Having spent the better part of a day informally with the cast of the summer blockbuster 7 Din Mohabbat In, Mahlia Lone gets to see what Mahira Khan, Shehryar Munawar, Amna Ilyas and Mira Sethi are really like to work and interact with. Their natural camaraderie shows through and, feeling comfortable, they their let their guard down
At this interview, seeing up close your insane schedules, I didnâ€™t realize how hard actors really work to achieve stardom. Tell us about the unglamorous side of showbiz?
Amna: One of the hardest part is during a hectic film promotion schedule you hardly get to sleep.Â We all reported for an interview at 6:30 A.M., but Mahira hardly slept last night.
Mahira: I was at a dubbing session for Maula Jutt till 2:00 A.M. last night. Since I donâ€™t speak Punjabi I have to really concentrate on getting my Punjabi accent right. Then I was up at the crack of dawn for a televised interview, the hosts for which were two hours late on set.Â I havenâ€™t slept for two nights. Right now Iâ€™m pretty sure my eyes are shut but hopefully they are not. Iâ€™m zoning out and super tired but you know you are feeling so tired from inside but you have to put up this face and you are smiling all the time.
â€œIt’s the love that I get from my fans that keeps me goingâ€
Mira: It looks like a charmed life but really the love you get from your fans makes up for all of this (the punishing schedule).
Mahira: Yes, itâ€™s the love that I get from my fans that keeps me going.
Sheheryar: Reminds me of that song by Bob Seger Turn The Page, thatâ€™s what it is right now.
(He hums the chorus)
Here I am
On the road again
There I am
Up on the stage
Here I go
Playinâ€™ star again
There I go
Turn the page
â€œI’m lucky to have worked with these three womenâ€
Tell us what the others are really like in person.
Sheheryar: Iâ€™m lucky to have worked with these three women. Mira is extremely polite. Aamna is very honest to herself and because she is honest to herself she is open about what she says. And Mahira, Iâ€™ve said it before, is the kindest person Iâ€™ve ever known.
Mira: Iâ€™ve known Sherry over the course of 9 month intermittently and what I have shared with him is what Iâ€™d share with my best friend.
Amna: The way Sherry and Mahira were looking out for us was very touching. Mira and Mahira were always calling out for us, while Sherry would always search for me with his eyes in the crowd in an extremely gentlemen like way.
Amna also starred in Meenu Farjadâ€™s critically acclaimed film Zinda Bhaag opposite Naseeurddin Shah
Mahira: Sherry and I have been friends for at least four years now since Ho Mann Jahan and we are completely comfortable with each other (she says punching him playfully on the arm). I can call him anytime if I want to talk or hang out and we really get along well with each other.
Mira earlier you told me that you were looking for a strong script to make your film debut, is that why you chose 7DMI as your film debut vehicle?
Mira: Yes, itâ€™s been written by Fasih Bari Khan. When you write something from the heart thatâ€™s when itâ€™s actually funny. (As opposed to) When you sit down to write with preconceived pretty cooked notions of what it is you want, it often doesnâ€™t work out like that in my experience.
Shehryar: These characters have a little bit of us in them.
The directors of the film Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi directed Zinda Bhaag (2013), Pakistanâ€™s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards that year. How was it working with them?
Amna: I worked with them (the directing duo) on Zinda Bhaag as well. They are great to work withâ€”professional, but relaxed and very considerate. (The others all chorused yes in unison.)
Shehryar, you yourself are a successful film producer (Ho Mann Jahan-2016), was it hard not to want to take over?
â€œWhen you write something from the heart thatâ€™s when it’s actually funnyâ€
Shehryar: No, if you trust the team and they are doing a good job, I focus on the job at hand, acting.
Shehryar you were speaking a regional language that Iâ€™m not familiar with on the phone. Which one is that?
Shehryar: I speak several regional languages of Pakistan. Brahui is my mother tongue since my mom is from Kalash. We speak it at home. Itâ€™s a Dravidian language, spoken by the original inhabitants of the Subcontinent.
I also speak Sindhi fluently. My father is from Sehwan Sharif, where the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is located. Itâ€™s a city like no other; itâ€™s so religiously tolerant and atmospheric. People of all religions and backgrounds come to perform Urs (pilgrimage) there. I really like going back.
What are you wearing to the film premier?
Mira: A designer is custom making an outfit for me.
Mahira: Iâ€™ve had no time to think about this. My stylist will pick something out.
Amna: (With a brain wave) We should wear the same colour like a team.
Mahira: (Excitedly) Letâ€™s all wear black.
Amna: Not black again! Weâ€™ll blend into the background.
Shehryar: (Looking at the ladies) Are we discussing this now? (Sportingly) I can wear green; I like green.
Coordination by Sana Zehra