A quick chat with Humayun Saeed: Talking future projects, Pakistani Cinema and Sahir Lodhi!

Humayun Saeed is a superstar and there is no denying the fact that he has been a crucial part of this new wave of Pakistani Cinema. As an actor/producer he has been a part of three films in this new wave and each film has not only been a defining point in his career but has proved to be a milestone for Pakistani Cinema itself.

In 2013 he made his ambitious  ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ which was amongst the first outright commercial films from the new wave and provided wholesome entertainment to the audiences. He then followed up with ‘Bin Roye’ which opened new avenues for Pakistani Film Industry as the film did humongous business with its international release. Then came Humayun’s second production ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’ which as we all know re-wrote history when it emerged as the highest grossing Pakistani film ever and minted 40+ crore.

Cut to 2017 and Humayun will be now seen in ‘Yalghaar’ which releases later this month, ‘Project Ghazi’ which releases July and then his next production ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ which releases later on Eid-ul-Azha. We caught up with the actor and here are excerpts from the conversation.

What are your expectations from ‘Yalghaar’?

I have seen the first 20 minutes of the film, and after that I have to say my expectations from the film are sky high now. If the film is anything like its opening, its definitely going to be something to watch out for!

You think people will like the film?

Well, I liked the film! And honestly, I think that when I like something the audiences connect with that too.

And your track record at the box office proves that.

So yeah if the film is like the first 20 minutes, trust me it will be crazy. It is so engaging that it feels like 7 minutes when it’s actually 22 minutes! The film has such a big cast, has all the different elements, romance, drama. I think it will work.

What has me all excited is seeing you and Shaan Shahid in one frame. You’re both superstars and seeing you sharing screen space would be something. So will that happen?

(laughs) Aik dafa toh ayain gay samany end main ( We will come face to face once towards the end).

Is there one main protagonist in the film around whom the film revolves or everyone gets an equal share?

Obviously, it’s good vs bad where Shaan leads the good and I’m on the bad side and then there are our groups. I’m playing a villain and honestly am a bit scared too as to how the audiences will react but I thought it was high time I experiment and do something different. So yeah answering your question its pro-army vs anti-army and everyone has something to add.

Your next film Project Ghazi has you and Sheheryar Munawar as the two main male actors. Is one of you playing a supporting role?Is it a two hero film? Are you playing the baddie?

Basically, we both have important roles in the film and you’ll see me playing a mentor sort of a character like you mostly see in Hollywood films. Obviously, I read the script and only once I was convinced that the role was worth doing I signed on for the film. Both the charcacters are well written and have their moments.

Any other factors that made you sign the dotted line?

Generally, when I do a film I’m concerned as to who is behind the camera and what team is making the film. Interestingly, both the director and producer for this film are new but when I met them, I could sense that they were both hard working guys and thus I decided to give these new boys a chance because I personally feel that we need to promote the new talent. Moreover, ISPR on board so I signed it.

Is it a hardcore superhero film because it’s being promoted as ‘Pakistans First Super Hero Film’

It’s not really a hardcore super hero film like Superman or Spiderman but they’ve taken the concept of a super hero film when it comes to abilities…

So there is a supernatural element?

Yes, there is a supernatural feel to the film especially when it comes to the abilities.

ISPR and Supernatural. Makes for an interesting combo no?

Without giving away much of the plot let me just say that once you see the film it will all make perfect sense. In the film, there are a group of scientists who under project Ghazi perform some experiments on a few talented individuals and hence enhancing their abilities.

So we should expect a high budget film that’s big on VFX?

Definitely, the film will be a visual treat which the audiences will enjoy.

Have you had a chance to see any of the recent Pakistani Films?

I saw a bit of Raasta and seeing that film I’ve realized that Sahir Lodhi can actually act!

You are being sarcastic right?

No I’m very serious.

He was horrible!

That’s because the film itself was bad.

I think that he was the worst part of the film! His presence is what made it bad.

No no I saw people clapping at his presence only! I think nobody else could have done what he did in that film. He was so confident. He deisgned that film for himself. Had I been offered the script I would have never done it because it was horribly written. But he has proved that he can act. I now know that if there is a film with a good director, better story and Sahir is given a better-suited role Im sure he will do well.

This sounds like the headline of this interview ‘ Sahir Lodhi is a good actor’ says Humayun Saeed.

I actually mean this from the bottom of my heart. And also I believe in that film ‘Raasta’ nobody could have done a better job than what Sahir did. He was so confident in himself and that conviction! I was amazed. That the film was horrible and I couldn’t see it anymore beyond the first 20 minutes is another story.

What upcoming films have you excited?

Yasir Nawaz’s ‘Mehrunisa v Lub U’, ‘NMA 2’ and ‘Parvaz Hay Junoon’.

From this younger lot, which actor/actress do you think has the potential to be the next superstar

If I take out Fahad Mustafa and Hamza Ali Abbasi  I think Shehryar Munawar and Feroze Khan have promising futures. Feroze has this Emran Hashmi streak to him and given the right characters, I think he will shine bright.

Thank you so much for your time, will definitely have another chat with you once ‘Yalghaar’ and ‘Project Ghazi’ release! Will talk about ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ and ‘JPNA 2’ then.

Definitely.

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I might be an Economics graduate from LUMS, but cinema is where my heart truly belongs. Always up for a discussion on fims and I guess you could call me a Pakistani Cinema aficionado. Email: mominalimunshi@yahoo.com

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