not a star's son - neither any of his folks or siblings happens to be a
part of the world so-called showbiz. But still Imran's career from a
super model to an actor of substance continues unabated.
His personal magnetism and alarming allure are two simple reasons to sell the merchandise he models for. And his amazing potential as an actor and his refined dialogue delivery are certainly what's the talk of town these days.
But he's among those few blessed ones whose fortune pave the way of the success right from the class room watching blackboard showing absolutely nothing about what's coming their way shortly after the recess.
So, it would be definitely worth listening as to what actually pulled an NCA student with a sound degree in Architecture on to the glitzy sets.
Lets meet warm, unassuming and simple Imran Abbas through an interview for 'Mag4you', and ask how did this new equation form in his life, and how does he feel to be a part of rat race...?
Successful model doesn't essentially a good actor make. Then why did you make an about turn to the field so called acting?
I didn't have any craving for acting...ever. It was my 'what next' attitude that made me do that. I am very irresolute and restless soul from inside, cant stand at one place. Even when I talk I can't stand still. I know it's very dangerous too!
What really encouraged you to take that decision as many models have miserably failed to register their success as an actor and facing a gravity defying graph?
I always found my Urdu accent and dialect very strong probably because of my family background. My father and sister are real good poets, which made my life easier in acting.
I am very prone to Urdu poetry and literature. I exploited this trait of my personality and got an edge because I can hardly find models speaking in clear and refined accent. My sister taught me the significance of words and the weight they possess. As an actor, I feel that one should be aware of the words and their value.
How do you take acting?
"Acting is a sensitive phenomenon. You act like a mirror to the society, the more luminous and clear you are the more you'll reflect. You show what you see and absorb from your surroundings. I think an actor needs to be very good at infiltrating the characters wander around him everyday. You are supposed to be a perfect observant of what's going on around. Imitating intelligently the day to day characters is what required for a perfect actor.
What are your prerequisites for accepting a role?
Director is the main person who you should always ask first about. A good director always fortifies every type of script and character from his talent. Then obviously your character and script.and yes the money, very important factor. I have turned down numerous of offers in last three months because of the fact that either any of these factors proved to be weak.
Is the swamp of our new talent coping up well with the challenges they confront due to the satellite channels?
Nobody enters our industry as a trained and groomed actor. We don't have institutions or academies. We learn from our mistakes and continuos work. Still, I think that there are many promising newcomers who have got the real talent. We don't have a very big pool to select a right actor from, but I'm sure that the standard of our those few ones is even better than any Indian satellite channel's actors.
How do you find your plays as an actor and then as a viewer?
In such a short period of time, I worked in different types of projects. My first serial by Sultana Siddiqui was for masses, second serial written by Haseena Moin was for an educated intelligentsia, 'Umrao Jaan' is an epic, then my telefilm was for a younger audience and my forthcoming projects are all different and substantial. I think I'm diligently improving my shortcomings and furbishing my acting skills which is even obvious to the viewers too.
How do you conceive a role? Do you study the character from practical life?
Always... and the projects I am doing in future are really more demanding and need to be conceived and worked out even more.
Why were you selected for such a traditional role in 'Umrao Jaan'? Do you really think that it was the right play to start your acting career with?
I didn't start my career from 'Umrao Jaan'. It is my third serial. I think I was selected because of my accent, my knowledge of poetry and music and my looks. It was 100% on merit. I was not interested in the consequences, whether it will be a hit or flop, but definitely it was an honour to be the male lead in the biggest project ever made in the history of Pakistani drama.
Working with such a great team was another motivation behind choosing the role. It was definitely a risky decision for me, because my character has been played by very senior artists of subcontinent who were seasoned and much older than me.
But, let me clarify one thing that Nawab Sultan was a very young fellow, even younger than Umrao in the original novel. I must say that it's high time to take risk with new people by shifting responsibility to their shoulders. People are getting sick watching the same faces again and again.
What fascinated you in the acting field as in acting you have to emerge as a totally different person?
I had been doing radio when I was very young, so I was trained to be an actor for microphone, but I got the confidence to face the camera after modeling that's why acting on screen was the perfect combination for me.
Are you satisfied with your performance. What shortcomings have you noticed that you want immediately to root out?
Each time, I come back home from any recording, I regret the whole night that I didn't act as good as it was require to be done. I used to speak very fast initially, but now I specifically try to deliver dialogues with patience.
Any suggestions for improving the quality of our productions so that they can compete with foreign channels.
The battle is on and will go on. We really need to work hard for survival in this highly competitive age. Because of a throng of production houses, budding directors, producers and channels we don't have enough time to be spent on any individual project. A project should be given proper time to think, perceive and execute. The sort of projects done in hurry will keep getting the same result, rather worse, if the same trend prevails.
Where do you want to see yourself standing after 10 years?
I just want to see myself successful, whether its showbiz or architecture, however, in showbiz definitely behind the camera.
What are the new projects signed in?
I am doing five serials, two telefilms and couple of short stories by leading directors and writers along with modeling campaigns.
What are your aim and future ambitions?
I am not very focused in terms of showbiz, neither I'm the type of person who plans life, I just put my best in what I get and leave the consequences to God. He has always blessed me more than what I asked for and best which I couldn't even think of.
well have fun guys...loads of people join!!!!!
quick quick quick!
Don't get surprised if you spot the most stunning model of the town at the modest interior of PIVIC Saddar arguing at the absence of Roshan Ara Begum rather than rocking in frenzy at some lazy number of Beyonce Knowles at a trendy elite party. The popular Nawab Sultan of Umrao Jaan Ada, IMRAN ABBAS in person too seems to belong more to the oriental Moghul era with a refined sense of aesthetics rather than today. Don't get surprised; just reaffirm your faith in the age old maxim that appearances are deceptive.
How did you land into Umrao Jaan Ada?
I had been into modeling for four years when Umrao Jaan Ada came my way. I had already done ten to eleven projects in acting till then, Rana Sheikh spotted me in a shoot I did for some magazine.
Didn't you feel it was too demanding a character for a novice like you?
I was really apprehensive about it at first. Nawab Sultan was played by the likes of film star Shahid and Farooque Shaikh. And then like most people, I had this impression that it depicted an older character than I could practically be. It's only when I was told that Nawab Sultan portrays an eighteen year old that I could think of taking it seriously.
That must have relieved you about looks and bearing, but how
about the performance itself. Did you believe you could do justice to a
phenomenal role of the sub continent?
Let me reveal something that is not known yet. I have been acting since childhood. I acted as a child star in famous plays like Aghosh and Putli Chacha. Then I was into classical music. I used to sing regularly in all Pakistan music conferences from my school and college. I even hosted radio programs as well. So I was never camera shy.
Did you have to battle with family opposition while making showbiz a career choice?
Don't ask me how much. My family is still not happy with my involvement with showbiz yet.
Most of us succumb to such pressure. How did you cope with that?
I have always been very self-reliant in that regard. That is why I have made a plunge into several things every now and then. Nobody knows it here in the showbiz that I once used to be in the Air force.
Don't tell me that the dreamy aristocrat of Umrao Jaan Ada and
the cheerful youth of milkon candy took up the mighty challenge of
flying planes once?
Well I did. I was an Aviation Cadet and was about to be a GD Pilot. I spent two and a half years in Pakistan Air force Academy. I went through all that ragging and training that every cadet goes through. After flying for fourteen hours in a row one fine morning it got into my head that I wanted to quit. I gave it up, simple!
And what made you quit?
It was not my cup of tea.
But you joined in on your choice too, didn't you?
Yes I did.
Does this mean that you tend to lose interest in things quite fast?
Well that's like me. That's how I am.
Where did your instincts push you next from Pakistan Air force Academy?
The National College of Arts, Lahore.
Wow! Quite a transition. And what did this young pilot steer there?
And did you steer well?
Pretty well. Well enough that I steered this and modeling and classical music.
Ever sang in public?
Many times. I was the in charge of Eastern Music Society at NCA.
But you never sang on Television, did you?
In my childhood I did. But now I don't
And why not?
This one thing my family would never approve of and I respect their reservations.
Ok, Give me a break. Say that this is the end of revelations about your multi faceted, multi talented persona?
It's not. I am a painter as well. (giggles) I have had two exhibitions abroad one in Tokyo the other in Hong Kong.
Just hold on. A pilot, an architect, an actor, a model, a singer and now a painter too. What are up to?
My parents say that now that I have done Architecture I should take that up seriously as a career.
So after doing Umrao Jaan now you are giving yourself a break from acting?
Not at all. I have done dozens of projects after Umrao Jaan Ada only.
Do you feel Umrao Jaan Ada has given you an added recognition as an actor?
Oh yes, that's for sure. Otherwise they don't take models seriously when it comes to acting.
They are justified, aren't they? Models don't have to offer much when it comes to their potential in acting.
That's not true anymore. We have seen models like Vinny evolving themselves as most successful actresses all through these years.
But then they need much more effort, don't they? Will Vinny or
any other model be rated at the same level as we rate Sania or Nadia
See models are paid for their looks. They are always conscious of the way they look. That's how they are trained to behave. So they can't really come out of that consciousness even while acting. Being a model I am very well aware of my best angles. However, acting is above all this. In order to perform well, an actor has to be indifferent of his surroundings, of himself.
Well, you do accept it as a drawback of being a model?
Yes it is. But luckily, being a child star helped. Then my father is a poet, my sister is a poetess and we have a sound literary atmosphere at home. I was brought up in an environment where radeef, qafiya, behar were subjects of everyday conversation. My Urdu therefore has been very clear and fluent which is very unusual as that is the last thing that is expected of models here. On the sets of Umrao Jaan Ada too. I was always telling Amina that she is overdoing something or going out of scale while reciting a verse, thanks to my upbringing. I feel accent, expression and delivery play half the game in acting.
So this you can call your strength as an actor?
And what do you feel is your strength as a model?
I once used to be really proud of my hair which now I am not. They are always the same. Long or short, they just lie flat on my face. I can't give them a new look no matter how hard I try.
What is your weakness as an actor?
I speak too fast. When I push myself to speak at a slower pace while acting then I don't sound that original. It somehow loses spontaneity.
Then Umrao Jaan must have been a feat to accomplish. It was full of pauses.
Don't remind me of that. The faster I spoke, the slower Amina did. It really was a feat to bring the two of us into harmony.
What is your weakness s a model?
I used to be very thin some time back. So I really had to be very particular about what I wear, Khawar Bhai used to constantly urge me to put on weight.
That tells me that you have worked with Khawar Riaz too?
For two or three months. I did. That was the time I came into modeling.
You were in Islamabad, you said. How did you run into Khawar Riaz then?
I was when I was in NCA that I began modeling. There in Lahore. I got to know Khawar. I was witnessing a shoot in which Khawar bhai was involved some way. He spotted me there.
How is Khawar Riaz as a person? Everyone has something different to say about him?
For me, he is terrific. I regard him in great respect. Khawar is a person easily misunderstood. In an industry that functions on sham affection and hypocrisy, Khawar is a person who is outright candid to the extent of being blunt. That's how he is a culprit to most of the people around. Our fashion industry is like that. Moon pe to aap gal se gal mila ke sugar & honey bane rehe aur eche aik dosre ki tange khenchey. Khawar is very straightforward and people can't digest that. And that's why he is labeled as arrogant and difficult.
There are people who find him moody and reproachful. What do you say about that?
I think he scolds you when you ask for it. And he is justified in that. I he won't scold, we wouldn't see that quality in his work that we do now.
Who else do you think has helped you mount your career?
Sultana Sidiqui. She trusted me with a major role in Jannat though I was a newcomer. I feel this helped me a lot in learning. Had there been no Jannat there wouldn't have been shayad ke bahar aye and eventually no Nawab Sultan of Umrao Jaan Ada. She is the one who has chalked out my acting career.
For a medium like TV, Umrao Jaan Ada was too bold a venture. AS much
as it was appreciated for the creative input, it was criticized for its
daring depiction and use of raw language. How did you as an actor cope
up with such a revolutionary kind of project?
You are right about the language bit. But then, can we deny the existence of such characters in our society. They have been there since Stone Age and they are there to stay for the times to come. The very fact that Mirza Hadi Ruswa wrote it gives it an acclaimed recognition in the domain of our literature. As far as the suitability of the medium is concerned. I feel it should have been rated for parental guidance. The way it went when Daira was played on air. But then, people knew that Umrao Jaan Ada would he on air. The kids at my place didn't watch it. I didn't watch it with my parents either. Eventually, it is all a matter of choice.
You believe for topic like this you could not avoid being bold?
I had to be. Can we strike out a prostitute's character from our society? Good or bad, it has always been there. If it was portrayed on TV, it was not glorified. It ends on a tragic not that she is deserted. There was no judgmental approach to the play. Can we void it as a subject? Would suppressing a subject end the subject itself? What did the anti prostitution act of Zia regime yield? Did it bring an end to prostitution? Instead prostitutes deserted their quarters and spread all over the city. It is essential to portray vice in order to show virtue outshine it.
But then playing Nawab Sultan must have required lots of effort on your side. Since it was not you in the least?
As far as the poetic element is concerned. I was pretty sure of myself. My forefathers were from Aligarh in India but there was a lot of stress in our family on pronunciation and decorum of speaking Urdu. I really had to concentrate on my body language. So it was very interesting to make a sprightly aviation cadet back from the Air force Academy acquire the ways of a leisurely Nawab from the orient. Then doing romance in front of the camera was on ordeal in its own. They used to say that I am too hesitant and don't even look straight into the eyes of the heroine. I still recall that first meeting scene with Umrao that was daringly romantic. Oh my God! Rana called me up after it and said I had full liberty to express myself. It took time to get even with that flow.
You have worked with a number of female models and actresses. Is there anyone with whom working was an exhilarating experience?
Working with Amina Shafat was tremendous. I believe she is the only model I met so far with whom you can have a decent, meaningful conversation for more than 30 minutes.
And is there anyone working with whom is still a dream?
God only if I get a chance to work with Madhuri and Babra just once in my life.
But this is difficult to happen?
Why not. It can be an older woman, younger man love situation.
You said performing in romantic roles gives you butterflies in
the stomach. Is appearing in romantic roles mostly a coincidence then?
Well, very soon you will see me in a negative character in one of the upcoming serials.
it just the sets where you are reserved with the fairer sex? I mean
doesn't star struck female fans melt your heart once in a while?
Let me tell you what happens. Right in the middle of the night when you have managed to snatch a few snores just for an hour or two because you have come from a shoot and then you have to get up early for a shoot, they call you up in the most dreamily husky voice that one feels like yelling why don't you sleep honey when you are so sleepy already.
Doesn't it feel good that people love you so much?
Not when you are dying to sleep, oh please!
But when one is working in proximity with the opposite gender all the time, aren't there more chances of getting attracted?
Being in the field, when you come to know people closely and their persona is removed, you begin to get disenchanted. You come to know that everything is fake. This world is not as beautiful as it seems. After coming to showbiz. I have developed repulsive feelings about it. It does not fascinate me anymore. The closer I got to these people, the more fake I found them. Now whatever I am doing is not out of willingness or that I am enjoying it. It is purely professional commitments that I am fulfilling.
We learnt that you are from Islamabad but for quits some time you
have been residing in Karachi. Do you find the two cities contrasting?
Tremendously. I found all the love in Islamabad. Karachi is too mechanical, too robotic. People here are always in a rush. All they talk about is profession rather than emotions. Character assassination is of prime interest.
Being so much into romance all this while, what is your idea of love?
I really suspect love to tell you the truth. I mean, we tend to misinterpret the idea most of the time. We call infatuation love, we call lust love. At times you are calling a transient feeling love. Mohabbat walion ka kaam hai, Mohabbat karne ke liye bara dil chahye. I have seen lots of people in love and love coming to an end. I believe if its love, it has got to be everlasting. I don't say that it does not exist but is too scarce.
So what is your definition of love?
To me love is an unexplained phenomenon where logics have no part to play.
Seems you will go for an arranged marriage?
Who is your ideal woman?
I wouldn't call it an ideal but she has to be educated, intelligent and understanding, somebody who has the wits to appreciate good humor. She should be eastern and should have a taste for music. Aur usey sanwali bhi hona cahye.
Wow! Isn't this more like Umrao Jaan Ada herself?
Oh my God, I never noticed that.
So when do you plan to tie the knot?
In the coming two years.
And she won't be from the fashion industry as you said?
No way, never! She will be an ordinary person.
Success affects different people differently. It takes some to cloud nine while humbles the others no end. Imran Abbas falls in the latter bracket. Watching his (classical) epic serial Umrao Jan Ada was truly an exhilarating experience where he was highly appreciated for his classical understanding, perfect dialogue delivery and above all a clear enunciation. Imran works with a passion and his minute detailing is simply laudable. About the models, many times, it's said that they couldn't possibly make it when it comes to acting but Imran sets a perfect example of a graceful transition and the vertical graph of his not-so-long career speaks volumes of his quirky talent.
With Umrao hitting the bull's eye, you seem to be the flavour of the year. How are you preparing yourself to deal with the new challenges?
Opportunities come once in a life time. I think I'm going on the right track by selecting right type of work and lining up all of those projects one by one in order to do one shoot at a time with more concentration. I don't think that I'm doing too much of work because there are a number of channels and different air timings which distributes viewership accordingly. The scenario is quite different from what we used to see even few years back when there were only two or three channels.
First of all Umrao Jaan was aired through Geo which is available on satellite and cable. Don't people watch other international channels on the same TV set? It was prepared in order to provide entertainment to classic at the same time introducing our new generation to our past. Classical dance and classical music part of our culture which can't be disowned by critics. Our drama was rehashed and dramatised exactly according to what was written in the novel keeping in mind its true literal essence .I strongly refute the allegation of being over bold and crossing the limit. Have you ever got a chance to watch our Pakistani films and commercial stage shows where everything is shown in extremely obscene and vulgar manner in the name of art? We didn't glorify the image of a prostitute but depicted the grandour of that classic character. The character of a prostitute cannot be erased from our society. I am proud to be the part of such a brave team who tempered against the tempest of allegations and meaningless objections and did a great job.
How challenging was it to perform?
With every single moment in acting field I feel I'm learning and learning….It was very challenging because I had to prove myself among the top artists of Pakistan who were part of that venture. Umrao was an epic and a project which can be taken as an instance in many contexts. I'm honoured to have been the main character in such a brilliant project which will be always remembered when history of drama making in Pakistan will be written. But I still think that I could perform better....
When it comes to adulation and appreciation, you seem to have achieved maximum from the play. Do you feel vindicated sometimes?
Criticism is the easiest thing in this world to do, especially in our country. Those who don't have any ability to do anything themselves the only thing they do is criticise, rather negative criticism. As far as my role is concerned that was just a character which I had to portray as I was told. It was beautifully written and marvellously dramatised. Those who criticise this character and those bold scenes did watch it regularly.
I feel myself lucky that the work I have done so far is what people always dreamed of. For instance I worked with Haseena Moeen, Zohra Nigah, M.Ahmad and Sultana Siddiqui and Rana Sheikh. I got the best projects ever since I started doing acting and modelling. People have started taking Imran, a model, seriously as an actor. Even now I'm not wasting myself in any second rated project in the market. My coming projects are not only written by some great writers like Anwar Maqsood, Noor-ul-Huda Shah, Muhammad Ahmad etc but also directed by the best directors in town and locations also varies from Moenjodero and Up-north to Italy, London and Amererica.
Do you find it difficult to say no to projects that come your way?
Initially I was very bad at saying "No" but now I have my own tactics and learned how to play the game. It's the image which suffers at the end of the day....It's a strange world, if I ever work with any mediocre director or in any below average production I'll be out of the good books of people who are genuinely doing quality work and I'll keep getting the same type of stuff.
Do you think of Ahmad Butt, Mikaal, Asad Ahmad, Nomi, as competitions?
As models they are doing a good job. It's good that people have a choice now. Honestly, I haven't seen them acting, except a sitcom of Ahmad I didn't get a chance to see their work, that's why I cant comment on it much. I think more people should join this field in order to have healthy competition which is not there so far.
I feel myself a beginner in acting at this stage, still it's a long way to go. I enjoy every minute in this field of glitz and glamour and handle every situation professionally.
Most of the models see films as the only way to vertical graph. But you seem to be least interested in movies?
Silver screen has its own magic but unfortunately in our industry writers are not writing roles for young lot and even if they write the characters they cast wrong people for that …If I find any role which suits my personality and directed by any educated director with enough understanding of film making, I won't mind doing a film.
Is it a fact that your laid-back attitude towards movies is due to the reason that you are making a lot more money as a model?
Hope you are not from Excise and Taxation Department. Well I pay my taxes regularly, do you want to see the record? (Hahaha). It is subjected to the type of film and team making that venture. It's not a matter of making money. Even if I get oodles of money, I can't ruin my image by working in any cheap production made by illiterate directors or so called "creative people" who bring out worst of their talent when we see any high-hyped and long awaited product on silver screen.
Does the success or failure of your projects affect you?
Failure or success is very unpredictable. Nobody can speculate about the fate of any product, which he/she makes. In showbiz you don't have any formula for success..A great production can be a flop and a bad project can be a hit…so we as a model/actor can just do the best in our capacity and leave it to God, that's what I do.
You are working in a number of projects at the same time. How is it possible to maintain the same level of enthusiasm?
Obviously the level of enthusiasm declines with the passage of time. I don't get excited for any shoot now as I used to be three and a half years back. At times I don't even know when my drama or ad is being aired and where my shoot is published…However even now every project, I work in, I find my own reasons to keep myself motivated it can be either the role, the team, director or even the location.
How diverse is acting from modelling .Don't you think that the model in you will take over the actor in you, sometimes?
Diversity is not a bad trait and I don't think that my modelling is getting affected by acting or vice versa. The prerequisites of modelling and acting are not the same in modelling you need to be good looking with tons of confidence and attitude but acting needs something more i.e brains, your body language, and dialogue delivery and along with those three ingredients required for modelling that's why my modelling supplements my acting instead of negating the actor inside me.
How did your family react when you decided to get into the glamourbiz?
They always gave me a free hand to do anything in life. My parents only wanted me to complete my education, and I am thankful to God that I completed my Architecture with flying colours. Now they only get upset when I don't give time to my family.
Many people think that you have changed after success and that you have become very high handed?
Really??? ….. Actually I have my own reservations…can't say yes to every project because of the fact that lots of crappy stuff is also in making…There is a difference between getting high handed and becoming selective. If people think that I quote high price they are badly mistaken .I do it in order to keep low cost productions at bay.
Topic started by *maria*
Last replied by -dramaholic-