The past few years have seen many Pakistani actors such as Fawad Khan, Ali Zafar and Humaima Mallick jump onto the Bollywood bandwagon and make their feature film debuts in the neighboring country. However, none of these actors hold the distinction of starring in an action film with an ensemble cast like Mikaal Zulfiqar.
These days the actor is gearing up for the release of his upcoming movie Baby. Zulfiqar described his role as being “short and sweet” in the action-thriller directed by Neeraj Pandey and starring renowned actors Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa and Kay Kay Menon.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mikaal Zulfiqar said that he had received the call from an Indian casting director to star in the film and was game for the project as soon as he heard details about it.
“I committed to the film when I was told that I was going to be starring alongside talented actors such as Kher and Kumar,” said Zulfiqar.
The film has been directed by Neeraj Pandey who has previously directed movies like A Wednesday and Special 26.
Known for his work on television and Television Commercials (TVCs), the actor said that making a transition from television to film was not difficult for him. Zulfiqar has previously starred in Bollywood films such as Shoot On Sight (2008) and U R My Jaan (2011), and was accustomed to their style and approach to filmmaking.
Zulfiqar said, “As an actor I had to up my game as I was acting alongside performers such as Kher and Kumar. Plus in film you have to always be at to be at your best as the margin for error is close to negligible.”
Despite having done a handful of Bollywood films, Zulfiqar has no aspirations to establish himself as an actor in India.
“As an artiste or as an actor there is nothing better than doing a film in your own country and I obviously would always give first preference to my local industry,” he said. Zulfiqar mentioned that he was supposed to star in a couple of Pakistani films towards the end of last year but the project didn’t materialise.
Zulfiqar attributed the decision to not pursue a career in Bollywood due the nature of the audience and the constantly changing political climate between the two countries.
“Indian audiences are a little bold, and Pakistani audiences are a little sensitive. So, I would not want to do anything that offends people of my homeland,” exclaimed Zulfiqar.
“In 2008, after my first film in Bollywood I was adamant on pursuing other Bollywood projects and had declined offers from Pakistan, but then the relationship between the two countries took a hit due to the Mumbai attacks and I was left stranded,” he said.
Zulfiqar was hopeful that the controversy surrounding Baby pertaining to its content would “settle down” so that people can enjoy the film on the basis of entertainment.
Regarding his upcoming projects the actor stated that he has always considered himself as an “entertainer” and would love to do a comedy project if he is approached with the right script.
The actor-cum-model who has previously starred in notable comedy projects such as the Telefilm Abhi Tau Main Jawan Hun and the immensely popular Ufone advertisements said “I always enjoy doing comedy and would love to act in a comedy film if I am approached with the right story, but unfortunately there are very few good quality comedies being done in the country at the moment.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2015.
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