| TV 's Fave Couple
Humayun Saeed and Ayesha Khan have ruled the small screen as its most favourite couple for quite some time now. Having won the hearts of fans back in 2002 in their hit drama serial Mehndi, a debut for Ayesha, the couple has since been seen in various critically acclaimed drama serials like Ijazat, Lamha Lamha Zindagi, Tum Ho Ke Chup and now Kaafir. MAG got a chance to catch the duo for a candid chat. Excerpts:
MRH: What is love for you?
Humayun Saeed: For me, love is a caring feeling; you love someone with whom you can share everything.
Ayesha Khan: Love is friendship.
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
HS: Frankly speaking, I celebrate it with my friends and wife by either going to the beach or for dinner.
AK: I don't usually, but I just go for a movie with friends or go for a dinner, that's it.
How many years has it been since you guys first met?
HS: It has been 10 years now since our first serial Mehndi.
Your favourite co-stars other than each other?
HS: Sania Saeed, Mahnoor Baloch and Mahira Khan.
AK: Noman Ijaz.
How have you both changed over the years since you met each other, first as actors and now as friends?
HS: Ayesha and I weren't really friends before, there was always a distance but then we became friends and have been for the last three or four years. Whatever reservations we had about each other got cleared once we became friends. From a career point of view, she was always a good actress, but after she took a break and came back from Canada, she's been phenomenal.
AK: He hasn't changed much which is the best part about him. Fame hasn't gone to his head and he is as selfless as he was before which I think is the best quality; he has no insecurities and no inhibitions.
Out of all the work that you both have done together, which one is your personal favourite?
HS: Ijazat and Mehndi are both special and personal favourites for me.
AK: All of them, because somehow people find them to be really really nice and so all of them are really special for me. They've established us as the darling and sweetheart couple of the industry and these days it's going on.
Are there any plans to produce a sequel to the drama serial Tum Ho Ke Chup since a lot of issues were highlighted in it?
HS: Not for Tum Ho Ke Chup, but yes there are plans for Ijazat 2.
How has the Lollywood experience been so far, and since a lot is being done for the revival of cinema in Pakistan, what plans do you have to contribute in this regard?
HS: I am producing a film which is due to be released this year. It'll be the first Pakistani sports film.
AK: I am already doing a movie which Humayun is not a part of; the title is Waar and is directed by Bilal Lashari.
If given an offer to work in a movie together, would you consider it?
HS: Yes, definitely!
AK: Yes, if I get a chance, I'd love to do a film with him, but I'd love to do a film anyway (laughs)!
What kind of characters do you both like to play?
HS: I love romantic characters.
AK: Anything that I haven't done, and there isn't much left.
What things do you both consider before accepting a role?
HS: The script, who's making it, the director and the character.
AK: Just the script, that's it... nothing much.
Your comments about the wonderful on-screen chemistry you both have.
HS: I think it's quite good, because we are very comfortable with each other. Plus it's the people who tell us that tum dono buhat ache lagte ho saath (you guys look really good together). I haven't just heard this about me and Ayesha, I used to hear this from people about me and Sania, even Sadia and Mahnoor, and nowadays I hear more about me and Ayesha. Once you become friends, you automatically become comfortable with each other and that shows on-screen.
AK: I don't know (laughs), we are just being ourselves really, we are just friends and actors. I never thought that whether chemistry hai ya nahi hai (is there or not). If it works for people, then I think we are doing it right.
The question that you hate being asked the most?
AK: Anything that's rumour or personal, I hate responding to it, because I am done giving explanations. At the end of the day everyone wants to think what they think, so why do I bother even wasting my breath on it.
What do you think about the onslaught of new talent on TV?
HS: I am very very happy, because it's been fifteen years that I've been hearing who the second Humayun Saeed will be and a lot of guys are doing a great job these days, mainly Imran Abbas, Fahad Tunio, Adeel Hussain and nowadays Fawad Khan. I am happy that the industry is growing fast these days and we are getting to see new talent like Sanam Baloch and Mahira.
AK: I think it's awesome. More educated people from good backgrounds should come because we need to change the image and go global, it's about time. We have everything we could possibly want to put ourselves on the map.
Your favourite directors?
HS: Umm… Mehreen Jabbar, Haissam Hussain, Shahid Shafaat and Marina Khan.
AK: It changes, but these days it's Shahid Shafaat because he is a lot of fun to work with. He is very calm, knows his stuff well, and he knows his characters' draft really well. Not a lot of people tell you what to do and how to do it, but he does.
Your inspiration as an actor?
AK: God, even that changes over time! All my seniors, Rubina Ashraf, Sania, Nadia... all those people have been an inspiration.
Nowadays, most dramas are based on bold and tabooed themes. What's your take on that?
HS: See, all this happens in our society. I hear that a lot that aap log itna zyada kyun dikha dete hain (why do you portray so much). When you make simple stereotyped dramas, people say there is nothing new. On the other hand naysayers cannot digest it when you try to do something new, and different, as a producer and as an actor, which is very bad. Bringing such issues on the forefront and addressing them, changes people's perspectives and their way of thinking. It makes a difference and I've seen it happening.
AK: I think everything happens in society and to talk about it is not taboo. We should make sure that everyone is aware of these things. We are doing a drama that is bold and the message that it's giving is that everything has its consequences. Nobody is saying that anything taboo or controversial has a happy ending, so I think everything needs to be discussed, we are in the 21st century, what's wrong with that?
Where do you see yourself headed in a few years' time?
HS: I want to become a film producer. Since we don't have too many filmmakers here, you cannot really see where you stand as an actor after ten years. So you have to do things yourself, produce films yourself, whether it's for your own self or for youngsters, so that you can take people in a new direction and towards a new genre. I've done a lot in television, whatever my contribution has been for the last fifteen years, I have done a lot of plays and I've done the most number of productions in Pakistan, but the next step that I'd like to take is for the revival of cinema.
AK: Well, as I said earlier, I have a film coming up, I'd like to see how that fares and then maybe a whole lot of films but I am definitely getting a little bored with dramas so I need to explore. I have an international project coming up and I am quite excited about it.
Your comments about Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy's nomination for the Oscars.
HS: She's the first Pakistani to get nominated and it's a great honour. There's a joke in our industry that itni mehnat kyun kar rahe ho, kaunsa tumhe Oscar miljayega (why are you working so hard, you won't get an Oscar for it) and her nomination proves all this wrong, plus it gives you that confidence that if she can do it, so can you.
AK: Simply ecstatic!
What do enjoy the most, other than acting?
HS: I enjoy acting the most, more than production.
AK: Well I love being at home, vacationing and sleeping till 6 pm, but I can't do that all my life (laughs), so, yes, I love acting, it's my passion!
What do you think about the award culture in Pakistan?
HS: We just have one award ceremony, and they are doing the best they can. I think we should have more of them.
AK: I don't believe in it and I have never been to award ceremonies. Every award that I have won has been delivered to my house.
Our drama industry is on its peak and is still flourishing, how do you see its future?
HS: Whenever something is at its peak, there is always a fear that it will come down. I think all the channels and producers should think about what should be done so that it stays there and progresses further instead of declining. It's been a trend in our society that whatever goes up, be it a business or something else, after a point it starts declining and right now all the producers and channel owners should think about trying new things and experimenting so that this industry goes one step ahead, not behind.
AK: I think it's going to go places.
Pakistan is now producing degree-holding filmmakers, in your opinion is that benefiting the industry?
HS: Definitely, these are the people who will bring a change in the industry.
AK: Absolutely! Bilal Lashari, with whom I recently worked is out of this world. He is the best of the best in filmmakers and everyone should watch out for him.
What would you like to tell us about your upcoming projects in 2012?
HS: In serials, I've got Dur-e-Shehwaar, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan, Kankar, Meri Behen Meri Dushman, Bhatti I Love You and Samjhota Express. Meanwhile Pal Mein Ishq Pal Mein Nahi, Kaafir, Mehmoodabad Ki Malka, Kaash Mein Teri Beti Na Hoti, Middle Class are being aired these days. And I am producing a one of its kind sports film which I will announce soon.
AK: Absolutely nothing, I am mum about them right now (laughs). I am finally on a few months break after seven years, so I just don't want to think about it, and want to enjoy this time.
A message for your fans.
HS: Since fifteen years they've been giving me this respect, and it's a great feeling. It's my fans who have given me this celebrity status for so long and I know that if I don't work well, I would lose it. So I'd say to them, keep watching, I'll try to do better and better every time.
AK: I cannot thank them enough, because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here for sure. I get all their feedback and I appreciate it, and it means the world to me.
Interview: Muhammad Rahat Hussain
Make-up: Ghazia @ Alle'nora (Annie's Signature Salon)
Outfits: Muneeb Nawaz for Humayun Saeed. Rooha, Moazam Abbasi & Shagufta Imam @ The Designers for Ayesha Khan
Photography: Shahbaz Shazi