By Muhammad Asad Ullah
Watching a love story unfold on television is magical, especially with Pakistani drama industry in focus. Everything is kept so real, whether you’re tuning in every week to catch the latest episode of your favourite show or binge watching on YouTube, it’s thrilling to watch as the best TV couples find each other, fall madly in love and give power packed performances. Some keep you waiting on the edge of your seat through breakups and makeups and back again. Some stories open the door for something more. And then there are fairytale endings where the girl gets her prince – fated right from the start, and some have been together forever, providing an anchor for the show. Whether you call it on-screen chemistry or charisma, there are certain pairings that have gone down in history, for their legendary mass appeal. We rarely mention Fawad Khan without Mahira Khan, ditto Osman Khalid Butt and Maya Ali. Nowadays, there is that young lot of actors who are joining the bandwagon of on-screen chemistry, Affan Waheed and Hira Mani being the very recent addition to the list with their popular pairing in Do Bol (2019), a drama serial on premier entertainment channel ARY Digital. Do Bol garnered over more than 181 million total views just on YouTube alone; it instantly struck a chord with masses owing to its relatable storyline and heartfelt performances by the cast.
The duo, Hira and Affan will be love interests yet again in an upcoming drama serial Ghalati (Mistake), directed by veteran actor-turned director, Saba Hameed.
In today’s young and fascinating actors’ rankings, Affan Waheed occupies a very high place. In 2010 he started his dynamic and intense affair with acting, which consecrated him as a highly versatile actor. For his ability to shift from intense to drama, for choosing tricky roles and embracing charitable causes. A young whizz.
So goes for Hira Mani. For Hira, Do Bol was another leap in a career, in which she has moved swiftly from newcomer taking on side roles to an award nominee known for her vast dramatic talents — and yet also for being a vulnerable, relatable, self-deprecating human being. Even if Hira owned a personal helicopter or a collection of rare art pieces, she would not brag about it. The actress still pretty much finds everything that’s happened to her in Pakistan entertainment industry as nutty as the rest of us do. She remains the sort of person who can get nervous about a formal gala, who finds the ritual of posing on the red carpet more than a little strange, and who continues to sound like an outsider and a full-time mom.
Sometimes your one performance sets the standards and all subsequent performances pale no matter how hard you try, but even actor of Affan’s ability and skills feel all the pressure donning on to outdo his Do Bol legacy. He says, “Yes, I am feeling a lot of pressure but I’m just trying to shrug it off because something like Do Bol does not happen everyday. It was a smashing hit and the OST was a rage. It’s too soon for audiences to ignore the chemistry of Ghaiti and Badar. So all of these things put together are adding a lot of pressure. But I’m hopeful. If you come to think of it, your career path cannot be the same – so it’s okay if Ghalati (God forbid) does not do as well as Do Bol did. Yet I want it to.”
However, Hira Mani seems to have it all together, holding it all together with calmness. “I don’t feel any pressure after Do Bol. Because that was another project and Ghalati is an altogether different project, I do not compare both of them. I don’t take Do Bol as pressure, I’m just happy that in such a short period of time in the industry, I’ve given such a hit. I will always just feel proud and happy of Do Bol. I believe if you start taking pressure then you lose on performance,” she says.
The celebrity on screen couple is becoming a phenomenon now in Pakistan as well, and Affan agrees. “There’s nothing wrong in the concept of on-screen couples. And I’m glad that me and Hira have been loved by people so much that we’ve been able to establish ourself along the lines. But people have so much expectations now. However, you know it’s very rare to establish such an on-screen couple concept in dramas. Because you’re almost working every day with new people and new co-stars. So, from that clutter, if something is established – then why not.”
Saba Hameed is one of the renowned veteran actors of Pakistan with a matchless legacy of performances. As she delves into directing, Affan and Hira talks about their experience of being directed by a maestro. Hira says, “Saba Hameed has directed it way too well. The experience of working with her was phenomenal. It made me feel, that I’ve finally achieved something in my career. I’m finally on that level of my performance that I’ve achieved such a fine director. Saba herself have been a wonderful actress, so if she has chosen me for her first project – that meant everything to me.” adds Affan, “I had a great experience with Saba as a director. She has a vision and her hold on content is very strong. You can just rely on her as a director. If I wanted to contribute something as a performer, she would understand it completely and she was conducive with the idea that actors can also contribute. If I must in all fairness say, Saba will emerge as a great director.”
How is Ghalati different? Affan says, “It is different compared to Do Bol for sure. The storyline revolves around just one element, which I cannot disclose right now.” adds Hira, “The serial has got just a regular storyline but its bombed with twists and turns and climax; which audiences would be able to relate to. In short: it’s about a woman who stands up for her dignity, respect and right. Everyone needs to watch this drama because in this Ghalati, is a ‘Ghalati’ which after watching, you won’t repeat that same ‘Ghalati’”
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