Eid’s twice as nice for Fahad

By Asjad Nazir

PAKISTANI ACTOR MUSTAFA IS EXCITED ABOUT HAVING TWO FESTIVAL RELEASES AT THE SAME TIME.

FOR an actor to play the lead role in one film being released on a major holiday is a big deal, but Fahad Mustafa will have two movies out on Eid-Al-Adha later this month.

The contrasting projects see him play a villager trying to find true love in Load Wedding and a wealthy schemer in big-budget, action-comedy sequel Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2. This is the latest achievement from a Pakistani star who has made a his mark in cinema, TV drama serials and as a popular host.

I caught up with Fahad in London to talk about his two holiday releases, Pakistani cinema and more.

You are very much in demand, but how are you selecting the diverse projects you are doing?

Actually I am not selecting the projects, the projects select me. I have been lucky enough to be in an Eid release for the past three or four years. So whichever good projects get made, I want to be a part of them.

As you said, you have had an Eid release the past three years, but how do you feel about having two films out on the same day this year?

I think rules are made to be broken, Asjad. I really hope the distributors and producers have done their maths. I am sure they must have thought this through. Hopefully both films will do well. I am not the producer of either film, so I am not afraid of anything right now. I’m just excited about both movies being released.

Tell us about your characters in the films?

Both my films are totally different from one another – you will see that by the appearance and looks of the films. I am playing an extremely innocent character in Load Wedding, which is an out-and-out romance, but on the other hand, I am playing this entirely nasty role in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2. In a country where we hardly make films, I have been lucky enough to get two at one time that are so different from one another. This is part of a revolution happening in Pakistani cinema and I am happy to be involved in that.

What is your favourite memory from working on Load Wedding?

There were many memorable moments because I have shot for the film in a village for almost 40 days. Initially people used to follow me around, but then after 10 days or so, I became somehow part of the village and no one cared I was there and that was great. Everyone was kind enough to open their houses for me. I just walked through and was able to make myself at home. It was amazing and we had so much fun. It was like a whole bunch of family living together.

What is your Load Wedding leading lady Mehwish Hayat like as a co-star? 

Fahad Mustafa with Load Wedding co-star Mehwish Hayat

(Laughs) She eats a lot and is the man in the relationship. She is so much fun to work with. As soon as the camera starts, she is like right on target.

How does Load Wedding compare to a multi-starrer like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2?

If Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 does well it will be to everyone’s credit. There are so many great people in it, it has wonderful characters and is part of a hit franchise. People will have fun watching it because we had so much fun shooting for it.

On the other hand, if Load Wedding doesn’t work, it is on me and I take responsibility for that. So I am a little worried about Load Wedding. But I have had fun shooting for both films and hope both do really well. I don’t compare them because they are totally different to one another.

Fahad Mustafa with Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 co-star Mawra

Tell us about your Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 role?

My character in the film is a nasty person. He is the one who plans everything. He is a schemer with a devious mind. Last time it was Humayun Saeed, but this time it’s me. It’s a fun character and for the first time on screen, I am playing a rich guy. (Laughs) People were surprised I was able to look rich. I was able to wear a lot of nice clothes that I had always wanted to on the big screen, so it was a lot of fun.

You do comedy well. Where does that come from?

I am spontaneous in real life and that does help. I started hosting five years ago and you need wit and presence of mind when it comes to doing a live show. That has helped me improve my comic timing. I was a bad comedian when I first started acting.

What are your hopes for Pakistani cinema?

I feel really hopeful. I hope we continue making better films. There are a relatively small number of us doing good work and I hope others add to the cause to help the industry grow. It will take time, but we will get there. It is a learning process and the industry is evolving every day. We need to continue to strive for good cinema and gain the trust of
audiences to give them value for money. Other industries around the world have that history of trust. They have a 70-80 year relationship with cinemagoers which we don’t have yet.

Finally, what kind of films do you like watching?

I like to watch entertainers, to be very honest. I believe cinema has to be commercial and entertaining. I don’t believe too much in films giving a message as we are not teachers. I don’t want to lecture people. I want them to watch my film, have fun, and go back home with smiles on their faces.

  • Load Wedding and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 will be out next Wednesday (22).

KADAM RISE CONTINUES

TALENTED singer Kadam Verma has followed up his first two singles Billo Ni and Shakira with his impressive latest release Dil Na Dukha, a duet with superb singer Rekha and produced by Bajaj. Kadam was full of praise for music producer Bajaj and said he had done an amazing job in making the song sound modern and contemporary. Kadam is set to continue his impressive rise with more songs. “Next up, I’ve lined up quite a few songs ranging from upbeat tracks to bhangra music and most importantly my Hindi/Urdu releases, which I’m looking forward to the most,” the singer said.

ARCHIE’S LAW IN AMERICA

BRITISH actress Archie Panjabi is continuing her remarkable run in Hollywood with another highprofile project.

She will play the lead role in the pilot for brand new series Adversaries, a legal drama that sees her play a successful LA attorney who leaves her comfortable, coastal bubble to practice law in America’s heartland. She’s forced to confront preconceived stereotypes
and realise there is more that unites people than divides them. If the one-hour pilot turns out to be good, then a full blown series will follow with her in the lead role. Archie is best known to American audiences for playing Kalinda Sharma on the hit series The Good
Wife, for which she won an Emmy in 2010, and continues to be cast in diverse projects in America.

HUSSAIN: COOKING UP A HIT

ONE of the most important voices in the UK right now is poet and activist Hussain Manawer, who is using the power of words to entertain, educate and enlighten those who have been lucky enough to discover his work.

His latest video Mamma’s Kitchen is perhaps his finest work yet. The mix of music, poetry and a guest vocal has an eye-catching girl-powerled video, and features a number of familiar faces including singer Sonna Rele.

Hussain said Mamma’s Kitchen is about smashing some of the cultural stigmas around women. “I wrote Mamma’s Kitchen against the walls on the floor in my mum’s kitchen, when she passed away last year. The instruments found in the kitchen by the women act as
their weapons to fight against oppression from society and toxic masculinity. The kitchen in the video represents the haven some women found solace in to survive in these environments,” explained Hussain.

PRIYANKA FACES TOUGH CHOICES

Priyanka Chopra 

WHEN Priyanka Chopra walked out of high-profile Salman Khan film Bharat, director Ali Abbas Zafar tried to hint that her exit had something to do with the actress either being
pregnant or getting married.

However, the truth is she had been offered a lead role in major Hollywood film Cowboy Ninja Viking opposite Chris Pratt and had opted for that instead.

But it has since emerged that the big-budget action movie has been put on hold indefinitely
because of major scripting issues. On top of that, her serial Quantico has been cancelled. So the only films Priyanka has on the way are supporting roles in Hollywood film Isn’t
It Romantic and Bollywood movie A Sky Is Pink.

After her walk out in Bharat, I believe that Priyanka will find it difficult to land another big Bollywood film.

ABHISHEK’S CAREER PATH

EARLY indications are that Abhishek Bachchan did the right thing to walk out of Paltan and opt for Manmarziyaan instead. Judging by the trailers of both movies, the romantic drama looks far more interesting than the amateurish-looking war drama, which will be released
a week earlier. Unfortunately for Abhishek, although Manmarziyaan will premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and is likely get decent reviews, I don’t expect it to be the hit
his career needs.

SHAZ IA GOES FOURTH

SCOTTISH singer Shaz IA has finally released her fourth single Vaari Vaari. The singer/songwriter has teamed up with talented Pakistan-based music producer Irfan Chaudhry on the song and has an eyecatching music video accompanying it.

When I caught up with Shaz IA, she said: “The long journey for this song that started in a recording studio in Pakistan about a year ago is finally complete. This song embodies my love for modern Bollywood fused with dance and pop.