There is no denying that the star-studded Jawani Phir Nai Ani 2 is Pakistan’s grandest movie to date in terms of cast, glamour, direction, cinematography and locations etc. The film was a raving success, opening to full houses and breaking box-office records. While the stars and the director of the film tend to enjoy the limelight and attention of a film’s success, the final product is actually the labour of love of an entire team who dedicate their day and night to it.
Pakistan Today got in touch with one of the assistant directors of JPNA2 Musaddiq Malik, who worked directly under ace director Nadeem Baig, to gain more insight into what behind the scenes. A fresh graduate of the National College of Arts, Lahore, Malik describes himself as a small town boy with big ambitions in life and a sense of responsibility towards those around him. JPNA2, his first mega project was a massive hit, and while he is ecstatic over the response it received, he feels that he is pretty late according to his own timeline of goals in life.
How does it feel to be part of such a big project so early in your career? How would you describe your success?
It’s no surprise that it feels great. I am elated at the response the film has received.
For me, success is not about the numbers or how many crores the film made at the box office, I mean that is wonderful, but it honestly doesn’t matter at my level [as an assistant director]. For me, fulfilling the day to day tasks, on-set is success.
How was life on set? Any favourite memory?
Life on set was chaotic and challenging, to say the least, as more than 100 people were working together to achieve a specifically designed act. Everyone had a job to do, and in that very moment, each person on set is important.
Moreover, every single day of the shoot was memorable for me, but to be specific, one was when I shared screen space with big names while playing the goon in Turkey and Dubai; and secondly when I directed my first scene with Mawra and Fahad; that feeling was something I can probably never explain in words.
Who taught you the most on set?
From Nadeem Baig to the boom operator, I learnt something from everyone. Spending time with Kanwaljeet Singh, Sohail sahab or anyone on set for that matter, everyone changed something in me. But if I have to name someone specifically, that would be Nadeem Baig and Vasay Chaudhary.
How was your experience working with director Nadeem Baig and Humayun Saeed, the producer?
Working with Nadeem Bhai was not easy, but that is because he wants everything done in a certain way, achieving which can sometimes become difficult. But his focus on his work and the meticulous way he does it is a learning lesson for us all.
I think one simply cannot, not like Humayun Bhai. Not only is he always fun to be around but is also very humble for a superstar, which makes him a gem of a person.
I consider myself to be very lucky to have had the chance to work and spend time with these two.
Describe each member of the lead cast in one word.
Humayun Saeed: Superstar
Fahad Mustafa: Energetic
Vasay Chaudhry: The sane one
Ahmed Ali Butt: Showstealer
Kubra Khan: A beautiful person inside out
Mawra Hocane: Fierce
Sarwat Gilani: Quintessential artist
Uzma Khan: Astonishing
Sohail Ahmed: Living legend
Kanwaljit Singh: Amazing human being
Omer Shahzad: Natural. It’s rare to come across someone who acts as naturally as him
So now a little about the young talent, his future projects and aspirations.
What made you decide to choose this field?
It may come across as something unusual but PTV has been an immense inspiration. I grew up watching dramas on the channel and over time I realised that this was my calling. I have also been fascinated and intrigued by Urdu literature.
Who in the Pakistani film industry inspires you?
It’s hard to name people because almost everyone I’ve come across in the industry has inspired me. But since I have to take names, I’ll say Qazi Wajid, Moin Akhtar and Faris Shafi.
As far as film inspirations are concerned, Pakistani films such as Bol and more recently Asim Abbasi’s brilliant cinematic experience Cake have triggered my creativity and motivated me.
From Bollywood, my favourite film will have to be Tamasha and from Hollywood Vanilla Sky, Lovers of the Arctic Circle, and Requiem for a Dream.
What would be your dream project and dream cast?
There are a lot of stories I want to tell and every single one of them is close to my heart. There is no dream cast as such but there are a couple of people I would love to direct such as Sanam Saeed. She’s a phenomenal performer. I would also love to work with Saba Parvez and Kalki Koelchin.
I’m currently shooting for the upcoming drama Alif [with Hamza Ali Abbasi, Sajal Aly, Kubra Khan] in which I’ll be playing the character of Dawood. Apart from that, I’m working on two other scripts. I am very excited to see what the future holds for me.
What other genres would you like to explore?
Rom-coms and thrillers.