With high ambitions and goals Shamoon Abbasi turned to acting and directing. Born and raised in Italy, actor gained fame owing to his strong villainous character in Pakistani blockbuster Waar. Abbasi’s main goal is to be the part that projects which could bring change to the stagnant Pakistani film industry. He has done major roles in a number of films and television dramas and has won the bronze award. Abbasi is a rare man among today’s breed of actors. A versatile actor, Abbasi looks forward to make his mark on Pakistani cinema by doing more good films. Sunday Plus had an exclusive chat with Shamoon Abbasi, who shared his views about entertainment industry, his career and all the joys in between. Let’s have a look:
You have been the part of TV industry for a long time, how has been your experience so far?
It has been different in different times. Honestly speaking, you can say that sometimes it’s really hard to achieve or cope up with the projects that are coming your way and sometimes you really love what you are doing. Overall I have enjoyed this whole journey and gained a lot.
What do you like and dislike about your profession?
What I like about this profession is that it keeps you committed; it keeps you on your toes. Everyday there is a new experience. What I don’t like about this profession is the craft of art in Pakistan which is not acknowledged the way it should be. The actors and directors related to this field are not appreciated the way they are in the other parts of the world. I feel that there is a little lack of assessment here.
Sometimes while performing, the actor drifts away from the actual script, not strictly adhering to what is on the paper. What is your comment on it?
It usually happens once in a blue moon but I never had any difficulty with such circumstances. I believe when you are on the set you can actually change the script a lot by your actions. While shooting you don’t have to just follow the script. You become an actor when people understand your presence and script can go through your presence. Many times scripts are not so much amazing but on screen few actors can make those simple lines interesting and in this way a project becomes a hit.
How would you describe your acting skills?
I am an observant person who observes the ascent and style of different acting genres. I don’t consider myself just one track hero means an actor who can just do one genre of acting. I can be a comedian, a villain or a lay man. I watch foreign movies to catch up with international trends. I read world literature and try to adapt it. I think I have this skill. I believe that people want to see natural acting and I make sure that I satisfy my viewers.
We have seen you playing negative roles in my serials. Any specific reason for that?
It’s not me choosing this type of character; it’s how people want to cast me. You can say this is fortunate or unfortunate that in Pakistan many actors do not like to do negative role. They think their image will be ruined. Everyone wants a lead role in the project and then the slot of the negative role remains empty. I have done every genre of acting and by doing a negative role I have various times filled this empty slot.
Which of your work you have done so far you consider as your best project?
I can’t name any one project. I think I am still struggling for that. Up till now my work has not fulfilled my hunger and craving for doing more and working better. I wish to perform well enough to get an Oscar. I am a person who does not like to work at many places. I prefer to stay alone. I am not so much of a socialite. I like to focus on my work.
How do you carry yourself on set?
One of the major things that I always avoid is to be proud of my craft and skills or how good I can be on screen. This kind of attitude and these kinds of tantrums are used to kill all the energy that you have so you start intimidating the coworkers by the attitude that you are keeping on the set. People know me as a very friendly person. No matter who they are I always respect them. I believe in good acting and consider my co stars good actors too. We should let the audience decide who is performing well. You should not be the one to decide it by yourself that you are the best on screen. I respect my senior and juniors and make them feel that we are a family. I never try to humiliate my juniors. Being friendly is the way to stay in the heart of people or in field. You should always be friendly on set and you will gain a lot of respect. Faisal Qureshi is a brilliant actor and he is very friendly too and he wants people to understand everything. We are the institution for upcoming actors. If we will not teach them humbly then where will they learn from?
What is the thing that you know now and you wish you had known this before in the start of your career?
That is such a good question. I think I should have not got married in the start of my career. I could have worked more which I could not. I could have given more time to my industry which I could not because of the family. I don’t regret anything about work. I choose the work by myself whether it’s bad or good
How was the experience of working with Bilal Lahsari?
It was an awesome experience working with Bilal Lashri. It was like to be on a vacation with him. He is a very brilliant director. I would love to work with him in future as well.
Waar was a super hit film, but it also gained many critical reviews. What would you like to comment on it?
This is the system since the creation of the world. Everything has its positive and negative sides. Everyone has his own opinion and we should respect him. When a movie is not good and people criticize it, and this thing spreads like an infection. Consequently that movie will remain in its hometown. When three percent people out of hundered’s are giving their views in negative or criticizing the movie, then we should not stick at that small amount, we should look at its larger side. 97% of Pakistani and overseas have accepted Waar as a super hit. I know some people who watched this movie almost 18 times so we cannot ignore the love of the people for this movie. We respect their love and we will work for them in future too. If someone doesn’t like it we can’t challenge or change their opinion. I take all the criticism regarding this movie very positively.
What are your considerations while choosing a film?
A movie has a lot of different aspects. We have to see that what kind of business it will do. Like Waar, it has made business like never before. For a film I look up for character and its importance. I am not that kind of person who looks for a lead character. I just make sure that my presence is significant in the movie and what kind of money that movie will make because now it’s all about business you can’t work only for the sake of art. Once our cinemas made good projects but it’s now time to take our industry at international level. With good project Pakistani cinemas are on its revival and when our films will be watched globally people will know about Pakistan and its creative people. I waited to sign a movie like Waar, with which I can associate myself or it can be associated with me. I am a very patient person. I could have done Lollywood films and villian roles but I didn’t want to start my career like that. I might do ten movies in my life but I want to be an actor who can change something. I am so proud and thankful to God that my name will be written in the history of Pakistani cinema’s revival.
In which medium you feel you self more comfortable, drama or film?
It depends what is comfort to you and where you are putting your efforts. Comfort is nothing. I believe it’s the passion that drives you to face all the obstacles. When I did Waar, I did 3D stuns, fighting, doing action scenes and even I get hurt while shooting. It was very cold in Islamabad when I started shooting for the film and there were no heaters and I was shivering so comfort was not there, it was my passion that was keeping me there and its only passion that keep every actor up to the mark.
Do you think favoritism prevails in our industry or its all rumors?
Yes it does. Sycophants always take advantages.
How much of your stardom is a result of your personal life, as projected by the media. You know, besides your work and the hits you generate…
Honestly if you ask me as Shamoon Abbasi, my reputation has been ruined and crushed by woman very badly. My Ex wife acted like I am an enemy or a monster after divorce. Even many people said to me that I am opposite to that image which has been projected. Woman has more access to talk about anything. They go to beauty parlous, shoots. Male usually don’t think to talk about anything when they are on set. We don’t talk about our co stars or ex but a woman has habit of gossiping and makes stories. If I would be so bad then God would have punish me for that. I believe when you do something wrong you get punish for it in this world too. You can’t achieve anything then because God don’t like you. Thank to God I am standing where I wanted to be so now I don’t care what people say. My family, sibling, wife, cousins respect me that is more than enough for me. I have a very simple formula of life which is to do respect and get respect.
Q: Tell us something about your recent and future projects.
There are many upcoming projects. I did an action thriller operation 021 which is produced by Zeba Bakhtiar, a feature film ‘Gidh’ written by Zubair Abbasi and directed by me and it is expected to be released this August. I did one more horror and action feature film which is ‘Kunhar Ghaati’.Published in The Nation newspaper on 23-Mar-2014