(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Wed 6 Jul 2022, 6:29 PM
Last updated: Wed 6 Jul 2022, 6:34 PM
Mahira Khan (Bin Roye, Raees) and Fahad Mustafa (Na Maloom Afraad, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2) are ecstatic that their action-comedy, Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, which was scheduled to release in 2021 but got delayed because of the pandemic, is finally coming out in cinemas on July 7.
The charming Pakistani stars along with producer Fizaa Ali Meerza and director Nabeel Qureshi (also the film's writers) dropped into the Khaleej Times office on Wednesday, July 6, to talk up the big-screen entertainer that, judging by its trailer, is an engaging mix of action, romance, and drama with a timely and relevant social message to boot.
Actor Fahad, also a popular television host (Jeeto Pakistan), stars as Gulab, a policeman with questionable ethics whose attitude undergoes a drastic transformation, thanks in part to a strait-laced activist (played by Mahira).
While Mahira had a cameo in Fahad's 2016 hit Actor in Law, this is the first time the two stars are headlining a film together.
Excerpts from our interview:
Ever since we saw the trailer of the movie, the reactions (on social media) have been in superlatives; people have been praising the movie, and even the initial feedback is totally amazing. So how does that feel in the hours leading to the actual release?
Fahad: We had a premiere last night in Lahore, and it was amazing. There were some teary moments, and people were laughing also. So we were all pretty overwhelmed; I don't know how to react, because it's been almost four years now (and) I haven't seen any (movie) release. Neither has Mahira. So I think there were lots of emotions involved, but people loved it in the end. And I hope this time we make a lot of money as well!
Mahira: Yeah, that is the feeling. I mean, the wait has been so long. But also, more than that, like he said, being there in that theater last night... we literally have not slept. We're running on, I don't know, just a little bit of pride, Alhamdulillah, and a lot of excitement. Of course, there's nervousness because, you never know, right? But, we're hoping that the reaction we saw last night continues.
The Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad trailer was very enjoyable, and your characters so vibrant. What can you tell us about them?
Fahad: I'm playing a cop, and it's the first cop film in Pakistan. And as we all know, inspiration comes from everywhere; we can't just say that it's not Rajinikanth's movie, or Salman Khan's movie, and stuff like that. So definitely, we are inspired, and we love them. We've been watching them. But the story that we're telling is actually about Pakistan. So every Pakistani will relate.
It's so relatable that last night, everybody was clapping at the points that we wanted them to clap. So I think it was right on target. The story is such that it's not just a cop movie. It's a wonderful story. I think people will actually love it.
Mahira: I play this girl called Jia and she has an animal shelter at her home. She takes care of animals and looks out for animals and human beings alike. She's very principled. So if things are right, they're right for her. And if they're wrong, they're wrong, no matter who does it. It could be her mom or it could be her boyfriend. It could be anybody. So she is an empowered Pakistani girl of today.
Director Nabeel Qureshi, Mahira Khan, producer Fizza Ali Meerza and Fahad Mustafa
World over, the cinema industry has gone through a very low phase due to Covid. Do you believe that movies like Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad can bring back the audience to the theatres?
Nabeel: Definitely. I think after Covid, people are only coming to the cinema if they want to see something very unique and larger than life. Because indie and parallel cinema has been shifted to Netflix or Amazon. So you need to make larger than life movies with more heroism, because this is what is selling these days. But luckily, we made this movie before Covid. So we were already making a larger than life movie at that time!
I think we are quite lucky that we have made something which is still relevant, even after three years. The story is really unique and as Fahad said, it is a cop movie… but once you watch the movie, I think you will forget that it is a cop movie. And you will take out something very unique.
Mahira: Absolutely. I keep reading that it's inspired and all that… and maybe I hadn't watched enough of those movies. But literally, I was like, even when I watched it yesterday… this is the plot, this is where the twist is! Because it's just such a cool and unique concept, but told in a very simple way.
What is the USP of the movie according to you?
Fizza: It is a unique plot; it's not like an everyday story, it is very much a what-if situation. We all want it to be true for at least our reality, in this day, in our country, and all these countries wherever we are facing corruption and problems because of that corruption. I think it is very much valid for those audiences.
Mahira, you had a cameo in Actor in Law, but this is the first time you and Fahad are headlining a film together; tell us what that experience was like.
Fahad: We were looking for something which was this big, to be very honest. I'm a local star, and to be very honest, Mahira's an international star. So I think this was the right combination at the right time. Unfortunately, Covid hit us very badly. But I think the story was so relevant that everybody still somehow connected with the story.
The chemistry and everything just clicked. And trust me, we both didn't try, it just happened organically. And I think it's growing now.
Mahira: It was really nice. He's very sure of a lot of things. I'm very unsure... He actually said, 'I don't know about anything but we look good together!' (after seeing the movie screening). This is Nabeel and Fizza's best for sure, but it's definitely a Fahad Mustafa show. And I'm glad that all of us actors can support that.
Fizza: I think Mahira's being extremely humble! Can I add that Qavi Khan, the senior actor who's playing Fahad's dad (we were very lucky to have him at the premiere), when he watched the film he sent a voice note saying if Fahad is 'Gulab (rose)' in the film, Mahira is totally the 'khushboo (scent)'.
The movie is coming on the festive occasion of Eid and there are lots of other movies also which are releasing around the same time. Tell us what sets your movie apart and why should people come to watch your movie in particular?
Fahad: I think cinema is going to be an experience now. So you have to come to a cinema hall and watch a film which gives you a complete cinematic experience; if it's not that then it's very difficult for somebody to come out of their houses and buy a ticket and watch a movie. So I think this film has that.
Mahira: It is a big screen spectacle; it is something that you should experience sitting in that theater. Even the VFX and everything - I couldn't believe it because I haven't done them in films; I was like, wow, this is looking so amazing on the big screen.
The drama, the comedy, the tragedy, the romance, the action... but if you ask me on a personal note, I think the fact that you will come out of the cinema feeling really good (sets this film apart). You'll want to salute Quaid-e-Azam whether he's your leader or not. Because it will resonate! You might think of Gandhi, and someone else might think of someone else, but it will resonate, and that's what I like about this film so much.