'Unlike other brothers, Asif Ali and I don’t interact on a regular basis'
...says Askar Ali as he talks about his character in Jeem Boom Bhaa, his relationship with elder
brother Asif Ali, and why he prefers taking some time before signing a new film
Debutant Rahul Ramachandran’s Jeem Boom Bhaa is all set to release this Friday. The film, which is being touted as a comic thriller that takes place over the course of a single night, has actors Askar Ali, Aneesh Gopal, and Baiju playing the main characters, in addition to a host of newcomers.
Askar tells us that the film is an entertainer intended to please families and youngsters. “It’s not something that is too serious or message-driven. There is a fun vibe throughout, with multiple characters crossing paths with each other. My character is different from the silent characters I played in my last two films. This one is relatively smarter and cooler.”
Before making his acting debut with Honey Bee 2.5, Askar worked as an assistant director in Tamil cinema. However, he has no directing plans as of now. “When I see the energy and talent of someone like Rahul Ramachandran, I ask myself if I would be capable of directing a film. It’s a job that requires a huge reserve of patience and knowledge. I entered films with the intention of being an actor. I took up assistant director jobs in the hope of fetching a role some day. I was expecting to find some opportunities in Tamil cinema and that’s when Honey Bee 2.5 happened.”
It’s worth noting that both Askar and elder brother Asif Ali managed to get into cinema despite not hailing from a cinema family. It was Asif who first got the opportunity, followed by Askar much later. Their parents showed no objection to their choice of career, says Askar. “They didn’t mind. They just wanted us to do well in whatever profession we picked and hold on to it. It’s not so easy to be a part of cinema. It takes a lot of effort from your part to survive in such a competitive industry. But at least our parents are relieved that we have reached somewhere.”
Despite being brothers, Askar admits that he shares a unique bond with Asif. “Unlike other brothers, we don’t interact on a regular basis. We only communicate occasionally. We don’t have the habit of sharing each and every detail about our lives. We are not like those brothers who always hang out with each other and have a jolly good time. It has always been that way since childhood. That’s how our personalities are. With the exception of one or two instances where he offered me some advice, there has been no interference from him or vice versa.”
Askar reveals that Asif came to know about Honey Bee 2.5 only after he called him and told him that he had agreed to be a part of it. “I usually tell him about the project I’m about to do next on the day before it starts filming,” he says.
Asked about his future projects, Askar says he is very selective and not in a rush to sign the next film. “I’m also quite lazy (laughs). I usually take some time between projects. My last film Kamuki happened a year ago. After I’ve completed my work in a film, I get myself involved throughout the entire production process. I really enjoy watching the post-production work — sound mixing, colouring, effects... I find all that very exciting. I guess it has to do with the fact that I was an assistant director before. I can’t say for sure if I might be able to invest time this way in the future. Right now, I have the time to put my entire focus on just a single project because I don’t have many projects lined up. I don’t think I have the ability to divide my focus between multiple projects at the same time. It’s too much pressure.”