Cake’s ‘Romeo’ Adnan Malik demands more diverse roles for men

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(Web Desk) – With ‘Cake’ having grabbed some of the best critical successes that can be imagined for a Pakistani film in current times, the nuances and subtlety of an urban, modern day Pakistani family living in Karachi is now travelling to some of the biggest institutes in the world, including Yale.

Asim Abbasi’s recent win as the ‘Best Director’ at the UK Asian Film Festival adds to the many layers of this richly flavoured celluloid piece that asks question without making much noise in the spectrum.

Speaking to BBC’s Asian Network, Adnan Malik, who played Romeo in the movie, pressed on the need for creating more diverse roles for men who need to be there, essentially when the present generation of boys/men wants to look up to, relate to and define their masculinity in regard to something.

Malik, whose career has been a diverse array ranging from documentary filmmaking to hosting and directing commercials, his debut in Cake adds to the many talents he possesses. Though initially not appreciated for acting skills, his character in the film is present, not doing much but silently helping and viewing, which quintessentially is the purest form of love and loyalty.

His character is secondary in the film, in the sense that it depicts a side that is often over-looked by filmmakers. His character is the portrayal of the soft, not aggressive, male who is there to help, and also provides the lens to view the Jamali family.

Refreshingly, not catering to the facets of the masala genre, Cake offers the minimal texture of the daily life, the mundane selves of the capital world, of ageing parents that are synonymous to nearly any family with or without the cultural differences. Presently, the moral compass with its needle stuck somewhere in the direction of shouting, and asserting the whims and opinion (labelled as strong, without the need to shout), Malik’s Romeo does more than that.

Malik, in his interview to BBC, demands more diverse role for men. “People now base their sense of selves and identities based on the TV shows they watch or what they see on the internet or movies. So you need to have these kinds of role models.”

Talking to BBC, he focuses on the need to build strong male characters, men who do not assert themselves, men who are okay with women saying no to them, and men who are sensitive for their mothers and sisters. Malik further adds to the fact of the excruciating hold of dreaming to get out of this country, of the fact that most people or the (younger lot) views the West as the saviour.

The changing times and the shifting need to develop more morally conscious men is something Malik believes we all need when we cannot find something relevant and poignant in reality.

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