1) Mere Pass Tum Ho is releasing on Indian tv, how are you feeling? And what are your expectations?
- Mere Paas Tum Ho is a show which was extensively loved in Pakistan and enjoys a huge fanbase. It brings me immense pleasure as Zee Zindagi DTH is all set and prepping for the huge launch of the show on a greater scale to reach even wider audiences. I hope like it did in Pakistan the show receives a lot of love in India as well.
2) How connected do you feel with your character ‘Danish’, do you think love is enough for survival?
- Danish and I have completely differing personalities as he is comparatively more simpler and naive than me, but emotionally I believe he and I are quite alike. As my wife and I have been together for about 25 years, like my character - Danish in the show I don’t want my marriage to end up like that because I love my wife. To conclude, I sympathize with my character for the way his story ended.
3) You are the producer of the show as well, hypothetically, if the show had to be made in India, who do you think from Indian actors would fit the lead cast?
- As much as I would love to perform the role of Danish during the remake of the show in India. After a lot of thinking, I believe Danish would’ve been best played by Manoj Bajpayee, and the stunning Arjun Rampal for Shehwaar’s character.
4) The show received mixed reactions and some even criticized the storyline, of a woman cheating on her man in the relationship. What do you have to say about this? Do you think the audience is yet to open doors to such content? What do you think will help bring change?
- As much as women are caught cheating on theirhusbands is quite a rare thing to hear. There arecomparatively a lesser number of women cheating on men but completely denying it is incorrect. This conversation in itself is quite controversial and hence it's been an untouched topic for entertainment. The character of Mehwish in Mere Paas Tum Tum Ho was strongly manipulated by Shehwaar, which was one of the reasons for her cheating on her husband hence proving women always have strong reasons that lead to such circumstances. To conclude, women choose cheating as their last resort due to their respect in society. The reason for Mere Paas Tum Ho’s huge success is because of its unique storyline which is different than usual.
5) What do you feel that connects Indian audiences to Pakistani content?
- I think the simplicity of the character is the connecting point for Indian audiences to Pakistani content. Like in Indian OTT series, characters are subtly unveiled with less dramatization, our dramas are much similar to that. If you note the use of songs is quite less in Mere Paas Tum Ho which leads to the feeling of simplicity.
6) Do you think OTT somewhere helped blur the lines between the two countries with content from both Indiaand Pakistan being exchanged and viewed?
- Due to unfortunate events as the OTT culture hasn’t developed as rigorously as it did in India due to the advent of multiple OTT platforms, television and drama remain to be the most apt medium for entertainment in Pakistan. Whereas, I view a lot of Indian OTT shows on platforms like Netflix and Amazon and continue to support and love their work. Youtube on the other hand remains to be the platform that helps in blurring the lines as fans from India have consistently watched our dramas here. And of course, Zindagi has been successfully providing their fans with cross-border content which I appreciate.
7) At a recent event in Dubai, you mentioned that you’d want to come to India. Which are the filmmakers that you’d like to collaborate with?
- Visiting India has always remained to be on the top of my wishlist apart from going there for work, I miss having vacations with my family and meeting all my fellow actors like Sharad Kapoor, Amir Khan, Gulzhar, etc. I truly wish the barriers open and we can visit each other’s events without any hesitance and difficulties in visa to celebrate together as artists.
8) Any Indian actors and filmmakers' work that you watched recently and have liked it?
- There are multiple names that I would like to mention but my favorites remain shows/movies like Jubilee, Mirzapur, Sacred Games, Delhi Crime, Gangubai, etc. These shows and films have amazing actors who have performed phenomenally well.