Actor sat down to talk about working in the holy month, navigating domestic life and more

Pakistani actor, musician, and comedian Ali Safina recently appeared as a guest on The Rafay Mahmood Podcast, where he delved into various aspects of his career and personal life. Safina, known for his versatile performances, discussed his experiences with Ramazan dramas and transmissions, the pitfalls of Pakistan’s music industry and the key to a happy married life.

Safina, who is gracing the screen this Ramazan in the romantic comedy series Very Filmy, reflected on the demanding nature of drama shoots in the month of fasting. He shed light on the rigourous schedule actors and crew members endure during the production process and said, “Our Ramazan shoots are very fun. Normally, people find some relaxation in their official 9 to 5 working hours. For actors and crew, unfortunately, there is no such relaxation.”

Ramazan dramas, transmissions 

He further described the season of festivity and work and added, “Usually, it’s because of our Ramazan show that we are working on and typically we start filming for it two months before Ramazan. Towards the end, it’s more about the final touches, there’s an episode going on air every day.”

Stemming partly from the stigma of performing arts, a common misperception exists that those in showbiz have a lax attitude towards religious obligations. Speaking from experience, Safina pointed out, “As for worship, I think we observe religious rituals more consciously than many since we are always under scrutiny.”

Regarding the criticism often levelled against Ramazan transmissions for being more about consumerism than spirituality, the 40-year-old offered a nuanced perspective. “You are gathering a large crowd, it takes money and effort,” he remarked. “The spirituality and the blessings, they come from God.”

 

He furthered on, “You look at the dastarkhwan (tablecloth) or when people take home things they win. If a bike is going to someone’s home, why is the 25 crore population bothered by that? What kind of spirituality do you want? For spirits to descend from the sky?”

The Fairy Tale actor went on to address his decision to decline hosting Ramazan transmissions despite yearly offers, expressing his concern about public perception. “Every year I am offered a Ramazan transmission, and I was offered to host this year too,” he revealed. “In my head, I am always dealing with the dilemma that I am involved in so many kinds of projects. If I agree to host, what will the public say about me?”

‘Happy wife, happy life’

Safina, who married fashion entrepreneur, actor and DJ, Hina Tareen back in 2013, disclosed the key to his happy marriage in the entertainment industry, often deemed a tough place for lasting love. “Happy wife, happy life. I have heard this adage from my elders,” he quipped. “Behind every successful man is a woman. Respect is crucial in every relationship.”

Highlighting the importance of communication and time investment in marital harmony, Safina emphasised the need for male role models who openly discuss their domestic lives. “We have very few male role models because they don’t talk about their domestic lives,” he observed. “In our society, it is a common perception that men should not pay attention to their homes. So, I feel that if my marriage is going well and we are happy, it’s because we give time. When we encounter an issue, we take the time to resolve it.”

Crises of Pakistan’s music industry

The RJ-turned-actor also delved into the longstanding issues preventing the country’s music industry from sustainably flourishing. Like everyone else, Safina recalled how he grew up listening to his favourite music primarily via pirated cassettes and declared the vast market of unauthorised music buying and selling as one reason why the industry could not take hold in Pakistan.

Underlining the meagre amounts that would be paid as royalties across Pakistan, he said, “Artists back then decided that they did not want any royalties because they were useless. So they insisted that this structure was abolished and they must be paid a lump sum single payment. The naive artists didn’t account for inflation, demonitisation and that, in the long run, this would cause them collateral damage.”

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