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17 Feb

Catching up with Bilal Ashraf

Bilal Ashraf has all the attributes of a superstar: good looks, the right contacts and a charming personality. He is friendly and approachable in person, which is what makes people love stars. They should be glamourous enough to look like stars but appear to be regular people when/if you meet them in person.

Bilal is so friendly that he almost missed the incredible fireworks display at the PSL opening ceremony. After waiting around quite a bit while his fans got done with their selfies and fan moments, I eventually sat down with Bilal for a quick chat and just as we sat down and started talking, fireworks started exploding in the sky outside. I offered to continue the interview later but Bilal insisted we finish our conversation.

So I got right to it. Bilal had flown out to Dubai to attend the PSL because he’s the brand ambassador for Jazz with Lahore Qalandars but how did he manage the time when he’s busy with two films?

“Right now I’ve put a few things on the back burner, trying to finish PSL. I’ll go shoot my film Rangreza, then come back for PSL, then go back to finish the visual effects for Yalghaar which is going to be an Eid release while Rangreza is going to be released this year as well. So big, big year for me, two films this year.”

What’s interesting is that Bilal will be playing two characters that are poles apart from each other in real life. “Both films are extremely different. I play a musician in one and an SSG soldier in the other.”

Bilal Ashraf Mehwish Hayat PSL

Bilal Ashraf with Mehwish Hayat, who is also a brand ambassador for Lahore Qalandars

 

Bilal added that his work in Yalghaar was physically challenging. “It has lot’s of action in it, we fired live weapons and I did all my stunts myself. So physically it took a lot of toll on me. I had to get into a particular physique for the poster, which you’ll see soon. I dropped myself to 8% body fat for that.” That’s insane! Even though Bilal was fit before (his fat percentage was 15 – 16%), dropping down to 8% is no ordinary accomplishment.

However, we are a little concerned over how Ashraf will pull off his upcoming cinematic projects after his performance in his debut film, Janaan. The actor received mixed reviews for his work, where many felt that his acting was too stiff and robotic. However, one could argue that Bilal can’t be blamed for it because his character was written with a lot of limitations. Thankfully, Bilal agreed.

Janaan was a very one dimensional character; it was very straight forward. But my other characters in Rangreza and Yalghaar have a lot going on.”

Speaking about his role in Janaan, Bilal added “Of course there’s room for improvement. I’m not going to say that anyone’s perfect, we are all always learning. It was my first proper acting job so a lot of room for improvement and I’m trying my level best. The good thing is that I got a lot of love and support from my fans and now because of them, I’m going to work even harder, Inshallah.”

Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.