Fahad Mustafa is one of the few celebrities of the Pakistani entertainment industry whose success rate is far bigger than his failure rate. In the past few years, some of the biggest hits of the Pakistani entertainment industry have had the Fahad Mustafa stamp on them. Biggest blockbuster film of Pakistani cinema? Fahad Mustafa was one of the main leads of it. The biggest game show of the country? Fahad Mustafa has been hosting it for years. Some of the biggest dramas in terms of ratings and online views to air in the past year? Unsurprisingly, they are produced under Fahad Mustafa’s production house – Big Bang Entertainment.
While the popularity of Fahad Mustafa the actor and Fahad Mustafa the host cannot be argued, it is Fahad Mustafa the producer that has a very conflicting image in the eyes of the audience. On one hand, the dramas he produces continue to fetch high ratings for the channel making them successful business ventures but on the other hand, those very same dramas tend to get criticized a lot for their problematic storylines and how they represent certain kinds of sensitive issues. Fahad Mustafa is the one to bear the brunt of all the criticism his dramas get simply because he is the one whose investment made those dramas possible in the first place.
However, judging by a recent interview Fahad Mustafa gave to SomethingHaute, he could not be less bothered about the criticism and is fully focused on his successes.
A ‘Producer’ Producer
Drama serials Jalan and Nand might just be two of Big Bang Entertainment’s dramas yet. But they are also two of the most controversial dramas to air in the recent past as well. The dramas have been heavily criticized for the content and yet, they managed to top all the rating charts and get millions of views online on every episode. Jalan was even embroiled in a banning controversy but that only ended up making the drama get even more viewership and views.
When questioned about what he feels about the criticism these dramas get, Fahad Mustafa was quick to dismiss the idea that there is a sizeable set of audience that is unhappy with the content being produced. He said that as a producer he has to cater to a larger audience and it is the kind of audience that doesn’t even know what a Netflix even is.
“I am a ‘producer’ producer. I have to work with a lot of people. I can’t make all my projects with the aim of pleasing the critics. That just can’t happen. And even if I were to then at least prove me wrong with my other projects. Make them flop, don’t watch them. But no, the audience is fully engrossed in those dramas and love to watch them.”
Fahad mentioned that his audience is made of the common folk. He said that he has met butchers in the marketplace and security guards at gates knowing him not just as an actor but as a producer as well. And that is his biggest success. His dramas Jalan and Nand are being loved by these kinds of people.
“My audience is the kind that stands in the jalsa. Now if someone is questioning the legitimacy of these people’s choices because of their literacy rate then that’s another debate. But I make my dramas for these people.”
Fahad also said that the live audience he interacts with at his game show Jeeto Pakistan is where most of his stories come from. He says observing his audience at a close distance that Jeeto Pakistan provides him has given him the opportunity to learn how the common folk of the country live and how their relationships are with one and other.
It’s All Business
Fahad Mustafa said that initially he used to approach projects as an actor and used to have many concerns about how things work. But when he turned into a producer he learned that there are many things he has to take care like making sure that his projects are both feasible and profitable for the entire team.
He talked about how he has to work with the channel and adhere to their demands. Doing so, later on, gives him the chance to make a project that is completely according to his own wishes. It is a system and as a producer, he has to respect it. He cannot always try to have things that happen in his own way. As a producer, he has to make a feasibility plan before every project to see how it will be made and sold. This means the dramas will have to be 26-30 episodes long. Short dramas won’t work, regardless of who is cast in them. There is no money in them.
“And why would anyone want to do any project for free? Why would the actors and the technicians be okay with not being paid and having all that money poured into the production? Don’t they want to make money? I will be honest I came into the industry to make money and I have no shame in admitting that.”
Fahad unabashedly confessed that he makes all his money through Big Bang Entertainment.
“Actors want to act in my dramas, the audience wants to watch my dramas, the channels want to air my dramas; so, what am I doing wrong here?” Fahad questioned in defense of the dramas he produces.
Not His Responsiblity
When questioned about a producer’s responsibility to make good content for television, Fahad said that television is for entertainment and isn’t meant to be a school that teaches morals. Fahad also said that not all dramas will have a moral message to them and that some dramas are meant for sheer entertainment only. According to Fahad Mustafa, there are bigger evils that are corrupting society namely apps like TikTok.
“I have huge respect for PEMRA but there are bigger issues to deal with. We can’t tell a story the way they want us to.”
Well, Fahad Mustafa made many points in the hour long interview which shed light on how he works as a producer as well as how he fulfills his needs as an actor. Did all his points make sense? We’ll let the audience be the judge of that.