Updated: March 5, 2014 10:16:00 am
Most films that touch upon the discord between India and Pakistan tend to be jingoistic, mostly focussing on the tension between the armies of the two countries at the border. “In contrast, Total Siyappa is a funny take on how the common man in both countries views people from across the border,” said actor Ali Zafar at the Screen Preview of his upcoming film. The Pakistani artiste was at Express Towers, Nariman Point, on February 26 along with Yami Gautam, his leading lady in the film.
Talking about Total Siyappa, which releases this Friday, Gautam called the film a cross-border love story with a healthy dose of humour. While she plays a Punjabi girl, Asha, Zafar plays Aman, a boy from Pakistan whom she wants to marry. She soon takes him home to meet her parents. “And that’s where the humour stems from; the family’s reactions to me, and my reactions to their views,” explained the Pakistani musician-actor, who started his Hindi film career with Tere Bin Laden in 2010 and has since done London Paris New York and Chashme Baddoor.
For Gautam, on the other hand, Total Siyappa is the second film after her critically acclaimed big screen debut in 2012 with Vicky Donor, opposite Ayushmann Khurrana. Explaining her absence from Bollywood, Gautam said she didn’t want to milk the success of her debut — the films that came her way were mostly similar to her first film — instead she chose to wait for the right script.
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The two actors seemed at ease together at the Screen Preview, giving a glimpse into their chemistry that is also visible in Total Siyappa’s promos. When asked if there were any preconceived notions about working with Pakistanis that Zafar helped dismiss, Gautam used it as an opportunity to jest with her co-actor, saying, “It made me realise that Pakistani women are very beautiful.” To this, Zafar quickly ran his fingers through his hair and said, “If that was Yami’s conclusion, I must consider doing away with the pony tail I have been recently sporting.”
This instance also had the audience asking Zafar if comedies are his forte to which he said that while they are his strong point, he wants to experiment with more genres. “Shaad Ali’s next, Kill Dill, is an action drama and my role has no comic streaks, which I am glad for. While comedy has worked in my favour till now, I’m a very different person off screen and would like to tap into that side of me,” said Zafar.
On the subject of comedy, both Gautam and Zafar were keen to clarify that while Total Siyappa is a humorous take on the Indo-Pak tension, it is far from being slapstick. Said Gautam, “The reason that we came on board is that the script is a laugh riot where the characters make fun of one another but it’s all in good spirit and doesn’t offend either Indians or Pakistanis.”
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