Saba Ahmed reviews the drama serial â€˜Bashar Mominâ€™
A truly grand undertaking, the drama serial â€œBashar Mominâ€ (BM), is being billed as Pakistanâ€™s most expensive production yet. Faisal Qureshi plays the immoral and ill-tempered lead, along with a host of other talented actors. I sat down with Faisal to talk about BM, a serial packed with twists, and laden with bad-boy appeal.
Faisal tells me it was the desire for perfection of director Ali Raza Usama (of Shahid Afridi fame) that just the initialisation of serial, fine tuning the script, casting, etc., took over five months to complete. The look and wardrobe for each character was carefully hashed out. The team was expanded to feature specialist superstars including Nabila, TT Baji (the makeup artist extraordinaire), Ahmed Bham for exquisite suits, Rani Siddiqui forÂ womenâ€™s wardrobe, Samia Azmay for womenâ€™s accessories, Humayun Alamgir for menswear, Cotton & Cotton and Nadia Chhotani, premium jeweler, to name just a few!
â€œWe took our time and did not rush shooting,â€ says Faisal, adding, â€œthe culture of conducting acting workshops on set prior to shooting â€” something that has become rare in television productions nowadays â€” was revisited for BM.â€ They had script readings and the actors took time conducting workshops to discuss the shades and hues of their characters.
“I receive many messages that say, ‘I hate you, Bashar,'” Faisal laughs, to which my response is always, “It’s a drama!”
â€œAlong the way,â€ laughs Faisal, â€œit was revealed to me that my character is a terribly angry dude. Truth be told, I was a bit anxious after this piece of news!â€ Bashar, an bitter, angry alcoholic, has a complicated back story that will be revealed much later and â€” spoiler! â€” may make everyone hate him less. â€œPlaying Bashar was very new for me and I personally do not get angry as he does,â€ Faisal told me. â€œI have not played a particularly villainous role before.â€ Basharâ€™s character uses anger and intimidation to cover up his insecurities, which makes for very enjoyable cliffhangers along the way. For example, he will just have yelled at someone and will come sit quietly and calmly with his sisters. â€œI receive many messages that say, â€˜I hate you, Bashar,â€™â€ Faisal laughs, to which my response is always, â€œItâ€™s a drama! And you may not feel the same after episode 20!â€ Certainly, our audiences are much less receptive to a character that is grey, and not categorically a villain, or a hero.
I found Basharâ€™s character callous, terrorising Rudaba, his sisterâ€™s nand at whim, and using brute force to convince those close to him. Rudaba and those around him are shown as subjugated by his moody behavior, with no way out. His character in these early few episodes is portrayed as possessing no redeemable human qualities.
Once, while shooting a basant scene, they were scheduled to start at 8 am sharp and just before everything was just ready, a great wind blew down the whole set
The cast and crew came together as a family, Faisal tells me; everyone lent a helping hand. Once, while shooting a basant scene, they were scheduled to start at 8 am sharp and just before everything was just ready, a great wind blew down the whole set. â€œBut everyone struggled to put back the set â€” every crew member, every technician, and all the girls in full hair and makeup!â€ says Faisal. â€œI was running around doing something or the other and Sami too was running around putting out fires.â€
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