Tete-a-tete with Humayun Saaed, the vintage romantic hero of ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’

Humayun Saeed, the man who started the commercial cinema wave for Pakistani cinema back in 2013 with ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ and delivered the biggest hit with ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’ is now ready with his third production ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’.

This film marks the return of the supremely loved combination of Humayun Saeed with Mehwish Hayat and Nadeem Beyg as the director along with Urwa Hocane, Azfar Rehman and Ahmed Ali Butt. This movie brings back the old school romance with Humayun being presented in a never before seen avatar of a Paindu guy which can be seen in the trailer.

Humayun has been in the news and on screen quite much this year with ‘Yalghaar’, then the controversy of ‘Project Ghazi’ and now his own production ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’. We caught up with the actor to talk about his latest release and the other things he has been in the news for.

GL: Before its trailer came out, ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ was being perceived as a comedy with you, Ahmed Ali Butt, Azfar Rehman and Nadeem Beyg. But, after release of the trailer one could see that it is more of an intense love story. So, do you think that audience gets affected by getting something unexpected?

Audience here is very different and diverse, there are people who want to see intense love stories and I got this idea after doing Dil Lagi serial. During the past few years no romantic film has been made in our industry which has family values, good humor and an intense love story at its core incorporated. We on purpose did not make a full-fledged comedy movie like ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’, so that we are not seen as a team who can only make comedy movies.

GL: The trailer of your movie has been very well appreciated on social media and everywhere else but it is not being played in cinemas whereas ‘Na Maloom Afraad 2’ trailer is being played twice, so what do you have to say on this?

People have told me about this, different articles were also written on this after which cinema owners have said they are playing it. All the cinema owners are my friends and I respect all but ‘Na Maloom Afraad 2’ is their own film so they might be giving it more frequency, but if they are not playing our trailer it’s not a great thing to do. All the cinema owners are partners in our film too because they take more than 50% share from our film, so all films should be given equal importance. As of now, I have been told that our trailer is being played, but I am not sure as I myself have not been able to visit theaters much.

Team #PunjabNahiJaungi promoting their film in #Dubai 🙌🏻 #HumayunSaeed #MehwishHayat #AhmedAliButt #NadeemBaig

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GL: ‘Yalghaar’ released on Eid-ul-Fitr then ‘Project Ghazi’ promotions started and just before release movie got postponed during all this ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ trailer also came out. In these four to five months span you were too much out there for the audience so do you think this effects your appeal as a superstar?

Yes, this definitely does not go in my favor. ‘Yalghaar’ basically I signed 4 years back and Jawani had not even started back then. ‘Project Ghazi’ on the other hand was coming out way too early for its liking and my own film is coming out at the right time. This whole release process was not in my hand. ‘Project Ghazi’ was not even ready and it was being released. Bollywood for its superhero movies takes around one year for post-production; the team of ‘Project Ghazi’ should have taken 8 months at least for post-production. They were about to release the move only after 1.5 month post production work so this was an childish error by the team but they got their lesson now and film is delayed. So for the future I will not want that so many films of mine come in such short time but it was not in my hands.

GL: On Eid-ul-Fitr there was a lot of controversy created around the release of ‘Tubelight’ that Indian movies hamper the business of local films and eventually it was stopped from releasing. Now on Eid-Azha Indian movie ‘Badshaho’ is releasing starring Ajay and Emraan. So will you also like it to not release?

Firstly, I loved the trailer of ‘Badshaho’ but I think it should not release on Eid. I myself support Indian movies playing in Pakistan a lot but on Eid I believe only local films should be released and Inshallah all the cinemas will be full.

GL: Building on the last question, on Eid-ul-Fitr week this year mostly cinemas were filled with the masses only the multiplex audience mostly did not come out. ‘Tubelight’ being a popular film don’t you think could have brought the multiplex audience out in that week?

Firstly, even if ‘Tubelight’ had released it would not have done great business as everyone knows how badly it did at the box office in India. End of the day, I still believe that ‘Badshaho’ is not as big a film compared to any of the three Khan’s movies. Look whenever any of the 3 Khan’s come with a movie they take away a lot of cinemas, so whatever business our movies have done even that would have not happened.

GL: In 2015 when ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ came ‘Bin Roye’ did great business and ‘Wrong No.’ even did more business than ‘Mehrunissa We Lub U’ did this year without competition though the team was same and cinemas were less.

See it is very important for the film to be good and people should enjoy the movie. Yasir and his team must have worked really hard on ‘Mehrunissa We Lub U’ as some people say that it was a better version of ‘Wrong No.’ and some people don’t. Overall, people since the ban on Indian movies in October 2016 have not started coming out as they used to earlier. I believe that audience will start coming in again soon and by Bakra Eid footfalls will be really good.

GL: ‘Yalghaar’ your last release opened beyond the whole trade expectations but it could not sustain the after the Eid week ended. Do you think this result will affect the business of ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’?

Firstly, I was completely expecting this kind of opening for ‘Yalghaar’, because the film had a huge star cast apart from that action has a great pull among our audiences. Secondly, I believe when the trailer of your next film comes out and it turns out to be really good then it does not matter.

GL: What should the audience expect from ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ a vintage Humayun Saeed romance, as you are known as the stalwart of romance in our industry?

Look after Dil Lagi I have not done romance for a long time. In this movie the difference is that I have a different character with a very unique accent which I have not attempted before. It is role of a guy who thinks of himself a big shot but is a “Paindu”. I think people will really love my character in the movie.

GL: To wrap it up, any update on your future projects?

Next I am doing ‘Jawaani Phir Nahi Ani 2’, there is an action film which Vasay Chaudhary is writing and there is another very contemporary rom-com but will be a lot of fun.

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I am a complete movie buff, who not only watches a lot of movies but also considers all other factors involved in making movie a success story. Movies are my passion and analysing them from all aspects is what I love doing.

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