Pakistani actor Bilal Abbas Khan: Art can be a bridge between countries
As Ek Jhoothi Love Story wins hearts, Pakistani actor Bilal Abbas Khan bats for cultural exchange between nations
A fortnight into its release, Pakistani star Bilal Abbas Khan is basking in the success of Ek Jhoothi Love Story. In presenting the romantic track of lead characters Sohail and Salma, the ZEE5 original series focuses on the culture of arranged marriages in the neighbouring country. "The best part is that people have watched it at one go. The series is a wonderful example of how you can give out a positive message without [sounding preachy]. We have dealt with how parents pressure [children into marriage], but the situation is presented in a progressive way," beams Khan.
If the series drives its point home without resorting to theatrics or drama, Khan says the credit goes to director Mehreen Jabbbar. "At times, we tend to go overboard with light-hearted comedies. But here, the comedy is subtle. Mehreen has focused on minor aspects, and kept the story realistic and raw."
A still from the series
Post the Uri attacks in 2016, Indian cine bodies had announced a collective ban on Pakistani artistes. Khan is glad that the digital platform offers a window for cultural exchange despite the strained equation between the two countries. "We can't do films in India. At least, [we can take solace in the fact] that our digital shows are reaching a wider audience. I strongly believe art can build a bridge between countries. To me, art has no boundaries and can fill a void in society. We can only pray that a collaboration between the two countries begins again."
One superpower you wish to possess?
The power to be at multiple places at the same time.
Your celebrity crush?
Kareena Kapoor Khan.
The last nightmare you had?
That I was in a tsunami and my house was collapsing.
One thing on your wishlist?
To see the Northern Lights.
Place you were first kissed?
Who or what do you turn to when you’re sad?
I listen to my happy music and go cycling.
Working through pain
Ignoring his slip-disc, Akshay Mhatre of Indiawaali Maa fame resumed work after the lock-down was lifted. But due to unbearable pain, he was forced to stall the shoot.“The production team created a room outside the set for me to rest after every shot.”
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