything else.

    Talented people will always remain in India’s heart. We love you Ali Zafar. Best of luck.Recommend

  • Another Indian
    Oct 7, 2010 - 8:00PM

    I agree with Shariqa…
    I am a patriotic Indian and I am proud that India attracts talent from around the world.
    since the economic boom, there are 20 million foreigners living and working in India..

    @indian… don;t compare illegal bangladeshis with Ali Zafar … He has come to india legally (on a visa) and there is nothing wrong with that.. Btw, I am in the US and there are problems like drugs, HIV (more % of americans are infected than indians), poverty (1/8th of americans go hungry every day). But America is powerful because it’s built on the strength of talented immigrants… if we want to see India as a superpower, we need to attract legal talent like zafar while at the same time kicking out illegal bangladeshis.. think about it.

    Jai Hind !Recommend

  • ali
    Oct 22, 2010 - 2:21PM

    i think its enough of fighting between our two countriess,n things like sports n entertanment can bring us together again,v nid 2 rely on eachother,for the betterment of region n our peopl,INDIAN,cummn boy v ol r just common peopl,v should not care bout bout tht crab politcz,i hte it,our politicianz alwayz used us 4 there policiticl motivz,v want peace n good relatnz wd india n evry othr country,…i love ali zafar…u rock ali… Recommend

  • Shariqa
    Oct 24, 2010 - 1:05PM

    i agree wid u ali…Recommend

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