Amid allegations of sexual harassment, Pakistani singer-actor Ali Zafar says he would like to stay away from films or songs that involve objectification of women.
Ali refused to comment on the ongoing legal battle with singer Meesha Shafi, who accused him of sexual harassment in April on social media, as the “matter is subjudice”.
But he did share his thoughts on the trend of item numbers in the entertainment industry.
“It depends on how it is done. Freedom of expression is something that we have. We should have the right to have that but how we use it, is very important. If it doesn’t demean a woman or objectify women and is done in an entertaining manner, I don’t see any harm in that,” Ali told IANS in a telephonic interview from Lahore.
If done distastefully, he said: “I would personally stay away from it.”
He did sing and feature in the video of the song “Item number”, released by Junglee Music. It is not like the usual item numbers — that are often sexually provocative dance sequences in movies.
Asked if his song takes a dig at Bollywood films, Ali, who has starred in Indian films like “Tere Bin Laden” and “Mere Brother Ki Dulhan“, said: “No, it’s not that. There is this interesting debate going on … whether an item number needs to be there in a film for the film to work or not.
“There are some people who are more towards that kind of cinema which is more realistic. They say their films should not have an item number and there are others in the commercial world. They say there should be item numbers in films and there is nothing wrong with it. This (Item number) is our take on the whole conversation,” he added.
The song is part of his forthcoming film “Teefa In Trouble” — his debut film in Pakistani cinema. The romantic action comedy film will hit the screens in about 25 countries, including Russia, on July 20.
Apart from acting and singing, he has also co-produced and co-written the film that will show Maya Ali romancing him on-screen.
Why did he leave the duties of a director, didn’t he feel like directing the film himself?
“No. The director (Ahsan Rahim) that we have, I would rate him as the best that we have here. Everything is a specialised job. I would love to direct someday but giving yourself in the hands of somebody who knows the craft and I can trust… I have faith in him. What he has done in the film is absolutely amazing,” said Ali.
He has teamed up with Yash Raj Films for the international theatrical distribution of his home production.