Yasir Hussain: My character in Baandi likes to torment people, mentally!
For those who have followed his career since theatre, Yasir Hussain is a class act.
He was once touted as the heir to Moin Akhtar’s legacy but once he switched to TV and films, he resorted to either stuttering (as Moti) or as lover boy (in TV plays) without displaying the new ‘weapons’ in his armory.
With Baandi, the Yasir Hussain we know is back and this time he has gone to the Dark Side playing a full-throttle villain who we love to hate.
We had seen you play a Sindhi on stage before but the surprise here was the villain inside you … how did the writer/director convince you to do that?
Yasir Hussain: Haha. Usually, when you do a TV serial especially as a lead, you have to work for 40-45 days which is quite hectic. When he Rafay (Rashdi) approached me for Baandi, he told me that if I consider it, they will lessen the age of the character that was supposed to be middle-aged.
That’s how I got to become the Sindhi wadera in the drama who everyone seems to hate because he is wicked and dangerous at the same time. I went for it, without reading the script, and haven’t regretted that for a minute.
Usually people read the script before turning villain; what made you skip that part and take a leap of faith?
Yasir Hussain: Both the writer Asma Nabeel and the director Ahmed Kamran are great people to work with and I was sold on their names. Furthermore, when I met the director, he just asked me whether I would feel comfortable if Aiman’s character threw a jooti at me and that’s when I realized that I had to portray a very bad man on the screen, someone who would make the heroine throw a show at him.
My role isn’t that big here but what makes it different from my other Sindhi characters is that while they were comic and evil, this one is pure evil who loves to torment people, mentally.
Doesn’t being a bad man affect your private life especially when you have been happy-go-lucky all your career?
Yasir Hussain: As a theatre actor, whenever I changed my getup, it affected the real me, a lot. Same is the case with TV as when I start growing my moustache for the role, it starts to change me a little.
The great Noman Ejaz once advised me that the best way to stay in a character is to talk to everyone in that same tone and trust me that has helped me in Baandi.
Since you are a Script Writer yourself, don’t you interfere with Asma Nabeel regarding your lines in Baandi?
Yasir Hussain: I have been very lucky to have worked with Anwar Maqsood and Mohammad Ahmed who were excellent writers and have been an inspiration to all. Asma Nabeel is a very good writer herself so I had no issue with the script and even if there was, I would have gone with the flow since the director knows his work and is always there to convince us.
How do you manage to host your own show, write a film and act in it, work as a writer/actor on TV and occasionally do theatre at the same time? Don’t you think that it’s that too much for you?
Yasir Hussain: Actually, it’s not since I have a lot of time on my hand. If you manage it properly, anything is possible. In the last three years, I have acted in 2 films while have written 3, written a play for TV and acted in 2 and hosted a season of an evening show and compared to others, that’s nothing at all. Mohsin Abbas Haider and I started our careers together and his portfolio has more stuff than me!
Any interesting incident during the shooting of Baandi that you would like to share with us?
Yasir Hussain: I can’t say much about the incidents but yes, we were shooting in interior Sindh where the temperature was always high and since I was dressed in black, was sporting a beard and a mustache, had to wear a chaadar, I felt the heat the most.
The work wasn’t that demanding when compared to the weather as I had never worked in such conditions before.
You could have simply gone for a fake beard as that way you could have removed it after the shoot; that’s common practice amongst actors these days, no?
Yasir Hussain: People who take shortcuts in acting don’t go far and if I had used a beard like them that would have shown on the screen.
I wanted my character to look different and menacing and that’s why I went for the real thing; I had to host the Hum Awards in between the shoot and that’s why I had to cut the beard only to grow it afterward.I am thankful to the makers who allowed me the time so that I can come back into the character, and continue from where we left.
How have people reacted to your turning evil … on the road, in restaurants etc.?
Yasir Hussain: Since the play is just 2-3 episodes old, my character hasn’t registered like that so I am free to road the streets freely, for now. Whoever has criticized me has done so on WhatsApp whereas on Social Media people are praising the character which even is a surprise or for me.