Rockstar Ali Azmat will make his way back to the cinemas with the high-voltage reboot of Maula Jatt.
The long-awaited Punjabi reboot of the '70s classic has been in the making for a few years now. Helmed by Bilal Lashari, who had earlier directed Ali Azmat in his acting debut Waar, Maula Jatt features a stellar cast that includes Fawad Khan as the protagonist, Hamza Abbasi as the antagonist, Noori Nath, Mahira Khan, Humaima Malick and most recently, Ali Azmat in a cameo sequence.
Speaking to Images, Azmat revealed that he shot for his guest appearance in Lahore on the purpose-built sets earlier this year. Although he had been on a hiatus from acting after playing a politician in Waar, one wonders what brought him back to a film set.
“I’ve always been an actor, but I never had the patience to be one. I couldn’t sit on set all day, get makeup on for six hours for one scene and I’d just run away from all of that,” he laughed, when asked about what’s kept him away. “But I guess it’s the money or the fact that when I’m not doing anything, I want to do something else, creatively. I’m a character actor, so I try my hand here and there.”
While he was not at the liberty to talk about his character, one wondered if Azmat was the only cast member fluent in the Punjabi language, considering coaches had been hired for most of the cast. “It’s funny because that’s true. I spoke the best Punjabi on set,” Azmat chuckled with a sense of pride. “They’re all angrez-Punjabis, but they’ve done a great job.”
Azmat sung high praises of the Maula Jutt team. “It will be massive, if nothing else, Bilal knows his craft. The producers (Ammara Hikmat) have left no stones unturned, they’ve invested a lot of money for a project like this, so it’s very expensive,” he shared about what one can expect from the film.
“All the makeup, prosthetics, body suits and wigs and the entire set-up with the weapons and the village (that’s been built for the movie), shooting the action sequences – I’m sure it’ll all be a treat to watch when it comes out.”
As far as acting endeavours go, Azmat was also supposed to be starring in first-time film director Shahid Shafaat’s action-comedy Jhol. Whilst Ali took on the role of a cop, the film co-starred Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf and Nausheen Shah and was said to be a 2016 release. Although controversies surrounded the film from the very beginning with Iman Ali and Babra Sharif dropping out from the film, the producers haven’t released an official statement about shelving the project.
“I have no idea (with what happened to the movie). I’ve shot the film, done with dubbing and the soundtrack as well,” Azmat disclosed. “I think the producers are not too sure; the lead hero (Bilal Ashraf) is no longer a part of the film, so they wanted to shoot more from what I know. I’ve done my work and now I’m waiting for the day it comes out. I think I was 44 when it started and I’m 48 now!”
With over three decades in the business, 2018 seems to have been an eventful year for Azmat as he reunited with his bandmates from Junoon for a reboot of Allama Iqbal’s 'Khudi' as well as a live concert, which is scheduled to take place later this month in Karachi. He also endorsed several brands and landed a number of tracks on Coke Studio this year, which is makes it clear that Azmat has been open to widening his horizon.
“There’s nothing carved in stone. The method is to stay true to yourself and do the best to your knowledge. I’m a very limited songwriter, but I just did a movie and I was asked to do another shaadi track for it and I refused initially. But eventually, I did want to break the mould,” he maintained.
“I’d be bored if I wasn’t experimenting, I try not to repeat what I’ve done, musically, but you do end up with what your true calling is. I love the guitar, so I try to make it sound innovative every time and find people who are fresh and able to further that.”