Success affects different people differently. It takes some to cloud nine while humbles the others no end. Imran Abbas falls in the latter bracket. Watching his (classical) epic serial Umrao Jan Ada was truly an exhilarating experience where he was highly appreciated for his classical understanding, perfect dialogue delivery and above all a clear enunciation. Imran works with a passion and his minute detailing is simply laudable. About the models, many times, it's said that they couldn't possibly make it when it comes to acting but Imran sets a perfect example of a graceful transition and the vertical graph of his not-so-long career speaks volumes of his quirky talent. With Umrao hitting the bull's eye, you seem to be the flavour of the year. How are you preparing yourself to deal with the new challenges?
Opportunities come once in a life time. I think I'm going on the right track by selecting right type of work and lining up all of those projects one by one in order to do one shoot at a time with more concentration. I don't think that I'm doing too much of work because there are a number of channels and different air timings which distributes viewership accordingly. The scenario is quite different from what we used to see even few years back when there were only two or three channels.
Reams of newsprint spent over the romantic scenes of your serial that has become quite controversial as it had happened first time on tube?
First of all Umrao Jaan was aired through Geo which is available on satellite and cable. Don't people watch other international channels on the same TV set? It was prepared in order to provide entertainment to classic at the same time introducing our new generation to our past. Classical dance and classical music part of our culture which can't be disowned by critics. Our drama was rehashed and dramatised exactly according to what was written in the novel keeping in mind its true literal essence .I strongly refute the allegation of being over bold and crossing the limit. Have you ever got a chance to watch our Pakistani films and commercial stage shows where everything is shown in extremely obscene and vulgar manner in the name of art? We didn't glorify the image of a prostitute but depicted the grandour of that classic character. The character of a prostitute cannot be erased from our society. I am proud to be the part of such a brave team who tempered against the tempest of allegations and meaningless objections and did a great job.How challenging was it to perform?
With every single moment in acting field I feel I'm learning and learning….It was very challenging because I had to prove myself among the top artists of Pakistan who were part of that venture. Umrao was an epic and a project which can be taken as an instance in many contexts. I'm honoured to have been the main character in such a brilliant project which will be always remembered when history of drama making in Pakistan will be written. But I still think that I could perform better....When it comes to adulation and appreciation, you seem to have achieved maximum from the play. Do you feel vindicated sometimes?
Criticism is the easiest thing in this world to do, especially in our country. Those who don't have any ability to do anything themselves the only thing they do is criticise, rather negative criticism. As far as my role is concerned that was just a character which I had to portray as I was told. It was beautifully written and marvellously dramatised. Those who criticise this character and those bold scenes did watch it regularly.
Is there a difference between the offers that are coming in and the plays of the past?
I feel myself lucky that the work I have done so far is what people always dreamed of. For instance I worked with Haseena Moeen, Zohra Nigah, M.Ahmad and Sultana Siddiqui and Rana Sheikh. I got the best projects ever since I started doing acting and modelling. People have started taking Imran, a model, seriously as an actor. Even now I'm not wasting myself in any second rated project in the market. My coming projects are not only written by some great writers like Anwar Maqsood, Noor-ul-Huda Shah, Muhammad Ahmad etc but also directed by the best directors in town and locations also varies from Moenjodero and Up-north to Italy, London and Amererica. Do you find it difficult to say no to projects that come your way?
Initially I was very bad at saying "No" but now I have my own tactics and learned how to play the game. It's the image which suffers at the end of the day....It's a strange world, if I ever work with any mediocre director or in any below average production I'll be out of the good books of people who are genuinely doing quality work and I'll keep getting the same type of stuff.Do you think of Ahmad Butt, Mikaal, Asad Ahmad, Nomi, as competitions?
As models they are doing a good job. It's good that people have a choice now. Honestly, I haven't seen them acting, except a sitcom of Ahmad I didn't get a chance to see their work, that's why I cant comment on it much. I think more people should join this field in order to have healthy competition which is not there so far.
How differently is stardom treating you today?
I feel myself a beginner in acting at this stage, still it's a long way to go. I enjoy every minute in this field of glitz and glamour and handle every situation professionally. Most of the models see films as the only way to vertical graph. But you seem to be least interested in movies?
Silver screen has its own magic but unfortunately in our industry writers are not writing roles for young lot and even if they write the characters they cast wrong people for that …If I find any role which suits my personality and directed by any educated director with enough understanding of film making, I won't mind doing a film.Is it a fact that your laid-back attitude towards movies is due to the reason that you are making a lot more money as a model?
Hope you are not from Excise and Taxation Department. Well I pay my taxes regularly, do you want to see the record? (Hahaha). It is subjected to the type of film and team making that venture. It's not a matter of making money. Even if I get oodles of money, I can't ruin my image by working in any cheap production made by illiterate directors or so called "creative people" who bring out worst of their talent when we see any high-hyped and long awaited product on silver screen.Does the success or failure of your projects affect you?
Failure or success is very unpredictable. Nobody can speculate about the fate of any product, which he/she makes. In showbiz you don't have any formula for success..A great production can be a flop and a bad project can be a hit…so we as a model/actor can just do the best in our capacity and leave it to God, that's what I do. You are working in a number of projects at the same time. How is it possible to maintain the same level of enthusiasm?
Obviously the level of enthusiasm declines with the passage of time. I don't get excited for any shoot now as I used to be three and a half years back. At times I don't even know when my drama or ad is being aired and where my shoot is published…However even now every project, I work in, I find my own reasons to keep myself motivated it can be either the role, the team, director or even the location.How diverse is acting from modelling .Don't you think that the model in you will take over the actor in you, sometimes?
Diversity is not a bad trait and I don't think that my modelling is getting affected by acting or vice versa. The prerequisites of modelling and acting are not the same in modelling you need to be good looking with tons of confidence and attitude but acting needs something more i.e brains, your body language, and dialogue delivery and along with those three ingredients required for modelling that's why my modelling supplements my acting instead of negating the actor inside me.
How did your family react when you decided to get into the glamourbiz?
They always gave me a free hand to do anything in life. My parents only wanted me to complete my education, and I am thankful to God that I completed my Architecture with flying colours. Now they only get upset when I don't give time to my family.Many people think that you have changed after success and that you have become very high handed?
Really??? ….. Actually I have my own reservations…can't say yes to every project because of the fact that lots of crappy stuff is also in making…There is a difference between getting high handed and becoming selective. If people think that I quote high price they are badly mistaken .I do it in order to keep low cost productions at bay.