or Imran Ashraf, the character of Bhola from Ranjha Ranjha Kardi changed the way the viewers looked at him and since then he has been wreaking havoc for his competition. Photo: File
Every actor thrives for that one character that would become his identity, and spiral him into the A list of actors in no time. For Imran Ashraf, the character of Bhola from Ranjha Ranjha Kardi changed the way the viewers looked at him and since then he has been wreaking havoc for his competition. In the two years since he played Bhola, Imran Ashraf has delivered so many different characters that his fans have lost count.
But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the young actor who has achieved stardom after struggling for most of his career. Born in 1989, Imran Ashraf began his career in 2009 when Pakistani dramas were trying hard to rid themselves of the Star Plus influence. For the first five years, Imran Ashraf was cast in supporting characters, until he decided to make use of every opportunity to move ahead. He made his presence felt with minor roles of a cable guy in Mohabbat Aag Si and in Gul-e-Rana where he played the title character’s caring cousin, Ashar.
It was these two characters and the experience of his earlier work that came in handy when Humayun Saeed was looking for a sidekick in Dil Lagi. Imran Ashraf filled in for the actor who left the role on the eve of the shoot and made Dastagir his own. He played second fiddle to the veteran actor but his performance was so impactful that he ended up winning his first award for Best Supporting Actor. From there onwards, his rise began, and nothing could stop Imran Ashraf from making it big. Not only was he signing good projects, but he was also making a name for himself with every new character.
It was the post-Dil Lagi period that brought a huge change in Imran Ashraf; he became more diverse in choosing dramas than any other actor around, besides Faisal Qureshi. He played a hoodlum in Ishq Nachaya, and followed it with Khuda Mera Bhi Hai where he was part of the family in which an intersex child was born. However, it was the role of a transgender named Shammu, in Alif Allah Aur Insaan, who went on to become a hairstylist that earned Imran Ashraf his second award, as a Best Supporting Actor. It was his brilliant portrayal of the third gender that helped him stand out in the ensemble cast that comprised of Mikaal Zulfiqar, Ushna Shah, Kubra Khan, Shehzad Sheikh, and Sana Fakhar.
Similarly, he made his presence felt in Toh Dil Ka Kia Hua where he shared the screen with Ayeza Khan, Sami Khan, Zahid Ahmed, Mansha Pasha, and others. With the rise of 2018, the audience saw a different side of Imran Ashraf as the writer who penned Tabeer for Aehsun Talish and played a character that dies at the start of the play. Through Tabeer, the audience saw a different side of Imran Ashraf, one who wrote powerful lines for his fellow actors and kept his act to a minimum. It was this gesture that he repeated in Mushk as well, where every other actor did justice to their character for everyone was given the margin to perform.
The year 2018 was when Imran Ashraf finally entered the big league; he delivered back-to-back hits for separate channels under the guidance of Kashif Nisar. The first drama Laskhara reunited him with Ushna Shah after Alif Allah Aur Insaan, while in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, he gave the performance of his lifetime as Bhola. Not only did he play a mentally challenged character, but he also made it the most popular character by adlibbing dialogues that went on to become memes on Social media. Think of Bhola and you will think of Haye Haye Mazay and Main Hoon Aur Mera Saath Bhi Main Hoon to name a few. He not only formed a romantic pair with Iqra Aziz but also took home every award that year, such was his performance’s impact on the viewers.
The most important aspect of Imran Ashraf’s acting is that he fits more into the category of actors who worked their way up, instead of depending on social media and interviews. Like legendary actors Abid Ali, Rahat Kazmi and Qavi Khan, he gives more importance to his get-up and mannerisms as opposed to looking good, and that’s one of the reasons why he was chosen for Bhola. His expressions seemed natural, his movements fit the character and he was able to keep the spotlight on his character, without even trying.
It was Imran’s good luck that Dil Mom Ka Diya came before Ranjha Ranjha Kardi otherwise he would have been stuck in the supporting characters he was playing; Bhola sent him into the A league, and he hasn’t left since. He followed the comical Bhola with the sinister Rehan Chaudhary in Inkaar where he made life miserable for the characters played by Sami Khan and Yumna Zaidi, stabbing the latter on her wedding night in a rage. In fact, the viewers hated Rehan Chaudhary as much as they loved Bhola before him, and were glad that he was convicted for his crimes in the end.
After Rehan Chaudhry came two ‘super heroes’ – Adam and Moosa. What if they didn’t wear capes and were selfless individuals who would give their life to what they believed in. By agreeing to get engaged to an already married Mehak so that as Moosa in Mushk, he can search for her real husband, or by leaving everything aside in Raqs e Bismil just because his ideal girl wanted his Moosa to leave her, he gave an entirely new meaning to romance. In both the dramas, he got what he desired, but not after showing his heroic side that was ready to take up arms to do the right thing if necessary.
Last week, Imran Ashraf surprised his fans by appearing in a music video with the beautiful Sadia Khan, stealing the hearts of their fans in Soch The Band’s Tera Deewana. For an actor riding high, appearing in a music video is a step-down but Imran Ashraf doesn’t care, for he has worked his way up from humble beginnings. His appearance added value to the song and one hopes that soon, Imran Ashraf could be filming a song of his own, in a movie perhaps. After all, his debut flick Dum Mastam is all set for a release where he is paired opposite Amar Khan and plays an upcoming singer who wants to make it big in the real world.