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Director Haseeb Hassan Talks about Mann Mayal

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1, your upcoming project is now called Mann Mayal, before that it was Dil e Janam and before that Tera Ghum aur Hum. It almost seems as if the marketing team was not sure of the essence of the drama and how to encapsulate it. Why were there so many changes?

HASEEB HASSAN: I personally feel there is a responsibility on a director to give the best to the audience. If you see my previous serial’s titles, they are poetic and classic, e.g. Dayar e Dil, Sherdil, Tum Hoke Chup, Bol Meri Machli and Nanhi. These titles are sophisticated and they have a poetic essence. It was not a marketing team but the entire creative team (including the producers) who were interested in finding the best title out of all the working titles.. Tera Ghum Aur Hum and Dil e Janam were just working titles which we never officially announced. When Momina suggested Mann Mayal everyone loved it and then it went viral 

  1. Tell us something about Mann Mayal and why you chose to direct it ?

HASSEEB HASSAN: I always try to direct strong stories and Mann Mayal is a sensitive, romantic journey of two eternal lovers, which gives you a range of emotions. It’s a beautiful love story. I personally avoid typical Saas/Bahu type stories or stories based on domestic violence or “villain type” hero characters. After reading Samira Fazal’s script I found it was perfect for me. I was fascinated by Salahuddin, Manno and Jeena’s characters and then the ambience of the script had many of the things l like too.

  1. As a director, what was the toughest part of making Mann Mayal?B9QHdYXCQAAxO5o

HASEEB HASSAN :I always choose tough projects and I execute them with equal vigor, as far as production is concerned. Mann Mayal is another project with a huge cast and, for me some portions were tough but after several experiences, it has become much easier. However many of the emotions and situations related to the story were very difficult and painful for me.

  1. Compared to Dayar e Dil this serial seems a lot more intimate with less of the beautiful exterior shots that made your previous serial so memorable. How will you keep the audience intrigued?

Haseeb Hassan: Of course i shot Dayar e Dil in Skardu and I am shooting Mann Mayal  in Karachi but as far as pictorial sense is concerned, it is technically better than Dayar e Dil. I tried to capture all these wonderful pre- partition houses and I got this one house with an amazing old structure which will definitely intrigue my audience.

  1. Your last project had the benefit of a lot of great actors with a lot of chemistry. Osman Khalid Butt and Maya Ali, Sanam Saeed and Mikaal Zulfikaar, Ali Rehman Khan and Hareem Farooq all made magic on the screen. How much of this so called screen chemistry is the director’s job and how he shoots a scene or isn’t it?

Haseeb Hassan: The basic magician is the director. It’s a director’s job to achieve on screen chemistry even though sometimes we get some couples who are poles apart but we can manage to show them completely in tune to each other’s ideal mental frequencies.Haseeb Hassan

  1. You have made some very popular and significant serials like Nanhi, Bol Meri Machli, Tum Ho kay Chup, which one has been the most difficult?

HASEEB HASSAN Tum Hoke Chup was the most difficult because of its content and locations. We were talking about Baloch tribal customs and it was tough to shoot in London and Quetta at low temperatures.

  1. The promos to Mann Mayal seem to be very reminiscent of the style in which Pyarey Afzal was shot ; Manoo’s traditional, affluent household , her way of dressing and the Salahuddin’s (at least initially) outsider status as a tutor . How is Mann Mayal different?,

HASEEB HASSAN: Honestly, this is my style. I made Bol Meri Machli in 2008 with a similar kind of ambience to Mann Mayal and I think Pyarey Afzal came three years, after that. I really have not seen Pyarey Afzal. I even thought about watching it via YouTube when I cast Hamza just to avoid any similarities but I never actually got the chance to see it. If you find any similarities it would definitely be unintentional. I respect every director’s work and seriously don’t believe in any kind of copy paste even from an international movie


  1. Tell us about the lead female characters. Are there any mazloom, bholi larkiyan or bad manipulating Vixens to confuse the sweet and honest hero?

HASEEB HASSAN: All the characters are reflection of our society. Mannu comes from a traditional family; she has her own voice and her own ideas. Jeena is another strong personality, a determined, daring kind of person who is not afraid to speak her mind.

SAMIRA FAZAL:  TMannu is a determined girl. She doesn’t believe in losing hope. It’s a journey for her and the choices she has to make for herself and she is forced to make by others

  1. What about the hero, Salahuddin?

 SAMIRA FAZAL : He is someone who loves a girl so much that he never married … He is still waiting for her though she is gone from his life! He goes somewhere abroad, but never forgets his love for her .

  1. Sexual assault and violence against women seem to be a trending topic in Dramas at the moment. As a director, you have dealt with this sensitive subject in Nanhi. What have you learnt from your experience shooting such a difficult subject?

HASEEB HASSAN:  People are creating such projects to get the best ratings or TRPs’. Nanhi was something very real in everything: characters, sets and style of storytelling. We were just focusing the basic idea without forcing twists and turns just to get ratings. Every thrilling moment was natural and authentic.


  1. Following on from that theme, a lot of people were surprised and upset by Wali kidnapping Faraa in Dayar e Dil. What would you say to them?

 HASEEB HASSAN: They should think about the reason behind kidnapping situation. I have to say a lot of people enjoyed that episode and were hooked after that.

  1. Samira Fazal is known for her witty, modern dialogues and scripts. Was it easy to translate her characters to the screen? What makes her writing different from the other writers you have worked with?mq1

HASEEB HASSAN: Samira Fazal’s dialogues and craftsmanship are amazing. She plays with the pulse of the viewer but always keeps the basic theme in mind. I liked her writing. I never bind myself to any specific genre; I enjoy translating and justifying each character on the screen. There were some very unique portions of her script, which I really enjoyed.

  1. You announced that you will be working on a film soon … Any news on that?

HASEEB HASSAN: My first film project is expected to start in April. Cast and script is locked and it will be announced officially…… very soon. Sorry I cannot say much right now, it is a bit of a secret.


  1. If you had your heart’s desire what would be your ideal film project ?

 HASEEB HASSAN Perhaps my second film project, its unofficial but I may be working on another film project which is expected to be to be finalized soon too. The lead will be played by Hamza Ali Abbasi .He is learning how to fly for my film. Hopefully we will start shooting will start shooting as Hamza Ali Abbasi finishes Maula Jutt . There are also some other projects in the works which I can’t talk about right now .


  1. As a Director, what would you like the audience to understand about your work? ,

HASEEB HASSAN: I always try translating stories in the simplest manner to give the basic message   of the subject. I always try to pick a script which holds a strong debate between true and false and gives the viewer a take home lesson. My main goal is that any story should be comprehensible to the audience. As creative people, we work very hard to make a product, whether it is a movie or a drama, my only request is that People should not just criticize for the sake of criticism. They should understand that even for a project they don’t like, there is a lot of hard work, pain and effort behind every single shot

  1. Long serials of over thirty episodes have become common will Man Mayal follow that trend ?

SAMIRA FAZAL: No, this is one wont , It’s  just 24 episodes



  1. Started off as a great drama, you mentioned it would only last 24 episodes yet we are on episode 30. Will there ever be an end to this dragged drama?


  2. This is such a brilliant drama with flow of classical and simplicity but at this time I just want to know your interpretation that will Salahuddin get his love ? Will he merry with mano?



    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadaf,

    brilliant interview. so glad to see you have asked him the most important and relevant questions that we all have wanted to ask him and he has also tried to answer earnestly:)

    [ And a big Hello wave to the awesomesauce Mais – I somehow tracked (i wont say stalked – tee hee) your tumblr page – through that video…what a sweet kid you are. Love your mind, you rockstar. Keep giffing. I may even pass on some Malayalam, tamil movie reccos if you please:) ]


    • So glad you liked it Rads but due to a lack of time I wasn’t really able to push Him as much as I wanted to .. still he was very gracious and did his best as while he was answering he was also shooting the last bits of Manmayal.
      High five on Mais she has a fabulous tumbler and please Mais if you get achance share your gifs here !!


    • Neither do I and I have a feeling Samira fazal knows that . Sometimes though I wish that a more realistic perspective was shown and people moved on ….Ducks for oncoming joota 🙂


    Im really not at all in a mood of sad ending in which Gohar & Mannu ends up together halank im having feelings that this will eventually happen. Im looking forward to Gohar;s character. Sallu bhai ur voice is so damn awsum & i am fearing about Mannu. the description being given by SF is somewhat common but lets c. I hav srsly no expectation from Aisha Khan–what is she doing w herself, her masterpiece Tumhare Siwa has made me so angry over her.
    Cant wait to dicuss MM with you.

    Recently watched Dastaan i purely loved it so lets c what SF has for us in stores although her Alvida was good bt the character Haya.. umm….


    • Thank you for some totally UNDeserved praise , but it sure made me feel god 🙂 Samira Fazal is Fabulous writer ..Scene by Scene but sometimes she is taken hostage by commercial interest and the story turns into a winding river . The 24 episodes is what is reassuring .
      I too am excited about Gohar’s role .
      To tell the truth after Goya I hav enot been happy with Gohar’s performances in Khilona or Jeevan Sathi he seemed stifled by his characters and the stories he was in. Khilona was avtually a well written serial and I think Areej Fatima was fabulous . Gohar is without doubt a good actor , his stint as In Goya and Digest Writer are proof . He has this amazing voice and I hope he gets to use it .
      Lol at Sallu Bhai … I am guessing you mean Hamza ? (because that is who Hamza Bhai reminds me of)
      I am not afraid of an Unhappy ending … But I dont think there is going to be one


    • I dont think so and yes what about Sanam … I think that will have to finish up later becuase OKB is shooting soon and I hear rumours Maya is doing a film son so who knows … again lets see if we can find an answer to that one to 🙂


      • By the way Sadaf, Dawn is incorrectly captioning the photos in your articles. This one photo in your awards article had Laila and Sohaib but the caption said: Hareem and Ali Rehman. Now, in this interview, there is a photo of Ayesha and Hamza captioned: “Hamza and Maya rehearse”.


      • I wonder though what happened to the film Maya and OKB signed together – which she talked about on Sunrise with Istanbul back in August.


        • Me too .. she and OKB were supposed to do another Movie last year with Saqib Malik and then nothing happened so I guess it is all about a projevct actually coming to fruition ?


          • Saqib Malik said in an interview to HIP that he is working on four scripts. I think one of them is the rom com that Maya mentioned. If thats so, then I guess its still early days for it

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            • I guess .. I think people are talking about projects to soon these days . A project is only aproject when the financial backing is there and the shoting starts . Often everything may look set to go and suddenly it fades …I would love to see Maya ali and OKB in something on the big screen


              • Haha. I think even when things are finalized they r not final. Like what happened to Arth 2. The male lead changed even though i read somewhere that the cast was revealed at ary film awards. Thats v huge…


                • This is for you Sarah … I messaged Director Haseeb Hassan and he very kindly toook time out to answer ..Cannot guarantee he always will but hey maybe he was in a good mood 🙂
                  ” Sanam’s patch work is left expecting to finish somewhere in march and will launch it as soon as get done with all production schedule”


  6. I am really emotionally involved with this show though it hasn’t even begun airing! I was just missing a desi love story so much, specially after DeD, so really hoping this one will live up to the expectations. Personally, not a huge fan of SF because I don’t really like her take on female leads. They aren’t my cup of tea. But I’ve become a fan of Haseeb Hassan after DeD. I don’t know much about the technical aspect of things but when one regularly gifs stuff, thodi samajh aajati hai. There’s something very aesthetic about the way he captures emotions, specially the romantic ones. They come across as pure and beautiful rather than OTT which would embarrass someone. The amount of times I’ve watched DeD finale will support this statement xD I agree with him, Mann Mayal is actually grander than DeD. DeD had the advantage of the picturesque scenery of nature’s beauty. It was shot in some majestic places but Mann Mayal is shot at pretty local and unexplored territories. They shot in Hyderabad at a place which is quite near my house. I was surprised to see a major drama being shot ACTUALLY in Hyderabad warna tou Karachi ka hi koi slummy area dikha ke keh dete hain ke Hyderabad hai xD So I’m really excited to see how the final product is.

    Looks like there is a lot of pain for Salahuddin 😦 I just hope it has a logical ending, happy ho ya sad chalega. Though the show from its first title “Tera Gham Aur Hum” screamed tragedy T_T But oh well…as long as the central love story is worth shipping and without any unnecessary ka drama, I’m all happy! And yay for the 24 episodes! God knows the 33 episodes for DeD turned out to be quite exhausting xD Thanks a lot for this! Can’t wait to actively discuss this drama with you 😉

    P.S – The blog looks much more comfortable now Sadaf! Told you some lighter BG colors will do wonders :*


    • Thanks Mais , this work is really a work in progress … I still have a lot of work to do on it and absolutely no time to do it in !
      As to the drama , yes it certainly does seem more intimate than DeD but that is what is so sad because the actual Story of DeD was similarly intimate and simple about two people trying to overcome the shadows of the past but too much screen time was given to the side actors and the resultant chutney was delicious but still chutney .. I am probably making absolutely no sense because I get obsessive about dramas especially one’s I love !
      Mann Mayal looks really promising and one reassuring factor here is Samira Fazal’s answer of only 24 episodes : That means I crisp , well rounded story rather than the the stretched out story lines producers are forcing to make money . I have Hamza Abbasi may be the reason for the short and sweet number of episodes , becuase he if you look back an interview Sadaf Siddiqui and I ( Sadaf Haider ) conducted with with Khalil ur Rahman Qammar about Pyaray Afzal He begged KRQ to kill Afzal so he could be free of any sequels and maybe further prolonging of the original serial (?). I think Hamza probably has to finish up and start shooting for his upcoming Maula Jat with Fawad et al .
      I think its going to be fantastic , I am actually a fan of the old Samira Fazal , the one who wrote Dastan and Kuch pyaar ka Pagalpan ,Vasl,Mastana Mahi and Mera Naseeb . Those drams were good because they weren’t stretched or desperately commercial , they had a lot of heart and sincerity .
      This drama seems a bit like The great Gatsby .. or Wuthering heights .. the idea is a common theme in many stories but It is a deeply refreshing to see an Actual faithful Male protagonist.. A man who waits , who actually has real emotions …. rather than oh my ammi made me marry someone or , I got angry so I jumped into a marriage …
      Aisha Khan and Maya’s characters look great too .


      • Uff! The woe of DeD giving too much attention to comparatively less important things is what I didn’t like either -_- But overall, I like the directorial treatment of DeD’s story. Editing left a lot to be desired. I do personally think that the show was edited to run longer hence the 33 episodes. I have this feeling that originally the story was supposed to be wrapped in 30 episodes only but the popularity of the show made the channel milk as much as they could out of it.

        The old SF was gold. The new one? Not so much. Her recent outings on ARY were things I hope never happen again. But I blame the channel for it as well. ARY is famous for stretching the shows once they get even slightly popular. I remember well the khichdi which Shukk ended up being though the start was bangin’! Hamza begging KUR to kill off Afzal is a famous thing which everyone knows. Hamza is smart, by killing off Afzal he made that character immortal. I always say an unfinished love story is always more memorable than a happy one. Soch soch ke rone ka jo maza hai uske kya kehne xD But other than that, Mann Mayal is Hamza’s BIG comeback on TV. PA shot him to instant fame and then his social media presence has made him one prominent personality of the country. And sabka pyara Afzal is back on TV. This guy is something..idk..interesting? Because there is no way his professional work (drama) won’t work its way to him personally. I have my fingers crossed that he would’ve have chosen a script which was mediocre or regressive. If he is as progressive as he claims to be, his work should reflect that. He should do quality work himself before saying anything to anyone else.

        That definition of “ammi get me married” made me LOL xD But YES! There is a dearth of men like these on TV. Yaar, hero tou wo ho jisse dekh ke dil mein bohat kuch ho aur sab acha hi ho. There is a part of me who’d always sigh and squeal over these larger than life lovers. Real life mein nahin milte..ab TV pe bhi na mile tou bacha kya? That emphasis on Faithful Male is so on point. I’m pretty sure Salahuddin would be something good. My issue is with Mannu because like I said, I don’t have faith in SF’s heroines anymore. Her last was Haya who was….something 😐 I have faith in the actors and’s the writing which is the actual backbone which has me being cautious.

        A little work from time to time and you’d have an amazeballs thing in your hand! You doing great! ❤


  7. Loved reading the interview. Very intelligent questions and very honest answers. Did you watch Mera Naam Yousuf Hai Sadaf?


    • Yes I watched most of it but got out of it after a while becuase despite Mehreen jabbar’s expert direction it was too much like PA again …
      Thanks for reading the interview .. Finally I look intelligent , with the emphasis on “look” lol


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