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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Destinations Hollywood and Bollywood for Meesha

Pakistan’s rocker chick Meesha Shafi is an all¬-rounder when it comes to entertaining the audience.
The multi-talented musician and actor set the bar high for herself after starring in Mira Nair’sThe Reluctant Fundamentalist and is now simultaneously working on two new projects — a Bollywood film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and a Hollywood flick, Tournament of Shadows. While Shafi was reluctant to do a typical Bollywood movie in the past, she said this film is not youraverage movie.
“When the director approached me for this project, saying ‘yes’ was an easy choice,” says Shafi. “The quality of work and the team including Farhan Akhtar, are some of the best of their kind in the industry and have proven so time and time again.”
Reel talk
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is not your average Bollywood masala mix at all. It’s a biopic, strictly non-fiction period movie,” she says. The film features Farhan Akhtar, who plays the role of Milkha Singh, an Indian Olympic runner who is also known as the “flying Singh”. The film chronicles the life of the Olympian over three decades, the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s and is being directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra — a director Shafi adores. He is also known for his inspirational film Rang De Basanti.
Meanwhile, Shafi has also been busy with her upcoming Hollywood project Tournament of Shadows. “I had not realised until recently, the magnitude and reach of ‘Alif Allah’ or ‘Jugni’. I was approached for this film, my second Hollywood production, after producers discovered me on YouTube,” she said about Tournament of Shadows which is being directed by Jamil Dehlavi — known for directing Jinnah as well.
“Both the music and story revolve around a very strong theme of spirituality and Sufism.” The film will include two of Shafi’s songs with one showcasing her vocal versatility as she will sing in Persian for the first time. The date of the film’s release is still unknown.
Speaking of her contribution to Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which has been circling the festival circuit lately — to be screened at a special Dare Gala at the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival this month and later at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival — she said: “I am so honoured to count this historical movie in my credits. It’s been great food for thought for the audiences it has catered to so far,” she said. “It is doing festival rounds at the moment and is challenging people to gain some perspective — to question and rethink sensitive issues.”
When asked how she adapted to different film industries such as Bollywood and Hollywood, she admitted she was able to adjust quickly and perform the varying roles she signed up for easily because she was tri-lingual. “Being tri-lingual is definitely one of my strengths and as far as working in different film cultures is concerned, it’s always a pleasure and a great learning experience as you get to work with professionals from all round the world,” she said.
“The only challenging aspect for me has been time management. All of a sudden this year, I was somehow shooting for four movies simultaneously — all in different countries. I had never even imagined being in these shoes. It’s a roller coaster ride and by the grace of God, I didn’t even have to stand in a queue.”
Regarding music, Shafi said that she has been working on some original tracks and producing them at her husband Mahmood Rahman’s production house Pocketwatch. “There is a lot of music I am sitting on right now. I am reviewing the best time to follow a release plan and that time is not right now,” she said. “I would like to be able to accompany my album release with a sizeable tour which many fans and record labels are inquiring about.” She plans on producing music videos as well.

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