Friday 20 November 2015

We didn’t want to be preachy. ‘Ho Mann Jahaan’ is not a sermon: Sheheryar Munawar

02:26 By Lollywood Online

“It’s either sheer talent that brings you in the spotlight or working your way step by step to the top. I, for one, never had the flair for acting. So, I had to take the latter course – almost three years behind the camera, where I actually found solace. But then, Dad lent me a hand with voice training lessons and there I was, on screen! One should always take a good look for taking the plunge.”
This is how Sheheryar Munawar recollects his journey. The actor might not have been around for long but he wasted no time in establishing his identity as the uber-efficient urban Pakistani specimen on TV. And this is exactly how his career’s organic growth lead him to the character of Nadir in the upcoming Asim Raza film Ho Mann Jahaan.
Interestingly though, he does not play Nadir on screen. He ended up swapping his character with co-star Adeel Husain’s own natural fit, the character of Arhaan. “The decision to swap our characters was Asim’s. I was the obvious choice for Nadir and Adeel for Arhaan but we were both game for stepping out of our comfort zones,” he tells The Express Tribune.
Sheheryar says Arhaan was a real challenge. “It was a lot of work. Words like ‘interest’ were supposed to be pronounced as ‘intrast’. It took me a while to absorb the style and tone,” he says.
Not sure about a real-life marriage just yet, Sheheryar says, “I have been married to the film for the past 14 months. We worked 14 hours a day for an entire year. We were all knit together. We celebrated every little achievement. First day of shoot, first song; had we not done that, we wouldn’t have been able to come up with the film.”
Ho Mann Jahaan also marks Sheheryar’s debut on the producer’s seat. “Being the producer and actor wasn’t different for me. It was just more work because I had to be present at the shoot even on my off days. I was the first to arrive and last to leave.”
Sheheryar aimed to keep Ho Mann Jahaan a feel-good film for the audiences. “We didn’t want it to be preachy so we steered away from that. It’s not a sermon. It’s about gaining acceptance with the older generation, not just with a career but an entire lifestyle.”
Getting back to his mention of ‘intrast’, Sheheryar says, “All three characters belong to different stratums of society. The film is about them overcoming every challenge that comes their way. One compliments the other’s strengths and weaknesses. The two boys are poles apart, thanks to their backgrounds, but Mahira’s character acts as the lynchpin between them.”
Ho Mann Jahaan will see the actor-producer, who was never a film man himself, explore new avenues. His own beginnings seeded in theatre. He recalls, “I had opted out of Phantom of the Opera that was being run again, because I was enrolled at IBA and had too much on my plate. Hamza Ali Abbasi replaced me in it.” The next time the two talked business, Hamza wanted Sheheryar on board for his film Kambakht.
“We shot it almost three years ago,” says Sheheryar, who has known the actor-director-activist for five to six years now. With their camaraderie clearly showing, Sheheryar did not shy away from taking a dig at Hamza.
“He got busy updating Facebook statuses and the film never saw the light of the day.” Sheheryar says Hamza wants to release the film now though. “I will kill him if he does,” he quips, adding that although the unreleased project’s script and performance are good enough, its production value is out of date.


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