Imran thinks Pakistani filmmakers don’t think he’s capable enough | The Express Tribune


Imran Abbas has become extremely particular about his Punjabi pronunciation. Sitting across from host Adnan Faisal, the famed actor spoke about his upcoming Punjabi film, Jee Ve Sohneya Jee, in which he essays the lead role, alongside Indian actor Simi Chahal.

“I had to take so many classes [where I was taught] that you say it like this, not that,” recalled Imran with a slight smile. “If you slip up even a bit, it’s a problem,” he added. The star furthered, “When this film was offered, I took classes for about a month-and-a-half – every day, without fail.” He also revealed that his teacher was from Chandigarh. 

When the host asked him about where this “Bollywood film” was shot, the actor was quick to provide a correction. “You can’t call it a Bollywood film. I’ve already done three Bollywood films.” However, he struggled to provide the exact label for the industry, suggesting “Pollywood.”

“It is true that Punjabi films release in Pakistan and are doing great business,” Imran shared. “And this film is such that two Punjabs – India’s Punjab and Pakistan’s Punjab – that were once united, after its division, the people who were displaced but their hearts beat in unison, it’s about that. It’s a very beautiful subject, packed in a very beautiful shell of music, a love story, a beautiful canvas, the background, the landscape, and the whole execution of the film. The storyline is wonderful. It’s entirely paisa vasool.” The actor made sure to reveal that the film will be released globally – including in Pakistan – on February 16.

“A film like this should have been made,” asserted Imran. “Why should we talk about hatred?” he questioned. He humbly admitted that this was his contribution to “bringing the two Punjabs together.” Shedding light on the immense love shared between the Punjabi communities, despite a border separating the two, Imran talked about how many of their holy sites are in Pakistan, with Lahore being of great significance as well. He also appreciated the message being sent out by Pakistan by opening borders for those looking to pay homage to their holy sites. 

When queried about elements of the film, Imran described it as a “love story between the two nations,” where the lead couple has to lie, or hide their identities, all based on the assumption that the other side will not be as accepting as the couple had hoped. Imran reiterated how these things become secondary when love resides deep within one’s heart, driving home his earlier point regarding communal harmony. 

“Atif Aslam has sung in the film,” Imran said, with the host highlighting that the singer would be lending his vocals to India after a period of seven years. “Yes,” Imran confirmed. “After a long time, Atif has sung for the Indian industry, and he has sung beautifully.” Imran also revealed that many stars from Pakistan would be making guest appearances, such as Anam Tanveer and Sajid Hasan, among others. However, he stated that these stars have small appearances, given that the introductions in the narrative take place in Pakistan for a small amount of screen time. 

The host questioned Imran as to why he doesn’t venture into local films. Shrugging his shoulders and laughing alongside, Imran responded bluntly, saying, “Ask Pakistani film producers and directors. Maybe they don’t think I’m capable enough.” Adnan doubled down, saying that the star does not want to do local films. “It’s not a matter of what I do or don’t want to do,” Imran clarified. “I want to do a good film, wherever it may be from.” 

Opening up about how certain decisions were time-sensitive, Imran provided further clarity. “We make good films here and will continue to do so. But at that time, [the films I chose] had good subjects according to me. You learn from your experiences. Now, if I get a good film, I’ll do it if it excites me, regardless of where it is made.” The actor circled back to praising the subject matter of Jee Ve Sohneya Jee. The host asked the star again if he would do a film in Pakistan, should the subject matter be worth pursuing. “Absolutely, why not? It’s my country. I prefer Pakistan’s films over all else,” replied Imran. 

Moving on to dramas, the star differentiated between those and films, stating that films are a massive responsibility compared to local television shows. “Delivering a super-hit drama is not a big deal,” said Imran. “I’ve already done many myself. I know they fade out of people’s eyes after a while. A film is that one thing that stays in your mind…they engrave their own stamp. So it’s very important to do films intelligently. It’s a huge responsibility.”

Aside from his interview, Imran recently took to Instagram to urge his viewers to show support for his upcoming film which he believed was advocating for a “beautiful cause.” Aside from Imran and Simi, the film boasts an ensemble cast, including Mintu Kapa, Udaya Vakati, Brian Shaw, Aman Bal and Swaraj Sandhu. 

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