‘Lekin hum toh khokle hain na baaji. Na bhalaa kya bighara hum ne Allah ka…jo jism bhi nazuk, uss mein dil bhi nazuk rakh diya, kyun kya bighara?” – Shammo expresses to his mother
Imran Ashraf is one of those gems you unearth and wonder where in the world they’ve been hiding. While the actor has countlessly displayed his impeccable acting and sparkling versatility, be it as the kind Ashar on ‘Gul-e-Rana’ or the feisty and loyal sidekick Dastagir on ‘Dil Lagi,’ Imran has unfailingly proven himself as an incredibly fine, fine actor. He’s currently on ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan,’ a story exhaling unrequited love, with an underlying karma-esque emphasis on fate in the supreme divine crafting the protagonists’ lives. And while the drama does have its considerable flaws, by far its most profound strength lies with Shammo – the heart of the entire drama, and honestly the only thing keeping an otherwise sinking ship afloat.
Imran plays Shammo, a transgender with a heart so pure, it’s both heart-wrenching and awe-inspiring to watch him
Shammo’s presence in the very first episode of ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’ was utterly captivating and magnificent. While all protagonists were introduced at equal measure, it was Shammo who shone gloriously so.
Shammo’s personality is bewitching, and Imran’s overt depiction of a transgender who relishes in song and dance, with a heart strapped incredibly precariously on his sleeve is simply outstanding
It can’t be easy, playing a transgender so delicate, so mushy and so pappy – yet crafted with such a profound set of bones. Imran Ashraf is one of the very few actors I’ve seen who has honestly given everything to his character.
One of his most Oscar-worthy scenes is the string of emotions Shammo goes through when he is undergoing a transformation to ‘fit’
In order to seem more ‘professional,’ Shammo entirely changes, and the montage of crisp and raw facial expressions he vividly portrays is tearjerking. Why? Well, because it isn’t him but he has no choice really. He is being made to conform to the norms of a belittling and suffocating society where you cannot be yourself. And all the while, we see Shammo’s delicate face mold through confusion, shock, dismay, nervousness, and finally, acceptance.
He isn’t entirely alone, what with an adoring mother and his ustaad, both who openly accept his soul exactly the way it has been entwined
It isn’t easy being alone in the big city, far from the ones you hold so dear. However, Shammo has two hefty backbones that give him foundation. His relationship with his mother too is dazzling; they love one another so much, and it’s a rare kind of love – a selfless one.
He implodes with love for Rani – so much so that he leaves his days of dancing behind him for her
The first few episodes of ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’ really delved in deep into Shammo’s struggle to start fresh; with an entirely clean slate. He’s shown kindness by a local barber who takes him in; fast forward a few years and you see an entirely new Shammo. And although it breaks his mother’s heart, Shammo wants to be something more than a dancer – something grander.
Shammo isn’t all tenderness – there is also a commendable confidence to him and it’s so tragic that the drama haven’t given more to him
Shammo shows incredible resilience, ripping apart hurdles and climbing mountains so terrifyingly high, it makes you long for his strength. While the drama has unraveled quite a few flaws and slowness, what remains true is Shammo’s character – it’s such a shame that the writers haven’t given more screen space to the most breathtaking character on the show.
A standing ovation for Imran Ashraf, ladies and gentlemen for bringing forth an inferno with the most underrated, and most exquisite character keeping ‘Alif Allah Aur Insaan’ afloat
What are your thoughts on Shammo? Do you wish to see more of his character story deepen?