Bilal Ashraf is one of a few actors of Pakistan who claimed their fame from films. Unlike his fellow artists, who first established them from television and then came into films when film industry started to revive again after a long hiatus, Ashraf is the only one who enjoys the status of a film star at the moment.
Apart from his acting skills, he also possesses a distinct style whether they are his dimples appears with his full smile or his physique for which he is always very concerned about. Recently he got the Hum Style award for ‘Most Stylish Actor film –Male’ award.
Before coming into acting, Bilal Ashraf worked as visual
effects director. He pursued his career in acting with a brief appearance in
the 2014 thriller O21. He then starred in the commercially successful romantic drama
Janaan (2016), the acclaimed war eulogy Yalghaar (2017) and the blockbuster
musical romance Superstar (2019).
This star with pleasant personality and amicable gestures talked to Daily Paperazzi and opened his heart out about many things which are dear to him professionally and personally.
What do you think you get this style award for; the
charming dimples or your proper physique?
I think dimples are natural. My parents should be credited
for them more. As far as my physique is concerned, I was a fitness freak from
my childhood which I always try to maintain.
Did you have any idea of getting this award?
No. I didn’t have any idea of this. In fact I was curious and
doubtful about what if I don’t get the award. I am truly thankful and humbled for
all those who voted for me and made it possible.
What is style for you?
To me style is one’s personal statement. It is whatever one is comfortable with or in. Some people like dressing up a lot while some wants to look very casual to seem natural. I think whatever you have and carry it off makes your complete style statement.
A lot of controversy has been created after the event of Hum Style Awards 2021. What do you say?
I think the social media has created a lot of controversy
around the event. Before this people didn’t have any platform to give their
opinion (good or bad) on certain things. I believe that everyone keeps a right
to comment (like or dislike) on anything but it should always be thoughtful enough
that a comment (positive or negative) have an impact on others. Some people are
very strong mentally while others we don’t know are going through a lot of
problems. They get adverse effects from these comments which can lead to the
mental disorders. Everyone has a journey and struggle with them and have a family
and loved ones behind. So please next time criticize constructively like on
their work and professional being, and do positive comments as well not always
The clothing of female actors and models participated in
the show were also criticized negatively. How would you defy it?
They were style awards where everyone had their own style statements. The same people who are criticizing our celebrities’ clothing, when watch a Hollywood or Bollywood stars as same, in a movie or show, appreciate them. They accept their own stars in desi attires but if any of star has worn something with her will and any designer has given his/her style statement, out-rightly reject them. Don’t take anything personally and if someone is wearing something by his/her will, then please have some courage to accept it. We shouldn’t have double standards and need to be a little careful about that.
Your couple with Maya Ali has become very popular among
fans though you both have done a very little work together. Is this a teaser
for any big thing happening in future?
Oh. The reality is that Maya and I are very good
friends. I have a great respect for her. We discuss a lot about work
together. It is true that we have done a very little work together like just a music
video and fashion shoot but I wish to do a big project with Maya and learn from
her. She is a very hardworking individual and a powerful performer. Whatever
project she comes in, it shines.
You have come a bit late in films. Why?
I never wanted to be an actor. I have said it before that I have
not come in this field to become a typical hero and to compete with others.
Actually film making was a dream of my late sister Sadia but film industry was very
limited at that time in Pakistan. Unfortunately she lost her life battling
with cancer. So I am here to fulfil the dream of my sister; the film making.
Whenever I am acting, I feel her around me.
So now you have joined the field of acting; where do you
find yourself standing?
I think we have already very fantastic actors as heroes in our industry. If I have been successful to make some name and fame among them, I feel humble. Now, I will constantly remain standing here till the end to accomplish the dream of my sister.
Cinemas are closed because of Covid and film making is also
at standard still. So what alternates you find for acting?
I think it’s time to move towards television dramas. Finally!
I think I am the only actor in Pakistan who has just worked in films. When
I go abroad, people came for selfies not with Bilal Ashraf but Pakistani
cinema. That was a great feeling. But I believe that television is a great
platform to learn. You continue to learn in acting as it is a very vast field.
So I would love to work in dramas and television and improve my skills by learning
more about the trait from the bests in the business. So yes television is next.
How is the journey from Janaan to Superstar, after which when
you are literally called the super star of Pakistan?
Honestly speaking, I still don’t consider myself a star. I
am an actor who is doing his job and stardom is part of that job. I believe one
should accept this fame gracefully as it is a whole baggage where positive and
negative comments from people come at the same time.
As far as my journey is concerned, I did Janaan as a
fun experience. I had never thought it would be a hit. The second one
Rangreza though was a flop but it actually was an eye opener, as you learn more
from a failure than success in life. I think a good film is team work
which comprised of its producers, director, and actors.
After Rangreza, I revisited the acting. I went to UK and inducted myself in some acting courses there. I became more careful in choosing scripts then. Finally I was lucky to have found the ideal producer Momina Duraid, best director Muhammad Ehteshamuddin and wonderful co-star Mahira Khan for Superstar. Moreover, Momina Bhabi and Ehtesham Bhai also asked me to have some acting courses in NAPA where I really learned a lot. I was the same Bilal but the difference was that I had a very professional team with me. I actually enjoyed this journey.
You have worked with almost all female film actors of
Pakistan. Who you wish to work with in Hollywood or Bollywood?
I really admire Sophia Lauren, though she is much senior and
not working in films anymore. I also have a dream to work with Maryl Streep.
What are your plans now exactly?
I think films, television and Web series all are in
pipeline. Moreover, I am producing many things as well. I would like to
mention here that I have launched a production company/production house ‘Beehive
Transmedia’ with my mentor (and captain as I call him) Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, for
which I am really thankful to him. We work on commercials and feature films,
concepts and scripts. It is a one stop creative shop.
Do you believe in dreams?
One thing I would must mention here that believe in your
dreams because if you hold it in your head, you can hold it in your hands.
Don’t lose believing in you even if something seems impossible because nothing
is impossible. Keep on striving for the best.