Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulfikar, who plays the lead in filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra's ready-for-release 'Shoot On Sight', says his colleague Meera has brought disgrace to artistes from the country.
'She isn't someone I'd like my name to be associated with at all. She has no standing back home. All of us Pakistani actors with some sense and sensibility would cringe at the statements she made in India. All of you must've thought all the actors from Pakistan are like Meera. I'd like to correct the image of Pakistani actors in India,' Mikaal told IANS.
The actor has been visiting India regularly since 2001. 'I came then to Delhi for modelling.'
After auditioning over a hundred hopefuls, Mundhra selected Mikaal for the role. The film is about an Asian-Muslim cop (Naseeruddin Shah) in the British police force whose loyalty to his service is questioned after the subway bombings in Britain.
'I consider myself very lucky to have shared so much screen space with an actor of Naseer's calibre so early in my career. I play his nephew, a seemingly innocent boy from Pakistan in Britain in whom we discover a dark side as the film proceeds.
'It was a very challenging role for someone who has only done lots of Pakistani television and one other India-Pakistan feature film 'Godfather' (based on Coppola's film) directed by Hriday ('Pyaar Mein Twist') Shetty. It featured Vinod Khanna in the Brando role. I was paired with Preeti Jhangiani. It was released in Pakistan, but not in India,' says the young Pakistani actor.
'Godfather' also starred the Mahesh Bhatt discovery Meera.
Mikaal is currently in Mumbai shooting a music video directed by Anu Malik's brother Abu, which will promote 'Shoot On Sight'. The singer-actor, who intends to release a music album in Mumbai shortly, wants to cut a niche in the Hindi film industry.
'I want to be a Mumbai-based actor-singer. I'd love to work from Mumbai. I'd like to record it in India. The music companies here are reliable.'
Mikaal has a problem relating with the entertainment industry in Pakistan.
'I had several movie offers there, but I didn't see myself fitting into films back home. 'Shoot On Sight' was a challenge for me because I'm seen in the chocolate-box cute-guy-next-door mould.
'Strange, that I got negative roles in both my films so far. The role came to me because I was recommended by Vinod Khanna and Nafisa Ali to Mundhra. I couldn't have hoped for better.'
He has been approached for more roles in Bollywood.
'I've offers, yes, including one from Mallika Sherawat to be a part of her 'Fauj Mein Mauj',' said the son of a British mother and a Pakistani father.
'I've been brought up in both Pakistan and England. I've experienced both the best and worst of the east and the west. That does give me an edge as an actor. Though I live in Lahore, I'd like to settle down in Mumbai.
Though he enjoyed teaming up with Naseer, his favourite actor is Amitabh Bachchan.
'I love Amitabh Bachchan and Paresh Rawal. And I'm a big fan of Aamir Khan. And when it comes to marketing himself, Shah Rukh Khan tops. Among the ladies, Rani Mukerji and Priyanka Chopra are my favourite. I guess I've a thing for older women.'
He confesses he has a girlfriend in Lahore.
'She's a film actress, but we aren't in a steady relationship. I don't want to tie myself down. At the moment I can't look after anyone else when I've to look after myself. My ultimate dream is to own a home in every major city in the world.'