By Kaukab Jahan
Hamza Ali Abbasi is a household name in Pakistan. His vibrant showmanship in various contrasting fields have established him as one of Pakistan’s most notable personalities. At one end, Abbasi is known for his brilliant performances and acting skills while on the other hand, he is popular for his unfiltered opinions on the political scenario of country.
The son of politician mother and army father, Hamza opted for a civil service job but soon left that for the glaring world of showbiz. He started his acting career by performing in Shah Sharabeel’s commercial theatres, before hitting it big with the 2010 television play Pyare Afzal. From there, Hamza went onto do a couple of hit films including Waar, Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi and Jawani Phir Nai Ani, which established him in Pakistan’s competitive entertainment industry.
Hamza garned more spotlight with his abrupt political statements on social media and television, some of which landed him into controversies, more than once.
In this conversation with Pakistan Today, Hamza talks about being a person who always wanted to do things with a purpose.
Your film Parwaaz Hai Junoon came after a long gap of almost three years. Why the break?
This is because I chose my projects very carefully. I keep in mind while selecting a project that they should be more than just an entertainment. I prefer to do one project at a time so I can dedicate myself to it. Moreover, I have put my interest in many other things as well which keep me busy.
Parwaaz Hai Junoon is on the subject of air force. There hasn’t been done much on this subject before in cinema. So, from where did you get the inspiration for your role?
Yes, there was no relevant reference. But we discussed the roles ourselves and the air force personals were very helpful in this regard. We lived on the bases with the cadets which gave us a chance to study their lives and mannerisms. The lives of forces personals are not limited to wars, fights and arms but they are also a normal human beings who have families, friends, love interests and even their fondness and fears. This aspect of the film really appealed to me.
For a while now we’ve been seeing you in frontline activism, while in showbiz you are playing different characters from a romantic hero in Mann Mayal to a flirt in JPNA. How do you maintain a balance?
Acting is my profession and activism is my catharsis. In a country like Pakistan, you cannot stay away from politics. I consider it a sin to be apolitical in Pakistan where corruption is rampant.
Whatever I write and speak in the name of activism is my responsibility. I believe that in Pakistan, the more prosperous class has more responsibility to speak for the wrongs in society as they have education, and more time and space for activism than the working class, which is struggling to make ends meet. It is really unfortunate that in our society people are reluctant to talk on politics and religion and this has resulted in our upper class being cut off from the rest of the society, in turn creating disparity among classes. But now I am hopeful as this trend is changing and more people are talking about the political state of country. A number of actors participated in the recent elections as well.
What’s next? Are you going to do another project on a serious issue?
I am currently wrapping up my upcoming film, Maula Jatt. Apart from that, I am also doing a television serial called Alif, which has very big message in it. I didn’t want to do anything for a year but Alif’s script compelled me to accept the offer, as it presented what I speak and write on various platforms. I feel lucky to have gotten a chance to be in that project. The message of Alif is extremely close to my heart and I can’t wait to give that message to people through television.
Edited by Saman Shafiq