By: Aayan Mirza
Additional Input: Momin Ali Munshi
Superstar Shaan Shahid in one of his latest interviews suggested that this ‘New Pakistan Film Industry’ is merely two years in its age, the first year being that of Waar, Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, Zinda Bhaag, Chambaili and others, and the second one belonging to O21, Na Maloom Afraad, Dukhtar, Tamanna and few others that made their mark as contemporary cinema. But just as cinema in Pakistan grows, so do animosities, controversies and rivalries.
The first year brought us the row over Pakistan’s official selection for Oscars, this year it seems to have multiplied as we heard about the Bilal Lashari and Hassan Waqas Rana conflict, then we had this episode belonging to Shamoon Abbasi, then there was this issue with Capri, Bambino and Dreamland cinema, after which we have a little ongoing controversy regarding the rights of Maula Jutt remake, and now, now we bring you the latest.
More of a ‘soft conflict’, this one is about who else was offered the role of male lead in O21, other than the eventual selection of Shaan, of course. Although Shaan’s name is directly involved in this little row, but the actor has so far avoided himself from the controversy, and thus, the active fight is between Fahad Mustafa and Ali Zafar (the two claimants), and Jamshed Mahmood (Jami-the respondent – and the director of O21).
It all took a start from the TNS (The News Sunday) interview of Fahad Mustafa on 12 October 2014, where the actor, among many other revelations about himself also revealed that he had been offered O21 and Delta Echo Foxtrot (Yalghaar) prior to finally settling with Na Maloom Afraad and said that films on Jihaad are not his cup of tea.
“…Before this movie, I was offered O21, and Delta, Echo Foxtrot but films on jihad are not my cup of tea. I want people to watch my films, meri waja se not because it has some hint of patriotism and all. I wanted to sell NMA on my own and I am glad I have succeeded,” Fahad said in the interview.
Time moved on, and we didn’t see any reply from the O21 camp on the claim. Next came the date of November 9, another interview in TNS, and this time it was Ali Zafar to make the claim. On a question on why he hasn’t worked in a Pakistani film yet, Ali said:
“Nothing appealing has come my way in the last five years. I was offered the lead in O21 but I wasn’t sure about the concept then and I declined. I’m working on two of my own pays to scripts at the moment. Both are going to be pure entertainment – that’s what the cinema-going public watch.”
This time the claim managed to get a response from the O21 camp, and to reply from that side was the film’s co-director Jami Mahmood. Jami in response to both claims made the following status on his official Facebook account.
Since it was now being played on social media, Jami’s status led to the following tweets of Fahad Mustafa:
The tweets of Fahad Mustafa got the following reply from Jami, and it all seems to have cooled down since then:
Though it all seems to have cooled down now, the question still remains whether there was ever someone else in the lead before Shaan or not. So our editor Momin Ali Munshi asked Jami for an official response to it, and here is what the director has to say on the issue.
“Fahad and Summer Nicks met for a small role before I arrived on the project, but it was never about the lead role, Shaan was always our lead. As for Ali Zafar, I am clueless what’s going on.”
Well, the issue seems to have cleared till the extent of Fahad Mustafa. As for Ali Zafar’s claim of being offered the ‘lead role’, we don’t have much to say at the moment.