Laal Kabootar started off 2019 on a good note for Pakistani cinema.
The film successfully weaves Karachi into its plot with characters like Ahmed Ali Akbar's Adeel and Mansha Pasha's Aliya whom you can't help but relate to.
The true underdog of the movie, however, is Rashid Farooqi as Ibrahim, the corrupt cop who holds his own while being a doting father and husband. Farooqi stands out in Laal Kabootar and plays the complexities of his character to a point worth appreciating.
While Farooqi has made his name with numerous projects — even earning an LSA nomination for his work in Ramchand Pakistani — he won us over with Laal Kabootar.
Images got in touch with the actor to know more about his work in Kamal Khan's debut film:
Images: How did you come to play the role of Inspector Ibrahim? Did the film's producers reach out to you or was there an audition process?
Rashid Farooqi: I got a call from the director. When I met him he explained the story of the film and said I'd have to go through an audition for the role. I happily agreed. I believe there should be auditions, it lets us know how serious the production is and that they'll cast according to skill. After my audition I got the part and made the deal to work in Laal Kabootar.
Images: What is your take on the character? What kind of man do you think he is?
Rashid: For me, there was a lot of charm in Ibrahim's character. I've played policemen before, but they were very two-dimensional. With this character I saw different shades. He reacts differently in different situations; he has elements of romance, strictness, sarcasm, [menace] and it all depends on where he is and who he's with. And in his relationship with his daughter, there is so much variety and personality in this character. For any actor, a role like this is a blessing. I had a great time playing Ibrahim.
My director was also supportive of my interpretation. He worked on the character, removing any unnecessary bits and keeping the important nuances. I observed policemen for this role but from a different angle than I usually do, because I wanted [to play an] average cop with several layers to him.
Images: What did you keep in mind while deciding how to play him? Did the filmmakers the producers or director give you any feedback?
Rashid: When I read this character and was in rehearsals, I had one thing in my mind; I want to show him as a smart person, who is confident and knows how to deal with any situation. I wanted to show his witty and cute side as well, like how he is with his family. Through rehearsals we explored all his traits and incorporated them in the role, making sure [that at no point in the script] does it look like that he is suddenly a different character but the same person with different layers.
My director did have a lot of input and helped me a lot in making Ibrahim a complete person. We'd have proper conversations, discussing all aspects, justifying every move and during the shoot he would also have tiny notes that would elevate the character to a new level. I'm grateful to Kamal for that.
Images: Has playing this role changed how you view the police and law enforcement in general?
Rashid: I don't think being Ibrahim in Laal Kabootar made that big of a difference to my views as I always respected the people of law enforcement, the same way I respect any artist or a member of this society. The policeman is also a human and has a life, is going through his own situation. There are circumstances that lead them to be too tough and sometimes can spiral into corruption. This is all a part of our society and he is an element of our society as well.
So I don't think there has been a difference in my views. Maybe I'd like to play more such characters, be better than before and show their complexities.
Images: Are you proud of your work in Lal Kabootar? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Rashid: I'm not proud that I played Ibrahim, but I'm definitely proud of the fact that I am a part of the Laal Kabootar team and went through such a process that I learned a lot in. I enjoyed that a lot. Because when it comes to acting, that's our job, to read a character, get to the core of their personality and interpret it for the screen, bringing out the intricacies that make it unique. When we do it properly and deliver what is needed, it's relaxing, and that's how I felt about playing this guy.