‘Peo­ple go to the cin­ema to es­cape’

Pak­istani ac­tor Ali Rehman Khan on why his new film Parchi - ‘a com­edy of er­rors’ - will ap­peal to a wide fan­base

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE - ENID PARKER enid@khalee­j­times.com

“YOUNG PEO­PLE IN Pak­istan are in­creas­ingly dream­ing of star­dom,” the charm­ing Rish­tay Kuch Ad­hooray Se ac­tor Ali Rehman Khan told us while on a re­cent visit to Khaleej Times to pro­mote his new film Parchi, an ac­tion-com­edy to be re­leased on Jan­uary 5, 2018. There’s a shift in mind­sets in the coun­try as far as ca­reers are con­cerned, he ad­mit­ted to City Times. “One thing I’ve no­ticed about Pak­istan re­cently is that the youth re­ally want to be some­thing, and that some­thing is en­ter­tain­ers! Not doc­tors or en­gi­neers or any­thing con­ven­tional! They don’t want to go abroad and find a job – they want to come into the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try be­cause ev­ery­one has some tal­ent, be it singing, act­ing, or com­edy. The field has got­ten pop­u­lar not just with chil­dren, but also with par­ents – at first they were wary of their kids en­ter­ing the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try – they were like, you shouldn’t get in there, it’s not a good in­dus­try, but now there is a cer­tain pride about be­ing in the in­dus­try.”

Parchi is like Delhi Belly

The elo­quent Khan, who ex­pressed soft-spo­ken yet in­sight­ful views on the Pak­istani en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, re­vealed that Parchi is “a sit­u­a­tional com­edy” some­what along the lines of Bol­ly­wood come­dies Delhi Belly, Hera

Pheri and An­daz Apna Apna, which Khan de­scribed as “a cult clas­sic, and one of my favourite films of all time”.

“Parchi is ba­si­cally a com­edy of er­rors. Its su­per­funny script was writ­ten by the very tal­ented Shafqat Khan,” he said, ad­ding, “I’m not at lib­erty to say too much about the film but what I can tell you is that it’s about this con­man who some­how cons the mob and goes on the run; he gets his friends in­volved, and to­gether they en­counter some very in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters. I guess it’s not so much the script as the sit­u­a­tions he lands him­self and his friends in – that’s where the com­edy is.”

Khan, who plays ‘Bash’ in Parchi, was all praise for the rest of the cast, which in­cludes Ha­reem Fa­rooq, Us­man Mukhtar and Ah­mad Ali. “One of the great and unique things about Parchi is that there are so many tal­ented ac­tors in the film. Some are ac­tors that haven’t been dis­cov­ered yet. They’re all from the­atre back­grounds. Ev­ery­one brings their own flavour to the film. When you watch it you’re def­i­nitely go­ing to have a favourite!

“Con­sid­er­ing how Pak­istani cin­ema is still in its in­fancy and grow­ing, we need the huge amount of tal­ent that we have (in other fields of en­ter­tain­ment) to come into fims. What I love about

Parchi is that there’s all these dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent tal­ent – there will be a char­ac­ter that’s just silent through­out the film, but you won’t stop look­ing at him!”

Not your typ­i­cal rom­com

While Parchi is not a rom­com like Khan’s last film, Janaan,

Our film in­dus­try is now in its re­vival stage, it’s com­ing back up.” Ali Rehman Khan

he said there will be an el­e­ment of ro­mance in it, though not per­haps what you might be ex­pect­ing.

“I don’t think a film like this has been done yet. I’m not say­ing it’s the first of its kind, but it’s a very dif­fer­ent film. It’s a com­mer­cial film but it doesn’t come un­der the tra­di­tional wed­ding/ ro­mance/rom­com cat­e­gory. There is some ro­mance in this com­edy but it’s not your typ­i­cal story. It’s a very… (laughs) I feel like if I keep on talk­ing about it, I’ll re­veal too much and the pro­duc­ers will kill me!”

Con­sid­er­ing the film comes across as a bit off­beat, is he wor­ried about au­di­ence re­sponse?

“No, I’m not wor­ried, I think com­edy has a huge place in the hearts of au­di­ences in Pak­istan. Peo­ple go to the cin­ema to es­cape. We’ve had nu­mer­ous come­dies come out be­fore that have done su­per well, like Na Maloom Afrad 1 & 2, Ac­tor in Law, etc. Any­where in the world, I be­lieve, peo­ple just en­joy hav­ing a laugh and when you can spend two hours in a cin­ema and come out with a smile, I think it’s worth the price of your ticket!”

In search of a new au­di­ence

Khan be­lieves Pak­istan needs to show the world that it has good cin­ema.

“The most ex­cit­ing thing about the film scene in Pak­istan is that there is so much yet to do – so many scripts to be writ­ten, and so many movies to be made. It’s an in­dus­try that hasn’t done a lot yet so there’s room for so much more. In Pak­istan we have a huge tele­vi­sion drama in­dus­try – it’s phe­nom­e­nal, we even have big stars from across the bor­der in Bol­ly­wood, who love watch­ing our dra­mas.

“But un­for­tu­nately our film in­dus­try is now in its re­vival stage, it’s com­ing back up. There’s not much go­ing on be­cause we lack the fa­cil­i­ties, the tech­ni­cal know how, and I think those will come with time. Also there’s not so much money that goes into the in­dus­try right now, we don’t have enough mul­ti­plexes, and we have to build an au­di­ence.”

He feels Pak­istani cin­ema should tar­get a grow­ing au­di­ence. “We need to have an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence, just like Bol­ly­wood does. An­other thing is that we still don’t have our own iden­tity, be­cause we have been fol­low­ing Bol­ly­wood for so long, that it some­times tends to over­shadow some of the work we do. So some of our com­mer­cial cin­ema tends to go that way. But the ex­cit­ing part is that in the process, we’re also find­ing our­selves. Just like Ira­nian cin­ema has found it­self – it’s one of the best cin­e­mas in the world, it has such an amaz­ing plethora of con­tent.

“Four years ago, you could lit­er­ally count the num­ber of films that were be­ing made in Pak­istan. And now, you are con­stantly sur­prised by the films that you haven’t heard about. Yes­ter­day I was told that there is a Pak­istani film be­ing shot in Dubai. And I’m like ‘re­ally’? So it’s very en­cour­ag­ing, this trend.”

Com­edy has a huge place in the hearts of au­di­ences in Pak­istan.” Ali Rehman Khan

Ac­tion com­edy Parchi stars Ali Rehman Khan as ‘Bash’, a con­man who goes on the run af­ter cross­ing the mob

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