For some strange reason, Babar Ali seemed reluctant to invite me to his residence for an interview when we met for the first time at Evernew Studios. “Aap yahan pyar hi kar lein, “was his reply. Knowing quite well how producers sulk when you interview members of their cast on the sets, I refused. An alternative rendezvous was suggested – the cultural complex, where he was shooting at the ungodly hours of 1:30a.m. I somehow agreed. There was, however, no sign of Babar Ali when I arrived, and all we could see was Khushboo and Roop, in sleazy attires, resorting to cheap gestures in front of the camera. Where is Babar Ali? No one knew.
Thanks to photographers Athar Shahzad, we managed to pin him down at his residence the next time, but only because he was injured and wasn’t shooting. So we finally made our way there half-heartedly. After few a few questions, I had nothing more to ask him simply because he wasn’t willing to take the interview serious. So I literally forced him to come up with better replies: take the interview seriously, I told him, or else I would go home and write exactly what I thought of him. After that Babar Ali decided to cooperate.
Coming to films after a stint on the small screen, with serials like Zaheeruddin Babar and Nangey Paon behind him, Babar Ali always aimed to be big screen star. And that is exactly what he is today. From his mega-hit Jeeva to his current Lakhte Jigar, Babar Ali has so far had almost nine hits in a row; something which he feels is a world record. While it was Syed Noor who introduced him, Shamim Ara made him what he is today. The rest was left up to Reema.
Although he was worked with all the top directors and producers of Pakistani film world, he does not seen too keen to work with any of Lollywood’s aspiring starlets-apart, of course, from our dancing sensation, Reema. Poor Resham is just a below average colleague to him, while he takes Neeli as a sister. So where does that leave our long-haired hero?
In this exclusive interview with the Mag4you.com, Babar Ali talks openly about his professional life, his likes and dislikes, the fabricated Scandals about him and, of course, Reema.
Read and find out whether he is a better actor on screen or in real life.
So you think you are the top actor in the country?
Naheen Ji meine yeh kabhi nahin samjha ke main number one hoon. I am at the learning stage, right now.
Why do today’s new comers not have the staying power of their seniors?
When someone starts thinking too much of himself, he is bound to slide downhill. That is what happened to a number of newcomers. I haven’t developed those starry traits and I never will. I am known in the film industry for being very courteous. I have decided to maintain a down–to-earth demeanour through out my professional life. If you live according to what Allah has decreed, then you are bound to remain on the right track and succeed in the long run.
What image are you trying to project?
I am just trying to proceed on the right track. I am different from other film stars I don’t hang around parties—you know the type of parties I am talking about. After wrapping up my shooting, I return home immediately.
You‘ve had a number of this in a row, but to date jeeva remains your best film. Do you agree?
Jeeva is the one of the best films that I have done a part from Munda Bigra Jaey. People have appreciated me in all my films. I was a loverboy in my initial films. Then I played a full action hero in sarack, a comedian in Hum to Chaley Susral, a sentimental hero in Chor Machae Shor, and a dancer in Love ’95 in short, I have done a variety of characters in my films. I am expecting a lot from one of my forth coming movies Beqabu I play a villain.
Why have you limited yourself to working with Reema alone?
It is just a coincidence. I have never refused to work with any heroines. Ours is one of the most successful pairs in the industry and we have seven consecutive hits to our credit. People literally wait for our new films after their release we are showed with praise. She is a good colleague and senior. She has taught me a number of things. Because our pair clicks, the producers cash in on us.
But don’t you think it has now been done to death?
Not so soon. We are still very popular, the most revered couple we will work together as long as people want us to. Reema is number one, that's producers prefer her.
Why have you stopped working with Syed Noor?
I have not. I have almost in Syed Noor films, such as Karam, Uqabon ka Nasheman, Rang, Muqabla Pyar ka and others in the pipelines.
Shamim Ara’s films made you what you are today. Why then was there a fight between the two of you?
[Vehemently] there was no fight. A misunderstanding had been created. I had some date problems and I couldn’t give time to her films. So people just concocted stories about our clash. She has always been like a mother to me, how can I a fight with her?
Directors are known to favour artistes of their choice. You have also been favourite of two directors. Is this how you managed to bag the cream of the crop?
I am not into this lobby business, if I work with a director, I don’t sign all his films. I prefer working with different directors and I want other new comersto bag good roles too. I want healthy competition Akela Babar Ali to nahin, aur bhi hain.
Do you think you would have been where you are today had Shaan maintained his top position?
Why not? If God had written it in my fate, I would have made it even if there were it even if there were ten successful heroes around Shaan is still a force to reckon with. I don’t know why people think he is a spent force. He is working on a few good assignments, which is encouraging. I have my own style .We are all working in our own respective ways.
You and Reema are known to be madly in love with each other…?
I don’t believe in affairs. We have been made the target of scandal mongers for no reasons these are just fabricated stories inspire by our opponents. I am the only actor in Pakistan who has never given statements against any one in my interviews or otherwise. As far as Reema is concerned, we are very good colleagues.
But is there something special between the two of you?
Let me tell you that I personally like her very much, but as far as marriage is Concerned, I can’t say any thing about it. I can’t make tall claims.
But can you marry her?
Why not? You never know what future has in store for us.
Reema and Resham even fought over you once. What happened?
I can’t say much about Resham, but as far as Reema is concerned, she never initiates flights. I think its al baseless scandal. Reema is not the sort of person who would go to producers to shop them from signing me and Resham.
Why do you deliberately overlook Resham with whom you where good friends initially? You have now even stopped signing films with her?
That’s because we were never offered any film together. I was never friendly with her I worked very professionally with her and I am very open about it. Why should I hide anything?
You have also vowed not to work with other leading heroines like Neeli, Meera, Sahiba and Saima, Why?
It is the producer’s headache to decide a cast. If I agree to do a good role and the producers decide to cast me opposite Reema, has never topped me from working with other heroines. Neither does she impose her liking on producers. It’s purely a producer’s decision. I have projects like Chand Girhan, Ashiq Awara and mehboob ki mehndi in hand where I am working with different heroine’s shahtaj Meera and Nargis.
It is said that you were very upset when Syed Noor cast Saud opposite Reema in Hawaein?
I was the first to get the offer of the film but I decided not Ito do it of my own free will.
You are not supposed to be too friendly with male colleagues?
Who says? I am friendly with everyone. It is because of their help and support that I am here today. We have succeeded as a team; otherwise I am nothing on my own. Actors like Jan Rambo, Faisal Qureshi and Saud are good friends.
You are the bad dancer and you can never synchronies with Reema during dances the way Shaan did, do you agree?
I agree that I am not a very good dancer, but I do synchronies with Reema. People love our dances. I have received a number of letters from people appreciating my dances with Reema, and according to Reema, I manage very well with her. Even dance directors say I look good while dancing.
You are known to throw tantrums quite frequently?
I have no nakhras. I am just more reserved. People call me a buddhi rooh (old spirit) because of my reticence. I deliberately avoid being talkative as I might utter something wrong plus, I don’t move around a lot. I have mixing too much. I just have a few select friends whom I meet. If that’s what makes me a nakhrey wala then what can I say?
Have you continued to be friends with your schoolmates?
I miss Karachi a lot and wherever I go there , I throw a party where I invite all my friends and their families and we have a good time togethers, all my old friends are now in good posts.
Pakistani film heroes today do not enjoy the die–hard female following they used to. Why?
None of my fans have died for me but I do have a number of loyal fans. My phone keeps buzzing all day. All times girls take my father to be Babar Ali and start talking to him as our voices are amazingly similar.
You started your career from the mini screen. Would you ever work for TV again?
I would love to do a long play on TV if not a serial. I had offers from Lahore and Peshawar centers when I was working for T.V. but some how I couldn’t manage to take up the offers.
Talking of Peshawar, have you beeen offered a pustho film yet?
[Laughing] Allah Na kary. I think my role of a Pathan in jeeva was enough. I can’t speak pushto but you know I have a large number of pathan fans. I was in Peshawar for the premiere of Maamla Garber Hai. And the way they welcomed me, I felt so honoured. My posters were all over the city and crowds had gathered to welcome me all the way from the airport to the cinema. I think it is a big achievement for me at such a young age.
How young are you?
I don’t give away my age to anybody.
Will you tell us something about your personality?
I am basically a reserved person and I like reserved company. I hate endless chattering, but I am not a lonely person. I like to be alone at times but not always. I hate bad language and impudence. I am not short-tempered but there are times when anger becomes inevitable. I am always express my temper openly, but I don’t indulge in fights and abusing.
Actors usually like to be praised incessantly. What about you?
Too much admiration makes me suspicious and I don’t like it. I like criticism because I learn from it.
What else do you like?
I like playing snooker; love wearing shalwar kameez, my favorite perfume is Aramis, favourite singers include reshma and nayyara noor. Reshamaji came to see me in hospital, I am very grateful to her. I like girls whom I like; I love red roses and aanmaan ki meeli rangat.
If you like neeli rangat how come you prefer reema to Neeli?
[Laughing] Neeli ko to mein Behan kehta hoon. But if I am offered a film with her I will do it.
What about the new wave of sex and obscenity on the screen. Do you like that too?
I strongly oppose vulgarity. I would never do a sexy scene, I just refuse I ask the director to change the scene. It is in my agreement that I will not pose for a vulgar short.
You raised your dhoti up to your hips in hum to chalay susral isn’t that vulgar?
That was just a portrayal of a very naïve and simple villager who had no inhibitions. It wasn’t done vulgarly and just did what the requirements of character demanded.