Mustafa Afridi – The Man With The Golden Pen
You may have seen him on TV but you can’t place him for sure.
Despite playing Ahad Raza Mir’s father in Aangan and carrying the drama on his shoulders, Mustafa Afridi’s face remains little known to the audience.
That’s because the audience relates to his words, his pen and above all, his writing that keeps them mesmerized whenever a drama of his is on air. He was the man behind Sang-e-Mar Mar, Aangan, Superstar and now Ehd-e-Wafa and has completed his next film Patakh De which is all set to go on the floors, soon.
Spotlight met with the talented writer and asked him about the experience of working with his buddies Ehteshamuddin (in Superstar) and Saife Hasan (Ehd-e-Wafa), the play’s comparison with Alpha Bravo Charlie and writing hard-hitting dialogues in the era of lackluster scripts.
Let me start with Tamasha Hai To Tamasha Hi Sahi …. Did you know that the Superstar line will become a Superstar itself when you were writing it?
I am so glad that people liked the dialogues of Superstar; working with Azaan Sami Khan (Screenplay and Script) and Ehteshamuddin was a great experience as I got to do whatever I wanted. Momina (Duraid) as a producer allowed us the liberty to write filmi dialogues and that’s the reason why we managed to pen lines that would resonate with the young as well as the old.
Moving onto the next big thing on your plate – Ehd-e-Wafa. How was the experience of writing a series that reminds the audience of Alpha Bravo Charlie?
It was a very difficult thing to do, considering people have grown up watching Alpha Bravo Charlie. My drama is not a sequel to the play but in the same vein. It was a challenge to write something on the same lines but to be different at the same time.
Saife Hasan and you have worked before in Sang-e-Mar Mar but that was a serious drama … how hard was tackling comedy with a young cast?
Saif, Ehtesham and I have been working together for so long that now it feels like being part of the same structure. We are friends and we understand each other’s creative process whether its comedy or tragedy and that’s why it was fun working here as well.
What steps did you take to add authenticity to your script?
I researched thoroughly for this project so much so that I stayed at the Pakistani Military Academy (PMA) for a month, to better capture the essence of the Army lifestyle and cadets’ routine.
Which actor impressed you the most in the play, boy and girl both?
In a project as demanding as Ehd-e-Wafa, it would be unfair to pick just one actor or actress. All the actors did their fair share of research and had a grueling physical routine to follow. Everyone did their best and I would nominate all as those who impressed me.
What’s next after Ehd-e-Wafa … will you be writing a film or a TV drama?
In fact, I have already completed Patakh De, my next project with Saife Hasan. I wrote the Story, Screenplay, and Dialogues of the film and it was supposed to go on the floors but it was moved forward due to some issues. It has a huge cast and revolves around wrestling and I am hopeful that people would like it when it is released next year.
Was it moved forward to accommodate your ‘side hero’ Azaan Sami Khan who was busy in composing songs for two Eid films as well as the screenplay writer of Superstar?
Who says he is the side hero of Patakh De … the film will mark his acting debut as a leading man.
Wasn’t it supposed to be a confidential piece of information? Azaan being the hero …
Well, ab to hogaya …
And finally, with Superstar, you have joined the list of those writers who have penned the script for Nadeem sahib. What would you say about that experience?
Like most of the people belonging to my generation, I have grown up watching Nadeem Baig on the big screen so when I got the chance of writing for him and making him say my words, I was beyond myself.
I had written a project that had Jawed Sheikh in it Bushra Bora Bor but we had never met. It is indeed an honor to have Nadeem Baig and Jawed Sheikh act in a film that had my dialogues, and I would cherish the achievement for days to come.