Ali Zafar is beaming these days. He’s just been awarded the Pride of Performance, one of Pakistan’s highest civil honours.
A popular singer, who’s remained a youth icon for a long time, Zafar is also the country’s first major star to cross over to Bollywood — he acted in a number of Hindi movies between 2008 and 2016, working with covetous banners like YashRaj and Karan Johar’s Dharma. Back home, he added another string to his bow when he directed one of 2018’s biggest blockbusters, ‘Teefa in Trouble’.
Ironically, the movie made more money at the local box office than the year’s other, far bigger release, the Ranbir Kapoor-led ‘Sanjay’; and that too, despite a serious scandal of harassment that had just surfaced, involving his music colleague, Meesha Shafi, which was actually suspected to harm the movie’s collections.
Where ‘Teefa in Trouble’ proved to be a winner in all respects — it scooped all the major awards at LUX Style Awards the following year, including the Best Actor trophy for Zafar, even though the event had been boycotted by a couple of female models as a show of solidarity for those who had accused Zafar of misconduct — the Meray Brother Ki Dulhan star fought what looked more like a social-media propelled smear campaign, in the court of law. He also became attached with different philanthropic causes, chiefly to do with the education of underprivileged children.
He’s been active as a musician too, lockdown or no lockdown. He recently recorded the OST of an upcoming TV play, ‘Mushk’. On August 14, he came out with a motivational video, ‘Kaam kaam kaam’ (Work, work, work), to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day.
After he was declared the winner of the Pride of Performance, Zafar took to social media to express his gratitude. He wrote: “Deeply honoured… I bow down in humility & gratitude to God, forever indebted to my fans and supporters.”