One can sense the excitement contained within Humayun Saeed as he dwells on what lies ahead for him. He basks in the glory of his past achievements and though he exudes confidence, he has by no means become arrogant. In fact, he is, to date, in spite of his growing star stature, one of the most accessible and down-to-earth actors Pakistan can boast of. Which is why it is easy to empathise with him and share his enthusiasm.
Images approached Humayun for this interview before he flew to Malaysia. He lost the best satellite TV actor award to Nauman Ijaz.
Speaking of awards, Saeed says proudly: “I think I’ve bagged the largest number of awards. I’ve been nominated nine times in different categories, and bagged five in a row. The first year was the only time when I wasn’t nominated at all.”
Before I could ask if that makes him blasé about the awards ceremony this year he pipes in “That is not to say that I am not interested in getting one more. People tell me they’ve won so many awards they’ve lost interest in securing more, and feel they should be reserved for youngsters, but not me. The more I win the more I want to keep winning.
“I feel that if I don’t get an award, it means my fans are tired of me, and I am fading out. What is heartening is that many are viewers’ choice awards, and with a bit of luck and the love of my fans, I have managed to make it so far. The day five sensible people will be asked to sit together and judge me though, I’ve had it.”
Responding to what induced him to join films, and particularly one which is full of loopholes, Saeed justifies “I love films — they are my passion — and from the outset I had planned that this year I would act in movies. My criterion for acting in a film is that it’s sound and picture quality should be impeccable — I was not so concerned with the storyline. I feel that it is the director’s look-out to ensure that the plot is praiseworthy, and it is the responsibility of the actors to make sure that what they act in is of a certain technical standard and that there is adequate effort and money invested in it. On both counts Mein Aik Din Laut Kay Aaon Ga didn’t disappoint.”
Saeed also admits that another reason why he agreed to do the film was to support the producers who he knew were investing heavily in the venture. He adds, “The best part is that people who haven’t been to a cinema in years, I am told, have gone to see it because I am in it.
And considering that it has fared well at the box-office, it seems the movie has been appreciated by the public. I have gained a lot of confidence after doing this film and have begun to take myself seriously. I am now convinced that I will be part of the film industry in the future too, whether as an actor or as a producer.”
Even more exultant about Jawed Sheikh’s film, Khulay Asman Kay Nechay, in which he has also acted, and which is due to be released on Eid this year. Says Saeed, “I’m really looking forward to it — it’s an excellent film. I feel it is three times better than Yeh Dil Aap Ka Hua. Its songs are brilliant; my role is wonderful and the picturisation impressive. I’m really glad that I did it and am confident it will do very well.”
Since our film industry is no longer big enough to keep actors professionally occupied through the year, Humayun Saeed has every intention to continue with television as well, although he does envisage that he may do fewer roles on TV.
He is hopeful though, that after Jawed Sheikh’s film fares well, more competent people will be encouraged to join the industry, and there will be greater opportunities. “Ideally, I would like to do two to three good Urdu films a year. I wouldn’t mind doing Punjabi movies either, as long as they are of sound quality.”
Apart from the awards and his movie, Saeed is very excited about the three serials that he is producing with Abdullah Kadwani under the banner of Seven Skies Entertainment — Sarkar Sahib, Koi Toh Barish and Wilco, the latter being his biggest serial to date and revolving around the army. Elucidating about each he says, “The first has been shot in Dubai and Bhawalpur; the second in Pakistan and the third all over Pakistan and Kashmir, with shooting done under extremely difficult conditions at great heights. The last is about two brothers — while one is in the army, the other is anti-forces. It has been under production for the last three years, and I am acting in it as well.”
Yet another project Saeed is involved in is the production of a film in collaboration with Abdullah Kadwani. Written by Jawed Siddiqui who wrote the script of the famous Indian hit film, Dil Wale Dulhaniya Lay Jayen Gay, the film’s music is by Anu Malik and Gulzar, and it will be shot entirely in LA, USA. Keeping in mind that Saeed’s first serial was also shot in LA, I ask if he regards LA as a mascot city. Says Humayun “I like LA a lot and know many people there. They have been asking me for a long time to do something in LA and since I am familiar with the city, I am keen to do my first film there.”
Not content with making inroads as an actor and producer, Saeed also has great plans for his fashion line. He is planning on re-launching his label with branches in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and is taking into partnership businessmen who hail from the field.
Says he “I was not being able to give my line the attention it deserved, and want its quality to be such that it can compete with any major brand. I feel that I have done so well in my showbiz career that it goes against my image not to have a label that is as respected. Inshallah, I propose to improve its quality substantially.”
Humayun Saeed is of the opinion that anything that is done with dedication and concentration is bound to reflect quality. So far he has been a living testimony to this belief, and it seems he is all set to live up to his convictions.