‘Fawad wants to take my place as president of the bank in a fictional country.’
‘That way I got to tell one of the most talented actors in Pakistan what to do all the time.’
‘I enjoyed that.’
IMAGE: Shaniera Akram and Wasim Akram in Money Back Guarantee.
We know him as the ‘Sultan of Swing’.
His perfect yorkers castled the stumps of many a batsman to win the battle between the willow and the cherry for Pakistan on several occasions.
Now, we will see Wasim Akram in a new role in a different field.
His first film as an actor, Money Back Guarantee, opens in theatres on Eid, April 21. India, unfortunately, can watch the film only when it releases on OTT later on.
Along with Wasim, the dark comedy also features his wife Shaniera Akram, who makes her acting debut as Bella, a reporter determined to get to the truth.
In a Zoom chat from Australia, the husband-wife duo take Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharyathrough this exciting journey.
Quiz them on what kind of a film they want to do next and Shaniera quips, “He would be good in an action film.”
Wasim, who turns 57 on June 3, admits, “I would have to train very hard, but I would like to do a little action at some stage in my life before I grow too old.”
Wasim, you play Fawad Khan’s nemesis in Money Back Guarantee, right?
Wasim (Chuckles): Yes, and it was great fun working with the biggest superstar of Pakistan and bossing him around all the way.
Shaniera (Looks surprised): I didn’t know you were his nemesis.
Wasim: Well, Fawad plays the manager who wants to take my place as president of the bank in a fictional country.
(Grins) That way I got to tell one of the most talented actors in Pakistan what to do all the time.
I enjoyed that.
Shaniera: Fawad is an incredible actor, I’ve never seen someone get into character so completely. Then, as soon as the camera is switched off, he would be someone else, totally different, just like that!
I have a few scenes with him and I had butterflies in my stomach when we were filming them.
He’s someone I’ve been watching for years.
Wasim: Actually, every actor in the film is a superstar.
Shaniera: Yes, Faisal (Qureshi, Director) himself is a star who has created a new kind of film, a film everyone, from any walk of life, can watch and still get it.
He’s taken Pakistani cinema where it has never gone before.
IMAGE: Wasim Akram in Money Back Guarantee.
The film revolves around seven people who plan a heist as a kind of revenge against the government for robbing them of their money and rights.
Wasim: Yeah, it’s about a heist and a lot of people after watching just the trailer… actually the teaser… decided that it is a copy of Money Heist. It’s not.
Money Back Guarantee is a comedy with a message.
Fasial, who has also written the film, is known for his sense of humour.
I would rather people watch the film first before passing comments on it.
Money Back Guarantee is not just a dark comedy but also a political satire. Given the situation in the world today, with people quick to take offense, any apprehension that it could trigger a controversy?
Wasim: I don’t think so, the film has a message which is very positive.
Shaniera: At the end of the day, it is cinema.
A movie that takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you think out-of-the-box, we need more of those.
Wasim: I used to think that social media would enhance knowledge and love, but unfortunately, the opposite is true these days.
Maybe because social media has given people a voice.
Shaniera: In a way, that’s good. People should have a voice. But they must use it a little more positively and be a little less sensitive.
Wasim: Yes, you only live once, so, even if you are upset, forget it by the next morning. Don’t let it linger all day, all week, for months.
IMAGE: Fawad Khan in Money Back Guarantee.
How did you come to do a film after all these years?
Wasim: I had done a commercial with Faisal for a mobile phone company seven-eight years ago.
He called me one day suddenly and informed me that he was making a feature film.
Even as I was congratulating him, he surprised me by saying he had a role for me and sketched it out.
(Laughs) I tried telling him I couldn’t act, but Faisal confidently waved away all my doubts.
Shaniera: He then sounded me out, suggested we do the film together.
I found the script interesting and that’s how I jumped on board this Shayan Khan production.
What kind of films would you like to do next?
Shaniera (Turning to look at Wasim): He would be good in an action film.
Wasim (Nodding): I would have to train very hard, but yes, I would like to do a little action at some stage in my life, before I grow too old.