Not many people in the showbiz industry get to do what they dream; even less surpass their own expectations. Yasir Hussain is one such lucky person.
For an actor/director who came to Karachi with high hopes, all he had wanted to do was shake the hand of one of his favourite actors Javed Sheikh. In less than five years, he has not only managed to script a role for Javed Sheikh but is all set to debut as a film actor against him in Wajahat Rauf’s Karachi Se Lahore. The talented actor plays Moti, the friend who stutters and has many in-in-interesting lines in the movie.
Let’s hear what the genius has to say ahead of the release of Karachi Se Lahore, his first feature film as a writer/actor releasing on July 31 this year.
The News on Sunday (TNS): Having already made a name as an actor, what propelled you towards writing a script?
Yasir Hussain (YH): There was always a script writer in me, long before I became an actor. The reason I shifted towards it now was that I wasn’t getting good scripts. When you have done Anwar Maqsood’s plays, others seem inferior. Lack of originality and depth of characters was something that was missing from the scripts and I tried to include them in my writing.
TNS: Share the details of your first near-meeting with Javed Sheikh?
YH: (Laughs) I have always been a fan of Javed Sheikh and when I moved to Karachi from Islamabad, I wanted to meet him. One day a stylist friend of mine (who was also struggling in the field like me) told me that he had a trouser that was to be delivered to Javed sahib and if I accompany him, who knows we might meet the actor himself. We climbed into a rickshaw and went to the hotel where he was staying. On reaching the venue, we asked for his room number, only to be told that he had left with instructions that the parcel should be taken from us. I am glad that we didn’t meet that day, otherwise he wouldn’t have agreed to act in my film and praise the script as well.
TNS: Which other actor or actors did you want to work with but were unable to?
YH: Shagufta Ejaz has always been one of the actresses with whom I have wanted to work. May be in the future we can work together because I have always admired her performances. The one actor whom I wanted to meet was Moin Akhtar and we were scheduled to meet at Sabz, a play by Abdullah Farhatullah. Unfortunately, he died a day before he was to grace the auditorium with his presence. We put his picture on the chair so that he could watch us perform, as planned.
YH: First of all, I would say that KSL is not just a film; it’s a teamwork that made us get close to each other. There were many senior actors with us on the sets — Javed Sheikh and Rasheed Naaz — while there were quite a few who were entering films, including the director Wajahat Rauf. He and I have worked on the script for more than two years and we are confident the result will not disappoint you. The film is closer to me because I made new friends during the shooting and by the time the shoot packed up the last day, we all understood each other as if we were lifelong friends. Films achi zaroor ban jati hain, lekin teams kabhi kabhi banti hain (Good films do not always lead to good teams).
TNS: Did you regret the item songs in the film considering the response of the social media police?
YH: Ah! yes the social media police terrifies me. The songs you are referring to are not item numbers, the story depends on them; they were inevitable. Yes, Ayesha Omar and Mantaha Maqsood have danced on the numbers but that’s the difference between television and films. In tv you are restricted because it’s free for all; films are on pay-ticket basis.
TNS: Your second film as scriptwriter Ho Mann Jahan is slated for a release later this year. How did you become a part of that project?
YH: Well I was working on Karachi Se Lahore when Mahira Khan recommended me to Asim Raza for Ho Mann Jahan. Since the story was already final and the casting had been done, all I had to do was write a script that targeted the youth audience. I am quite certain that HMJ will be able to do well when it’s released. I have full trust in Asim’s ability as a director.
TNS: You have made a name for yourself in theatre, TV and films … which one do you prefer the most?
YH: Theatre is every actor’s first love and I would prefer it over any other medium, any day. I also like to thank Anwar Maqsood and Dawar Mehmood for writing such powerful roles for me and selecting me for them, because if the writer/director don’t trust you, then you can’t give it your 100 per cent. In theatre, I get to share the stage with Dawar Mehmood who is not only a good director but also an actor par excellence. In fact when he started his career, I was his senior and even today, he is scared of me (Laughs).
TNS: How does Yasir Hussain the person spends his free time?
YH: I spend my free time as well as work time with my friends and that’s what keeps me sane. I am lucky to have good friends and family. They listen to my complaints, my rants and my ideas and it is due to their encouragement that I am able to do notable work.
TNS: What is the one thing Yasir Hussain wants to do for his fellow actors/writers?
YH: There are a lot of things I would want to do but first things first. In Pakistan we don’t value our writers despite the fact that a good writer can change the fate of a bad project. I want to make writers become stars in Pakistan just like Salim-Javed [Saleem Khan and Javed Akhtar] were in India during the 1970s and the 80s. Once the writers get their due, quality of plays and films will improve automatically.