Yasir Nawaz’s Wrong No. was one of those select few films that impressed the populace in this era of renaissance in Pakistan film industry. His second, Mehrunnisa V Lub U; starring the adorable looking Danish Taimoor and Sana Javed in lead seems like an even bigger and more colourful offer.
While Danish Taimoor is the lead in a Yasir Nawaz film for the second time around (he was also part of Wrong No.), Sana Javed teams up with this director-male lead duo for the first time, the film also being her debut on the big screen. We sat up with this lead pair in quite a lighthearted sitting and discussed their experience of the film and beyond. Here is how it went:
Question for both: Right after Wrong No., when this one was announced, most of us thought it is going to be another Romantic-comedy, but watching the trailer of the film, it looks much bigger than that. There is of course a big romantic element in there, then there is lot of drama visible and plus some comedy. How would you guys describe the film, from the eyes of your respective characters specially?
Sana: It’s a family entertainer, it has romance, it has comedy, it has emotions, it has every ingredient to entertain the audience. I play Mehrunnisa, of course. A very innocent, very sensitive and immensely caring girl, she is close to her father and is very lovable, that’s why it says Mehrunnisa We Lub you, people love her, and I think the ones who will watch the film will fall in love with her too afterwards.
Danish: I play Ali, a simple, helpful, family supporting guy, returning from abroad. Mehrunnisa is his childhood sweetheart, whom he wants to get married to, so whether that happens or not will be the question, as some other things happen in between of it all, problems get created. The problem occurs in his old neighbourhood and he wants to sort it out, and it is not a problem limited only to that neighbourhood but is of the entire country. So when you will watch the film, you will know what that problem is. And that very problem is the backbone of our film.
Sitting along are, producer of the film Hassan Zia, and Yousuf Khan of Urdu1 (the media partners of the film). Hassan makes an addition to Danish’s answer.
Hassan: Basically the film is written around that problem. We haven’t highlighted it to the point of giving bhashan on it, but it’s all handled in a lighter way.
Yousuf Khan contributes to the answer too:
Yousuf: Our film is colourful, our film is Eid, our film is chiffon, it’s very soft. Within that texture we have delivered a love filled message. There is a lot of symbolism in this film, so Mehrunnisa stands for a lot of things as well, and that’s where we are taking it to. Mehrunnisa is the mascot of the film. We own her and love her in the film as normally the girls of our families are loved.
Question for Danish: This is your second film with Yasir Nawaz, you must have had built a good working relationship with him in Wrong No. that you are doing his second as well. What else was there in the film that actually made you sign Mehrunnisa.
Danish: Yasir bhai is like my elder brother, and one of the biggest directors we have in films. I consider myself very lucky to work with him back to back, as the content we have been working on is simply mind blowing. So it was a very natural choice for me.
Coffee and Chai are brought in, and Danish motions towards Sana and tells me that ‘this is the secret of her fitness.’
Chai or Coffee I ask, and Sana replies: Coffee, black coffee actually. I was on a very strict diet when I did that song, saari waala, the most talk of the town shot and song, so I used to have boiled egg whites and black coffee. That’s it.
Question for Sana: You were supposed to do Rangreza before this one, but you opted out of it eventually. What exactly was it that you were looking for in your debut film, which Mehrunnisa finally ended up offering you?
Refusing to recognise her brief association with Rangreza in past (lightheartedly of course), Sana went on answering the question this way:
Sana: The pressure of course was there, but the team was kind enough to give me the confidence. They offered me the film because they believed in me and my abilities, and I think I have been super lucky to debut with such a great team and director.
The title, first of all, appealed to me a lot, and when the script was narrated to me I found the content to be really powerful too, so I had to say yes, there was no other way. Hearing about the cast too had me all excited about the movie, and from the sets to the music, everything for me was on point and I don’t think anyone would have been able to reject such a film. This was actually the debut I was looking for.
Question for both: Yasir Nawaz is of course amongst the ace directors of Pakistan, and directors are at times quite protective of their vision regarding their projects. How tough or easy going is he as a director, and how much of a director’s actor you guys are?
Sana: I am a director’s actor, of course, and with Yasir Nawaz; he is so much fun to work with, we used to discuss the character, have reading sessions where I used to give my input as well, but the best thing about him is that he gives you freedom to perform, and asks the actors about how they want to do some particular scenes and all, but I used to do whatever Yasir wanted, for he knows his craft well which added to a great experience for me. He is very passionate and I guess one should be protective about his work, but more than protective, he is passionate about it all.
Danish: I am a kind of director’s actor, but let me add that Yasir bhai is one of the best creative minds we have and I think every single director is protective about his work, specially when you are at the helm of such a big project, but along with that, he is extremely easy going, a very fun loving person to work with.
Yousuf from Urdu1 explains Danish’s use of phrase ‘big project:’
Yousuf: The thing is that it’s a massive cast where we have around 28 stock characters and around 200 junior characters, which is a standard requirement when you are making a movie surrounding a Mohalla story, discussing all the problems that we have in today’s world, so it’s definitely not an easy job being the director of such a big film. This film is like an Eid dish where we have sprinkled our take on all these things in a light way.
To this, Danish adds: Mehrunnisa is like a Sheer Qorma
Question for both: You both have had a successful run at the small screen. Film naturally has a little different kind of audience, people who like going out and spending a little amount of money for their entertainment. For your hardcore television fans, who don’t really like doing all of that, is there a chance of you guys returning to TV, or would you urge those fans to come out and watch you big screen for now?
Danish: I haven’t been working on small screen since last 3 years, so well yeah, adios almost. Right now there is no coming back for me. I might produce one though, but as an actor, I don’t think so.
Sana: No I haven’t said adios to the small screen, but I’ll do one at a time. And that too because we don’t have a lot of films being made, there are no 100 or even 60 films in the making, so we don’t really have many options as an actor, we only have 2, 3 directors who have scored prominence because of their craft, who really do know something about making films and have given superhit films, of them one is Yasir Nawaz. So, I won’t be able to do every other film after doing such a great debut, I will be very selective.
Question for both: Given an open choice, which other character from the film would you have really liked to do, and why?
Sana: Javed Sheikh’s, playing Ali’s father, I think it’s hilarious, and along with that it is also very responsible, has many different shades to it, I am actually looking forward to watch his scenes on the big screen.
Danish: With an open choice I would prefer doing Saqib Sameer’s character, he is playing a double role in it, so I would probably like to do that.
Question for both: One thing you don’t really Lub about Mehrunnisa We Lub You?
Sana: That it hasn’t released yet, I don’t really Lub that.
Danish: (Laughs), same.
Question: If you woke up tomorrow as following people, what is that one thing you would really want do?
To Danish: Sana Javed
Vacations, yeah definitely. She is on vacations after every month, kabhi idhar, kabhi udhar. So would like to try that.
To Sana: Danish Taimoor
I’ll take Aieza for shopping. In fact, I’ll take Aieza on vacations.
Has she been complaining to you secretly, I inquire from Sana. Danish answers.
Danish: Nahi Nahi bhai, we go three times a year on vacations, so I don’t think so.
Sana: I’ll buy a lot of flowers for Nida and will do whatever Nida says.
Danish: If I wake up as Yasir Nawaz tomorrow, I will launch another film and will cast Danish Taimoor again.
Sana: If I wake up as Shaan, I will make a film whose name wouldn’t be Arth 2.
Danish: I will sign some hollywood film.
Sana: Ah, I will go back to sleep.
Danish: I will make Danish Prime Minister for one day.
Question for both: Lastly, your future plans and projects?
Danish: I believe Allah makes all my plans and I just follow them. So yeah, there is Wajood after this and after that I am doing Zulfiqar Sheikh’s film in Scotland. So there are two films this year.
Sana: I don’t really plan anything, I just go with the flow, but as I said, I might do some TV, but I will wait for a very good script.
That’s it people. Hope you enjoyed reading it.