With movie season falling upon us next week, Fahad Mustafa is set to star in 2 out of 3 big budget films this time around. Taking the screen in Load Wedding as the lead, and in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 as part of an ensemble cast, it looks like a very happening year for the star.
Meeting Nabeel Qureshi, Fizza Ali Meerza and Fahad Mustafa, i.e. the award-winning team behind Load Wedding, made for an interesting conversation on what makes one a star and why Fahad thinks he’s one, amongst other things! While Nabeel and Fizza kept chipping in their responses here and there, Fahad remained seated, cross-legged with a cup of coffee and his undivided attention towards the conversation.
His poker face not giving away much, yet that humour we see on television very much present like it was second nature to him. Many have previously described Fahad to be arrogant, (and he has admitted it himself!) but I feel blunt would be a better word. He clearly isn’t afraid to say it as is, and stands by his opinions strongly; something many actors fail to do as they try to win over fans and keep a charming persona. The actor is charming, in his own blunt way, and that is primarily what made this conversation fun.
Edition: Our neighbours like Iran and India have a very definite identity when it comes to cinema. What would you say is Pakistan’s cinematic identity?
Fahad: Us. We’ve been telling stories that actually are from Pakistan, they’re not generic. If you watch Actor-in-law, Na Maloom Afraad, this [Load Wedding] in particular also, these are the stories which can only be told in Pakistan because these are our stories. How do you create cinema? By telling stories that are happening around you, and I think our films don’t have that Bollywood type touch and are very relatable. We’re taking baby steps right now and I think it will take time. Somewhere we have found our own cinema.
What is the standard that you feel our cinema needs to come up to?
Nabeel: The standard is Actor-in-Law, Load Wedding and Na Maloom Afraad.
Fahad: Good story-telling should be the standard. It’s not the cost or look of the film, I think nobody cares about that. At the end of the day if you go and watch a film that is telling a very good story, that has something to offer, it doesn’t matter if it’s shot in Paris or Burnsroad.
Being professionals in the industry, what would you say is the difference between being a movie star and a TV star?
Nabeel: That you make more money? [laughs] To be honest I don’t know.
Fizza: The perception itself is different. When you talk about movie stars, it is the difference that you see between the small screen and the big screen…most TV stars turn into film stars but it’s a very big leap of faith.
Fahad: I’d want to do films all my life, but it’s the audience that decides, I can’t…Worldwide people are leaving cinema and coming on TV with Netflix, Amazon etc but I like being on the big screen. I’m old school like that. I’m in no way degrading TV, I come on TV every Friday and Saturday!
Who do you think is a film STAR in our industry, and not just an actor?
Fahad: Your box office shows it, it’s Humayun Saeed, it’s me-
Nabeel: Mehwish Hayat!
Tell us what makes Load Wedding unique?
Fahad: It’s a very innocent love story, it’s pure and old school. There’s no social media mohobbat, there’s no Twitter, Whatsapp and selfie mohobbat.
Nabeel: It’s socially relevant, the story and the characters are very realistic. It’s unique because it’s simple and normal.
Being a game show host yourself, how much do you agree with this game show culture?
Fahad: Absolutely agree with it. Why not? It happens worldwide. Ellen smashes a bottle on someone’s head and it’s considered cool, if I put cake on someone’s face it’s a problem. They say ‘he’s calling someone fat’, if the woman is happy what is anyone’s problem? It’s the first time that her weight is of any use to her! People are happy to be on my show. If I was rude to someone or was degrading someone then people can point it out.
There was an issue recently..
Fahad: What was the issue? Why was it a problem?
People said that you were degrading the little girl.
Fahad: If you didn’t make a nice drawing would I tell you it’s nice? Would I fool you? I talk to my kids like this too, you need to tell them to do better. That’s what the real world is like because nobody else cares. I told the same to 4 other kids too. Social media is a fraud! In real life everything goes.