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Some Dillagi with Faiza Iftikhar and Nadeem Baig

 

12650813_10153469534797711_6112909852051565152_n Spring is in the air and Tv channels are launching the brightest and best serials for the new season. Anyone watching ARY Digital cannot fail to see the intriguing teasers for the new drama serial Dillagi. It boasts a formidable star cast including Humayoon Saeed and Mehwish Hayat, fresh from their blockbuster movie hit Jawani Phir nahi Aani. Their amazing on screen chemistry is once again being utilized, this time for the small screen. Dillagi is produced by Six Sigma, directed by Nadeem Baig and written by Faiza Iftikhar. Baig is the now famous director of Pyarey Afzal, the serial that made Hamza Ali Abbasi a household name and what is now the no1 all time grossing movie in Pakistan  Jawani Phir Nahi Aani . Faiza Iftikhar is a popular author and groundbreaking scriptwriter, whose dramas like Roag ( a Lux Style Award winner ) and AunnZara whose popularity has touched astronomic heights on both sides of the border. This is their first collaboration. We caught up with them to talk about their new project Dillagi.

What inspired you to write Dillagi ?

Faiza Iftikhar: I took a break from writing in 2013 because I did not want to write the same kind of story over and over again Channels were asking me to write something similar to my drama Roag or some other current topic but I cannot repeat what I have already written and especially not what someone else has already covered. I have never written anything to order, I simply cannot. So when Nadeem Baig came to see me about a serial I kept coming up with excuses in the hope I could put him off.

What excuses did you make ?

Faiza Iftikhar: I said, “my heroine will not allow anyone to slap her”. I really was not in the mood to write anything so I added “Actually my heroine will do the slapping, be warned, she will slap the hero.” Baig Saheb was undaunted and said fine. Again I wanted to put him off so I said” my heroine will not be mazloom at all. In fact she will be quite zalim and khabees.” He was a little taken back, but told me that he didn’t even want to know the story and that I could write exactly what I wanted. After that I had no way out and the story of Dillagi came to me. And yes, the heroine Anmol is not the typical bholi, mazloom larki; she is not empathetic at all and may well annoy people.12735687_1343755882305154_1859321045_n (1)

Why would she annoy people?

Channels want heroines who bring tears to the audience’s eyes. We also have a strange concept of women in our society; either they are very good or very bad. Either they are very intelligent or very stupid, nothing in between.  People are much more complex than that and I cannot write such perfect characters. When I see these perfect one dimensional characters on screen it makes me laugh. I cannot take them seriously. Characters have to be rooted in observation and reality to be authentic.Dillagi1

Can you tell us something about the story of Dillagi?

Dillagi is a love story, but unlike most love stories it is one sided. On one side there is love and on other side absolute hatred. One person is taking the relationship in a positive way and the other person is taking it as a challenge. Dillagi can mean true love or a flirtation, a game and that fits the story.

 Humayoon Saeed plays Mohid , the hero of Dillagi. Tell us how Humayoon Saeed he has managed to look twenty years younger ….yeh kaisa jadoo hai ,uncle sey bhanja phir sey kaisey  bann gaey ?

Nadeem Baig: Hahahahhaha….. He has always been a good looking man with a great screen presence and I might add a close friend. When we shot the Jawani Phir Nahi Aani court room scene, I decide his look for Dillagi, that day. Just a clean shave after 4 years and it  gave him a fresh look , of course he keeps his weight in check.

How do you see Mohid, the hero of Dillagi, is he an inspirational character?

 Faiza Iftikhar: I think this dialogue of Mohid defines his character very well…” Main ghalat kaam b bohat sahi tareeqay say karta hoon…Magar kabhi kabhi koi sahi kaam ghalat tareeqay say kar baethta hn…admi ghalat nahi hon.” (I may do the wrong thing in the right way but sometimes I do the right thing in the wrong way. I am not a bad man.) Yes He is inspirational in a way.Dillagi2

Nadeem Baig: I think Mohid’s character is tailor made for Humayoon…. This is a story of mistrust, how we completely misinterpret people. Yes you might say that he is actually inspiring, but as Faiza says , Wo kabhi kabhi saheeh kaam bhi ghalt tareeqay se kar daita hai. He is not naïve, in fact he is very intelligent.

From the trailers of Dillagi, the heroine, Anmol, seems to be manipulating him, so is he really that smart?

Nadeem Baig :Par jab dil kaheen lag jay tau intelligence bhi dhari reh jati hai ( when you fall in love you leave intelligence behind.) Anmol is actually not a manipulating or calculating sort, rather the opposite she is an impulsive girl. I think women are actually quite strong in our society they take their own decisions and unlike Men they are able to multi task .I like to show thinking women in my dramas.

Faiza Iftikhar: Anmol is a character that suffers not because she is bholi or naïve but because she is overconfident. She is a strong woman who makes quick decisions but just because you are confident it doesn’t mean you are right every time. You should consider what other people say especially your parents. Anmol has all the qualities I admire in woman; she is very hardworking, independent, proud and self-made. She is not defined by simply by being a wife, a mother or a daughter; she is a person in her own right.

Dillagi3  How do you create this magical thing called chemistry?

Nadeem Baig: I actually don’t know for sure, but I strive for the feeling of every scene and push my actors to give me that feeling in that moment. I think it is a director’s job primarily to inspire his actors. I become obsessive with the actors about their performance. Those who have worked with me understand me so well that they pick up on what I want. Jaisay Aiza…..she only had 8 scenes with Hamza in Pyarey Afzal but made people believe in the relationship she is a very hardworking and a very good girl.

 Mehwish Hayat is playing Anmol. We have recently scene her in very modern avatars but in Dillagi she is back to portraying a traditional middleclass girl, was it an easy transition?

I am very happy with her….she has really worked hard and given 100 percent. You will see she has carried some tough dialogues really well.  When she read the script she was really excited, I am glad she trusted me and said yes to the role.

What can you tell us about other actors in Dillagi?

Saba Hamid has given yet another award winning performance….She also got nominated for Lux Style Awards for both my previous plays. She is mother who has a strong belief in values….but not in a negative way. Vo Anmol ka aks hai. ( she is a reflection of Anmol) and Faiza Iftikhar has given her some beautiful scenes and words to say. The supporting cast is full of good actors like Imran Ashraf and Asma Abbasi.Dillagi 4

What kind of actors do you prefer Intuitive or thinking?

Have you seen Manjali, that was my first serious play and my first serial with Khalil Saheb? It has to be a mix of both spontaneous acting and thoughtful. I have to say I don’t like method acting. I say it must come from the heart. When you know wat you are doing it becomes easy. Good actors are always intelligent people. You have to come on to their level and build trust. As i say…goofs (unintelligent people) can never be great actors.

What do you want to say to the audience about Dillagi?

I want the audience to interpret this story themselves without preconceptions. They should watch because it is different, It is not a run of the mill Saas/Bahu story and it is deeply romantic. It will also marks a return to TV for Humayoon Saeed after 5 years.

A few words about your super hit film Jawani Phir Nahi Aani?

Well I had one rule for JPNA, I wanted to be able to watch it with my family and that rule will remain with me. My favourite scene was the DDLJ spoof at the end. The toughest part of making JPNA was convincing the producers we could actually make a good film that was it. The transition from drama to film was not difficult I guess main “shuru sey hee thora filmi tha ha ha ha..” But it is true that the craft of storytelling is different for films. Honestly JPNA was not difficult because I was prepared and had visualized it.

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A few inevitable questions about Pyarey Afzal ..

    For the fans of Pyaray Afzal, aap nay ussey kiyuun maara ?

Nadeem Baig: Everyone asks me that question even my mother….I don’t think you can get away with a murder. …No matter how justified we might think it was. …a sad end to a beautiful love story

  I want to call you a magician because you made all those beautiful but long Urdu dialogues so accessible.  Especially those spoken by Maulvi Subhanullah (Firdause Jamal) and Ruqaya begum (Saba Hamid)

Not a Magician at all just honest and passionate about my work. The change I could make to the script was that I didn’t let them sound that dramatic. I made them easy to listen by working hard on the dialogue delivery with each actor be it Aiza, Suhaii, Mehwish or SanaSaba Hamid and Firdause Jamal are brilliant actors. This was my first time to work with Firdause Saheb. I just tried to make his character real that was it .Authenticity and absolute genuineness. Initially he would get upset with me when I checked him .But then I took time with him and asked him to trust me. As to Saba, she is always effortlessly brilliant. You will see her shining in Dillagi again.12484815_947243952038362_4824293900447855994_o

Apart from Dillagi do you have any other projects coming up?

Nadeem Baig: It’s a love story a film written by Khalil ur Rehman Qamar. I cannot say much more, because nothing is finalized yet.

Faiza Iftikhar:  I have several projects in the works. One is with Big Bang productions starring Faysal Qureshi and Iraj Fatima but untitled as yet. Another project coming to your screens soon is Nigaar Khana. In Urdu Nigaar Khana means “studio”, this project is about the heyday of the Pakistani film industry. Nigaar Khana’s cast includes Saba Qamar, Mikaal Zulfikar and others.

Sadaf Haider

This article first appeared in Dawn Images

 

 

 

 

 

26 Comments »

  1. There is no doubt that PAK TV has bounced back – and bounced back with same intensity with which it made its place – those were days of 35mm but they created a niche. After a gap of almost two decades – we see same intensity but in some better equipment in use.
    I would focus on DIL LAGI. Every care has been taken in characterization , camera, direction, lighting ….and continuity but there are couple of things which DIRECTOR could have …
    1. Mohid in some shorts looks close to 40 – his body also supports a NON-GYM body of man close to 40. There is no doubt he is very dangerously intense actor – very experienced and very promising – I think makeup and camera could have covered but ……
    2. While showing a character who is DON / BHAI having a PRESENCE in a city – his clout / atmosphere doesnt support that. WRITER seems to have missed correct portrayal of his character.

    Once again, I want to thank and be grateful to every one associated with this projects- its wonderful ! and mesmerizing.

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      • ? You mean, you didn’t expect people in Canada to see and appreciate ?
        Anyway – I disagree that mere taking care of detailing makes a mind blowing creation – This is team work and Director’s domain..right from choosing a script , to casting, and then execution …there are triple the number on backstage, unseen who played important role in a project…I am not taking away credit from actors, because it’s they who are front soldiers- and we relate and emote through them.
        Just finished watching DIL LAGI and once again, its a treat ….

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  2. I am surprised and happy, she said “the girl will not be slapped in fact will be slapping”! this is quite a fresh perspective 😀
    It is always very positive to have a strong female role especially for girls. It is true that girls are either nice or bad / smart or stupid, which quite superficial and it does not take the individual in account (personality or past). I am looking forward for this show 😀

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  3. So im here to clarify some questions..i took a break from writing in october 2013 ..meri zindagi hai tu was on air and uff ye mohabbat , apki kaneez and kahani minahil and raima ki were on shoot..and yes i had to complete kanch ki guria..which was supposed to air in 2014 but as u all know about Geo,s situation ..it got banned for months..i did,nt write a single word for next 10 months….the reason i have mentioned in interview ..i have written 3 more scripts after dillagi..nigar khana..shayad and one for big bang..I hope this time I will never hurt your expectations ..thanks

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  4. Thank you Sadaf. This was such a fun, entertaining interview of the both of them.

    Faiza Iftikhar is my all time favourite writer. I think she is extreamely talented, can write a lot of different genres. This time she got lucky with a good director, big budget & an amazing cast also.

    Really looking forward or Dillagi.

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  5. I read two reasons to give this drama a try – independent and proud woman. Actually, my bar is very low – if a woman doesn’t act like any of the GulErana ladies or Sanam Jung in that Subh ka sitara, I’m ready to give them an award, sorry I mean watch the drama. But there is no escaping the uncleji hero, kya? But whatever baby steps..first lets the get the ladies’ characters straight.

    @Sarah, Kanch ki gudiya and Uff yeh mohabbat were Faiza Ifthikar’s ? oh well, (urdu) illiteracy is good for me, then. I would have judged her big time. I gave up on both of them somewhere in the middle.

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    • Faiza had me at ” my heroine wont be slapped” . which is the level we have gotten to that a heroine that refuses to be abused or insulted is “unusual ” . What happened to Khirad , and Kashaf and Kiran and Zara and Meesha and all the other women I used to see on TV who had so much inherent dignity that they refused to play games or be a pawn ?
      The promos and teasers are really winning me over . Have you seen the one where the hero’ smother finds her daughter is being abused so she tells her dmaad the only way hisaab baraber hoga is when he gets slapped back ? I decided then and there this is the serial I want to review .
      I dont like saints , the good girls suffering abuse on TV make me vomit and I am ready for a change . Dont get me started on Gul e Rana . GeR makes Adeel the rapist seem like a nice guy and Sanam Jung well her caharacter in MSKS was hardly inspiring . The message of all these serials , be a punching bag and eventually the abuser will get tired … no thanks .

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      • oh yes, that promo was so totally cool. i just hope they dont go overboard though, with the maar peeth, equality, feminism etc. All we want to see are normal thinking individuals – no saints or demons. Thora tastefully, intelligently karein toh, bring it on, i say.
        There are so many accomplished, yet normal, self respecting women, leading beautiful lives that we want to see on screen and inspire the younger generation. Not just caricatures.

        Would you recommend any other show with the Aunn Zara kind of women? So normal and loving, yet SO full of power!

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            • hmm ok since you have done the biggies lets try a few other s … Sheher e dil kay Darwazey , Roag , Deeya Jaley ,Mohabat rooth Jaey tho ( if you can put up with a younger version of uncle ) . These are all written by Faiza iftikhar . and of course the fabulous , awardwinning Roag. I loved Mohabbat Rooth jaey tho because it was about child marriage and how the the husband is the one to set the girl free . Rehaii is another fabulous drama , this time written by Farhat ishtiaq , Then there is the recent Kankar on domestic Violence but I wish I the abuser suffered more .. Please watch Daam . That is a landmark drama like Roag .

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              • Thanks much, Mona and Sadaf. Kankar was a very disturbing watch. I watched it immediately after i did DeS and it was not easy at all. Talkhiyan was the Arundati roy story right? I do not like Arundhati Roy’s writing. at all. but I tried to watch it for the excellent Hina Bayat but couldn’t sustain interest in that after a while.

                I have heard you talk so much about Daam (and now Roag). Let me get started with them 🙂

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  6. Faiza Iftikhar stopped writing in 2013? Then what were those horrible serials on air in 2014 and 2015 – aap ki kaneez, kanch ki guriya, uff yeh muhabbat, meri zindagi hai tu, and others…?

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    • lol .. well I quite liked Kanch ki guriya , just didn’t like Sami Khan’s hairstyle in it 😉 AAp ki Kaneez and Uff yeh mohabbat had their moments but I agree they were not Faiza’s best work . I can only guess but I think they may hav ebeen written earlier , obviously it takes time to get a serial up and running on air . I have to say I haven’t been this hopeful about a serial since AunnZara ,so lets see what happens .

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