The Pakistani Prince of Pop is certainly making a name for himself across the border in Bollywood. After making a lot of positive noise in his film debut in Tere Bin Laden before moving on to Luv Ka The End and Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, the actor-composer-singer-painter-model that is Ali Zafar hopes international audiences will take a liking to his talents later this week, as London Paris New York hits theaters across North America on March 2nd. Mr. Zafar, a self-professed Frank Sinatra idol, talks about doing what is rarely done in Bollwood films nowadays: actors singing their own songs. Indeed, both Mr. Zafar and Ms. Hydari belt their own tunes in London Paris New York. Beyond that, Mr. Zafar also chats about international film shoots and, yes, about Mickey Blue Eyes.
Parimal M. Rohit: How did London Paris New York come about, and what attracted you to the story?
Ali Zafar: My manager and I met with the director, Anu Menon, and executives from Rose Movies to discuss the project. I loved the script and the story, so was sold on doing the film. The fact that it's set in three parts, filmed in three wonderful cities, and covers three chapters in the lead characters’ lives makes it a unique and special film.
PMR: What was your thinking behind the musical soundtrack?
AZ: I wanted to create sounds that are fresh, and since the film touches on different emotions, I could experiment with genres. I used Pop Romance in London, Electronic Sufi in Paris, and Blues Rap in New York, all blended in with a true Bollywood style. What is even more unique is that it features Aditi, and I singing our own songs on the (Original Soundtrack).
PMR: Were you clicking pictures most of the time on the sets, or romancing Aditi?
AZ: Both. She has a very interesting and photogenic face. She was also getting herself photographed. Aditi has given me a new tag, and I will have to live with it forever.
PMR: What is special about London Paris New York?
AZ: There are a lot of unique things about the film. It is a Hatke love story with a lot of romance and great music. Our experience from the film, I believe, is different from those who have done similar films in the past. The characters are different. The story is different. This is our way of telling a love story of today's time and age. We have made a nice, cute film. We know our targets, and hopefully the audience will appreciate the film.
PMR: What was it like filming in London, Paris, and New York?
AZ: Well, the three cities have a story written on all their walls. At some places, I would just wish I could put my easel down and start painting those streets. They are an artist's paradise.
PMR: How do you think your music and acting will be received?
AZ: I hope people like my acting and music. Right now, I only want to sing for my own films where I play the lead. At a later stage, I may consider composing and singing for films where I’m not on screen.
PMR: Will you be working with Katrina Kaif on your next music album?
AZ: I won’t start recording my album for at least two years. As for Katrina’s involvement on my album, I don’t know where that news came from. We jammed together during our last film. We love music and discussed a possibility of recording together, but there is nothing planned. Both Aditi and Katrina are really dear to me. They’re musically inclined and talented girls. If they are willing to be part of my album a few years later, it will be my pleasure to have them on board.
PMR: Who are your musical idols?
AZ: It is a big compliment for me when people compare me to Kishore Kumar, because he is one man who I always look up to. He was so talented that I cannot dare to stand any closer to him. He was somebody who used to sing and act. Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra -- these are the people whom I idolize a lot. They have done movies and they used to sing songs. I just hope, in my small way, I can be somewhere close to these big names.
PMR: Do you have a message for your U.S. fans?
AZ: I had a great time shooting some of London Paris New York in New York. I would love for the American fans to see the film, as they will really relate to it and love it.
Fox Star Studios' 'London Paris New York' is released in theaters in India on March 2, 2012.