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Spotlight: Momina Duraid

"For me Moomal Productions is family and we will go places together. People find it hard to digest that Sultana gave her precious child to her me, her bahu, and that too with unwavering confidence and trust. But to fit into her shoes is not an easy task and I want to prove to her that I can do it. The level of quality that she has always maintained has to be taken forward by me, and I will make it happen,” says Momina Duraid.

Momina Duraid believes that the work place is like a second home where one should strive to create a comfortable, balanced and secure environment. “I didn’t want to create a rigid work place environment around me because being a mom to four small kids meant I wanted a place where my children will be free to interact with me. Before I started working, I was known as Duraid’s wife and Sultana Siddiqui’s bahu (daughter-in-law). Hence, I was bhabi to the entire team at Moomal Productions. Today, I feel a respect factor comes into effect by being called thus, rather than being called “Madame” or Mrs so-and-so.”

Momina joined the production house over four years ago, eventually taking over from Sultana, herself a veteran media person and a pro in the field. It is no doubt a tough task to fill her mother-in-law’s shoes, but according to Momina, before joining she had the opportunity of working on and off under Sultana’s ever watchful gaze.

“The pressure was not that great as I started off as a producer of corporate shows which were more in sync with what I had studied as a student of marketing and finance. Since I had learnt everything from Mummy (Sultana), I was subconsciously influenced by the way she handles work in a calm and focused manner,” she says. Furthermore, she considers herself lucky to have “learnt the craft from two top-of-the-line media people — Mummy who taught me production values and Noor-ul-Huda Shah who taught me script sense.”

In regard to her work philosophy, Momina adheres to the rule that one should know about each and every aspect of the project one is working on, otherwise it’s impossible to make other people work wholeheartedly. “Perfection will not come until and unless the project is at your fingertips. You need to have a solid belief in the project. Only then can you transfer that belief to others which results in teamwork and a well-rounded piece of work,” she says.

Momina went completely into drama production with the serial, Mere Paas Paas, after which it has been full steam ahead for Moomal Productions. Last year, two serials, Mere Paas Paas and Lahasil, were nominated at an awards ceremony in eight different categories with Lahasil ultimately going on to win the best director award.

This year two of their serials, Dil, Diya, Dheleez (Hum TV) and Kuch Dil Ne Kaha (Geo) were nominated in five different categories with the best play award going to Kuch Dil Ne Kaha and Bushra Ansari for best actress for the same play.

News has it that an awkward situation arouse at this year’s awards ceremony which created quite a stir when another person was called to receive the award for Moomal Productions. “When the award for best play was announced instead of calling the producer to receive the award, Imran Aslam was asked to collect the same.

In principle, it is the producer who receives the award and if he/she is not there someone else from the team collects it. The situation became slightly odd when I also came on stage and so did Imran. But he immediately gauged the awkward situation and handed me the award. I guess the slight chaos that ensued was because the presenter was not briefed. At the end of the day we won the award for our hard work and that is what matters.”

The general notion that Moomal Productions only cater to their home channel Hum TV is negated by Momina. “Till last year Hum TV was given priority since it was a new channel and they needed a lot of software. But that doesn’t mean that we do not cater to other channels.

We have done projects for PTV among others. Our singular aim is to produce quality programmes and we work hard on each and every project, irrespective of the fact where it is run from,” affirms Momina.

About upcoming projects, Momina points out that they have a great line-up of programmes for this year including her pet project, Mane Na Di; Rifat Shiraj’s (of Dil, Diya, Dhleeze fame) Tahir-i-Lahuti, Bushra Rehman’s novel Pyaasi that has been converted into a soap and Jhumka Jaan, a totally different kind of a project featuring Sania Saeed in the lead role of Jhumka Jaan. However, not wanting to delve into more details for the time being, Momina promises viewers that the new line-up is something to really look forward to.

Moomal Production projects have stood out even with the influx of Indian soaps on from every other channel. They have managed to keep Pakistani drama alive and extremely proud of this fact, Momina says, “Our productions have softened the impact of these copycat plays. Other channels are now striving towards what our dramas are all about. I feel it is a big achievement on our part that we have made a marked difference in their thinking.”

Next on her agenda is to take Moomal Productions to a higher level — and that too not just within Pakistan. On a concluding note she says, “For me Moomal Productions is family and we will go places together. People find it hard to digest that Mummy gave her precious child to her me, her bahu, and that too with unwavering confidence and trust.

It is a big thing for me. But to fit into her shoes is not an easy task and I want to prove to her that I can do it. The level of quality that she has always maintained has to be taken forward by me, and I will make it happen.”

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