Following a disastrous spell of films at the box-office, Teefa in Trouble was like a breath of fresh air.
After battling ticket lines all weekend, I finally managed to get tickets for the matinee show on Sunday (Lahoris do start their Sundays late) and I have to say that the hassle was worth it. My mother who generally doesn’t prefer visiting the cinema thoroughly enjoyed the film as much as my nine-year-old sister did, proving that the film targets people of all ages. The cinema hall echoed with peals of laughter throughout the film and everyone had a smile on their face as they exited the theatre. On the surface, both Ali Zafar and the leading lady Maya Ali couldn’t have made a better debut in the Pakistani film industry and Ali has proven yet again that he is a flawless performer.
I had to catch up with the man, Ali Zafar, himself to ask how he feels after such a mega project which has won hearts throughout the nation and opened to a sold-out weekend despite calls for protests and boycotts, albeit from smaller pockets of people. According to the film’s distributor, Teefa in Trouble has done a collective business of over Rs 85 million in four days, breaking all previous records. The film raked in a business of Rs 23.1 million on its opening day alone. The film also opened to full houses in 25 countries across the world, where it was distributed by production powerhouse Yash Raj Films.
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) July 24, 2018
All these numbers and box-office reports along with glowing reviews from the critics prove that Teefa in Trouble is in a league of its own and has definitely set the bar high for Pakistani films.
Speaking on how he felt, Zafar remarked that he couldn’t put the feelings in words considering the hurdles the whole team had to face before the film’s release – the upcoming elections, a non-holiday weekend and harassment claims and other controversial matters. He said the entire experience was extremely humbling and the response received was overwhelming to say the least. Moreso, he said that this was also a gentle reminder of the fact that one must not be arrogant and success and failure both are in God’s hands.
Quoting Hazrat Ali (R), Ali said, “Life consists of two days, one for you one against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are test for you.”
Zafar also credited his entire team for the success of Teefa and iterated that it was not his alone. He praised his co-stars Maya Ali and Faisal Qureshi and director Ahsan Rahim for bringing out the best in him. He also termed this as a win for the whole of Pakistan.
Teefa has been widely compared to Bollywood, given the visuals, cinematography and shots. However, Ali stated that team’s purpose was not to make a film which “matched Bollywood’s standards but was to carve a new product which resonates with the target audiences.”
When I asked Ali if he ever contemplated delaying the movie considering the controversies and upcoming elections, he commented that he was advised to delay the film’s release. However, he said that once he sets a goal, he does not deviate from it because the focus gets affected. With their faith strong and head held high, Rahim, Zafar, Geo and YRF decided to release the film as per schedule.
Though Teefa has broken records and has gone onto becoming the highest grossing Pakistani film of all times, there were also isolated calls to boycott the film. I was quite curious to know Zafar’s take on the matter [bans, protests] and when I asked him this he simply replied, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If someone felt that they should boycott the film, I respect that. One should always be tolerant and open to all perspectives.”
He continued, “I cannot thank my wife, family, team, friends and fans enough for all the love and support they have given me throughout. This success is a product of all the love that is shared and I hope to continue making my family, country and fans proud.”
Considering the pockets of negativity against the film before and after the release, I couldn’t fathom how Ali manages to block out all the negative vibes. When I asked this he said, “Human beings are full of capabilities and can stretch beyond belief. The biggest strength in a person comes from within and when you submit to God’s will, you free yourself from all worries. He knows what’s best for you and with that faith, I weather all storms.”
On what’s next, Ali laughed that he would first like to go on a long vacation and unwind. However, on a serious note, he said that he has many more goals and targets to achieve and would like to make more efforts to keep his fans entertained.
On when we’ll be seeing him on the screen again, he said, “I have a couple of projects, both international and local, lined up, but till then go watch Teefa in Trouble.”