Working with Minal Khan was a treat: Faizan Khawaja
In the era of Saas Bahu dramas, to come up with something different is a huge task in itself.
However, director Mohsin Talat’s latest serial for Hum TV, Ki Janaa Mein Kaun has hit the right chords with the audience and is currently moving into the final phase where the title character played by Minal Khan is staying at her biological father’s place (played by Mehmood Aslam), despite his concerns regarding his long-lost daughter.
The play also features veterans Khaled Anam, Zainab Qayyum, and Adnan Jeelani whereas the lead is played by Faizan Khawaja and Saad Qureshi who are supported by Yashma Gill, Usman Mazhar, Daniyal Raheel among others.
Last week I decided to visit the sets of the popular play where there was an intense scene being shot featuring Mehmood Aslam and Minal Khan.
The director Mohsin Talat was busy with his work whereas other actors were busy rehearsing their lines in a mansion set in the posh area of Defence.
It was great to see Mehmood Aslam in full form especially after the success of Teefa In Trouble and The Donkey King; the veteran actor returned to films after 28 years but TV remains his first love and his performance in the drama proves that.
It was one of those days when the male lead Faizan Khawaja was not on the sets but we had a chat on the phone while I was waiting for the shoot to end.
Faizan who is the son of renowned film producer Rashid Khawaja praised the drama’s script and termed the character of Faris to be the main reason for his saying yes to the play.
‘My character has many shades in the script; I play a very docile introvert lawyer who is in love with his best friend but can’t bring himself to tell her that he loves her. Although he’s shies when it comes to the girl he loves; when it comes to his work he’s a confident man who is willing to take the chances to take on people much higher than his stature.’
Faizan adds that his character is not afraid of anyone regardless of the consequences and also doesn’t come to terms with any threats, making the drama an amazing experience.
For those who still wonder where they had seen the young actor, he was part of Ahsan Khan – Neelam Munir starrer Chupan Chupai last year where he impressed all with his acting and body language.
He is also part of an upcoming Bollywood film Bankster where he plays one of the three bank robbers alongside Bollywood star Zeenat Aman’s son Azaan who has directed the movie as well. Back home, Faizan isn’t afraid to move between films and TV, terming it a move for survival in the industry.
‘I had trained for years on the film medium. It may be devastating for an actor to go from the silver screen to television but I really don’t have a choice. It took me 8 years to do 2 films and the future doesn’t look bright as the frequency of films in Pakistan is not enough. TV, on the other hand, is a full-fledged established industry with a lot of reach out there.’
Talking about his director Mohsin Talat, Faizan had nothing but praise for him as one of the best directors in the business.
‘He’s the underdog director who will outshine others the day he makes his first feature film. Working with the ensemble cast was just fabulous. It’s very rare that you end up doing a TV play where every actor fits the role – KJMK was exactly that. Working with Minal Khan was a treat as she is a fine person. All in all, it was a lovely experience!’
And that’s when the director ends his shot and comes into the frame, my frame.
So, I asked Mohsin about his experience of working with Moomal Productions and with an ensemble cast, he closed his eyes and went back into the past, saying that when we were students, he couldn’t have imagined that one day he would be directing the very actors he loved to watch on screen; people like Mehmood Aslam and Khaled Anam.
‘People I dreamed of working with are now part of my team and I couldn’t be happier. It was a great experience of working with them and directing an excellent script too where there was less crying and more trying (to find out her identity).’
‘It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this drama promotes women like they should be because here, the character of Minal has different shades like that of a daughter, a lover, a sister and someone who wants to make a place for herself and is on a path to gain the trust of her biological father who abandoned her before she was born.’
Interesting, isn’t it? That’s why Mohsin believes that even after 30-odd episodes, his drama is the leader in its slot and people are waiting anxiously for the final episodes to air so that their suspense can come to an end. He believes that the support of everyone at Moomal Productions including Moomal Bhabi and Rafay Rashdi was instrumental in making the play a hit.
‘This is my second collaboration with Moomal Productions where everyone especially Moomal bhabi is super supportive. She not only trusts the director but doesn’t interfere in their work, making him feel like the Captain of the ship which is how things should be.’
‘Yes, I value her input and suggestions which are sometimes too good to be ignored but she knows that the final decision is that of the director and that’s why I love to work with her. They are very professional people who always come up with scripts that are different than the run-of-the-mill stuff and have a message for the audience,’ He concluded.