It Was My Dream To Work With M. Ehteshamuddin: Imran Ashraf Speaks About Dum Mastam
He is bold, honest and refreshingly real. And that’s what makes Imran Ashraf such a delight to talk to. HNH Style in an exclusive conversation with the man of the moment…
Imran Ashraf is the best actor of Pakistan. We are well aware of his brilliance; I don’t need to introduce him by writing hundreds of more words and keep you waiting. I want to take you right away to the main discussion. After conquering hearts on TV, Ashraf is all set to make his cinematic debut with Mohammad Ehteshamuddin’s ‘Dum Mastam’. The film is ready for release,once the pandemic gets over.In an interesting candid session,Ashraf spoke about the film and his interesting role. Read on…
HNH: You once said in an interview that you are offered many films, but you couldn't find a script that requires Imran Ashraf. What was special about ‘Dum Mastam’ that made you yes to it?
Imran Ashraf (IA): ‘Dum Mastam’ is a mazedar (delicious) movie that has all the ingredients to fulfill the cinematic cravings of the audience. We are coming to narrate a beautiful intense love story with a top-notch script and brilliant directions. As far as my performance is concerned; I leave it up to the audience to decide. In a nutshell, ‘Dum Mastam’ will be a fun watch.
HNH: The first look of the ‘Dum Mastam’ looks intriguing. Do you feel any kind of pressure in making a highly anticipated debut?
(IA): For me, the pressure is always there; be it a film, drama, or telefilm. I have never differentiated between the mediums. It’s a good feeling that viewers expect me to deliver. With passing time, the pressure is increasing; in a way, it helps and motivates me to discover good content.
HNH: How would you describe your character in the film? How did you prepare for it?
(IA): The name of my character is ‘Bao'; a guy from the Walled City of Lahore. It’s an interesting role that has amazing sides and various dimensions to it. The character itself is challenging; there are many surprises worth discussing which I really can’t talk about. As far as the preparation is concerned, I inhabit my characterseither it’s ‘Bhola’ from (Ranjha Ranjha Kardi) or ‘Shammo’ from (Alif Allah or Insaan) to ‘Bao’ from (Dum Mastam). I convince myself that I was born that way and belong to that world.
HNH: M. Ehteshamuddin comes straight out of a super hit 'Superstar'. How would you describe his craft?
(IA): His prowess can’t be described in words; he’s a big and brilliant director. He has a great eye for details with sharp instincts of which thing will work and which won’t. Our sensibilities matched quite a bit; so, it was a pleasure working with him. I would like to share an interesting aspect i.e., ‘Dum Mastam’ was initially planned with another cast; but due to some overlapping dates, it didn’t work out. When I signed ‘Dum Mastam’, Ehteshamuudin was dancing with happiness. (Smiles)
HNH: How is Amar Khan as a co-star?
(IA): Oh, fantastic. She is vibrant, full of life, and a hardworking actress. Once you see the film you will realize how much dedication she has put into her character. Amar is a filmmaker herself, she has written the film, and therefore she is well aware of all the minute details. She’s a very generous and giving actor; a wonderful co-star to work with.
HNH: Tell us about the experience of shooting at the Walled City of Lahore.
(IA): Lahore is well known for its fit for a grand feast; we enjoyed every bit of the lassis’ and rich food. The hospitality by the Lahori’s was spot on. It was fun; it was more like a holiday. I am an old soul; so, I get attracted to vintage stuff. It was great discovering and shooting in the Walled City of Lahore.
HNH: One of your Insta videos features you matching steps with choreographer Nigah Hussain. How was the experience of putting your dancing shoes on?
(IA): I am a TV actor, this is my debut film, so I wasn’t familiar with dancing. Having said that, I have given my best and my choreographer, Nigah ji has worked hard on me. I hope the results would suffice. I would also like to mention that the songs are very well picturized. It was a delight to work with Salman Razzaq the D.O.P. of the film who treated the film like his child.
HNH: How do you strike a balance between the dynamics of TV and film?
(IA): I don’t understand, why do we pull our TV down? Our drama is the best and is watched all across the globe. I don’t feel any difference between the dynamics. It’s about the feel, you express it on TV or film, it’s the same.
HNH: Does box office prospect matter to you? Or do you root for critical acclaim?
(IA): A film is made for the box office and I work for critical acclaim. The film industry of Pakistan is going through a revival phase, so our films must make money. The film has a big budget; Adnan Siddique has stepped forward for the first time as a producer; he has done a great job behind the camera. Nothing beats the theatrical experience; we’ve made a good film and hope that people will throng theatres to watch ‘Dum Mastam’.
HNH: Tell us about your future endeavors?
(IA): I have a couple of offers for writing a film and drama. Let’s see what I choose.