‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’: The faces behind the voices

Published: November 10, 2012

Nihal (R) dubbed by Almas Faridi (L). PHOTO: FILE

Bashir Suleman (L) dubbed by Syed Jasim Ali (R). PHOTO: FILE Mrs Firdous (L) dubbed by Beena Benjamin (R). PHOTO: FILE Bihter (R) dubbed by Riz Kamali (L). PHOTO: FILE Mrs Denis (R) dubbed by Nazzia Momina (L). PHOTO: FILE Nihal (R) dubbed by Almas Faridi (L). PHOTO: FILE Behlul (R) dubbed by Sharique Mehmood (L). PHOTO: FILE Adnan (R) dubbed by Shehzad Ali Khan (L). PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI: 

With luxurious sets, beautiful actors and protagonists whose chemistry is sizzling hot, Turkish TV show “Ishq-e-Mamnoo” on Urdu 1 has become Pakistan’s new addiction.

To broadcast this Turkish soap in Pakistan, a dedicated team of local actors spent a considerable amount of time recording the voice-overs, under the guidance of Syed Mohammad Shafiq Momina, also known as Jojo.

“When I read the Urdu script and saw the Turkish visuals of the drama, I made sentimental attachments with all the characters,” Jojo tells The Express Tribune. Elaborating on the project, he says that the casting process was tedious because it lasted for months with back to back auditions.

“The dubbing process had begun and we had no one to play Adnan [a lead character in the series],” recalls Jojo. “Adnan’s character was so complicated, that we had almost rejected around 30 actors before relying on Shahzad Ali Khan’s experience.”

The team had to find 18 permanent characters for the voiceovers, with nine of them being central characters in the show.  But due to the lack of trained voice actors in Pakistan, Jojo and his team rejected 15 people on a daily basis, which included some seasoned TV actors as well.

“Time management was key because we had to begin dubbing ‘Isabel’ [a Spanish soap] and then move onto ‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’,” he says, talking about the challenges of finding the right cast in time. “The difference in the translations of both the languages [Spanish and Turkish] was so stark that we found it difficult to sync ourselves with the character voices,” he adds.

A total of 79 episodes — with each episode spanning 90 minutes — of “Ishq-e-Mamnoo” and 143 episodes — 50 minutes each — of “Isabel” were dubbed and finalised over a span of almost seven months.

“It feels great when something you have worked so hard on finally becomes so popular that you see it [as slogans or posters] behind rickshaws. I am extremely thankful to a dedicated team of actors and all the technicians who helped me out,” he says with pride.

Adnan

Shehzad Ali Khan

A veteran actor who is known for playing a variety of roles on TV, found it difficult to step into the shoes of Mr Adnan. “Although I have been an actor for a long time, this was my first time as a voice actor,” Khan explains. “To be very frank, I was nervous. However, when it became an extraordinary hit, I was overwhelmed,” he adds. “I live in North Nazimabad and ‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’ doesn’t air in my vicinity but from the feedback that I have been getting, I can comfortably say that the kind of appreciation I have received for ‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’ as a voiceover is far more than the appreciation I receive for my TV projects. Mr Adnan was one of the toughest characters I have voiced in my entire life because he interacts with everyone and has a different persona every time.”

Behlul

Sharique  Mehmood

Primarily an RJ, Mehmood has attracted an overnight following as Behlul, the handsome relative of Mr Adnan who is in love with Bihter. “While I was playing Behlul, I was simultaneously voice acting for Imran Khan’s voice in Express TV’s ‘Siyaasi Heights’,” he says. “Contrary to my expectations, ‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’ became more popular. Dubbing is a tedious process and after months of recording when people actually recognise you by the voice of your character, it feels great. Somebody suggested that I should start a radio show called ‘Behlul Loveline’! But so far it hasn’t materialised,” he laughs.

Nihal

Almas Fidai

Twenty-one-year-old Fidai stepped into the media industry as Nihal, followed by her screen acting in Mehreen Jabbar’s “Coke Kahaani”. “It feels great knowing that my first voice over has received such a tremendous response,” says Fidai. “However, what bothers me is that there is no recognition for voice actors as our names don’t appear in the credits and no one recognises that a significant amount of effort has been put in to giving these characters their voices,” she complains. “As far as Nihal is concerned, I took her lightly in the beginning and later discovered how pivotal her role is in the series.”

Mrs Denis

Nazzia Momina

Jojo’s wife Nazzia has been a part of the radio industry for a number of years but “Ishq-e-Mamnoo” was her first experience as a voice actor. “To be honest, my extended family didn’t know about my involvement in the series, which they were following on YouTube. But as soon as they found out, they were shocked. It’s funny when people walk up to you and say ‘Aray aap hain woh’ and then go on to compare my features to Mrs Denis! Although I have been affiliated with radio for quite some time, the kind of respect ‘Ishq-e-mamnoo’ gave me is unprecedented.”

Bihter

Riz Kamali

Despite her on screen presence for the past three years, Kamali’s big break came with her portrayal of Bihter, the beautiful young wife of Mr Adnan. “It’s funny when you walk onto the sets of one of your television plays and they start asking you ‘Zara Bihter ki tarhan toh bol k dikhao’. All you can do is smile and cherish that moment of glory,” Kamali gushes. “The popularity of ‘Ishq-e-Mamnoo’ has been so overwhelming that most of my family and friends have started calling me Bihter instead of Riz! This affects the ratings of my other dramas as well. Bihter is a strong woman but ends up doing everything she hates. I have learnt a lot from her.”

Mrs Firdous

Beena Benjamin

Beena Benjamin of the Benjamin Sisters has been lending her voice to different mediums. But the play and her character, the seductive Mrs Firdous, really struck her. “I have been in the voice acting business for quite some time and I must say that I have not come across a character as strong and dynamic as Mrs Firdous,” says Beena. “I like how Mrs Firdous is full of pride and is an arrogant woman but with a flirty attitude; this makes her important. Although I did voiceovers in Urdu for I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Express Entertainment’s Turkish play Aasi, this one really stood out. Since it’s a very negative character, people like to hate me which has its own charm. Frankly, I had never thought that this drama would get so much recognition,” she admits.

Bashir Suleman

Syed Jasim Ali

Ali was also the part of the dubbing team for “Isabel” before he was selected for Bashir and Suleman, two important characters in “Ishq-e-Mamnoo”. “Playing two entirely different characters at a time in the same play was a very tough call but somehow I pulled it off,” says Ali. “I initially thought that Bashir was an easier character to play but as the story unfolded, his mood swings increased, which made my job as an actor difficult. Suleman, on the other hand, has given me more recognition than Bashir, because whenever I am in a family gathering, kids surround me and request me to talk to them in Suleman’s voice which is very cute and fulfilling,” he says. Ali preferred not to have his picture published.

Correction: Almas Fidai’s name was incorrect in an earlier version of this article. The correction has been made.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • mkz
    Nov 10, 2012 - 11:50PM

    Awesoome!! Waiting for thisRecommend

  • dude
    Nov 11, 2012 - 12:16AM

    This rafay dude has finally got a purpose in life..how can he be positive

    Recommend

  • Zeux
    Nov 11, 2012 - 5:17AM

    Its an amazing drama. Absolutely the love the concept of dubbing Turkish dramas into urdu. These turkish dramas are a craze in the middle eastern world

    Recommend

  • Parvez Amin
    Nov 11, 2012 - 7:04AM

    A great achievement. Let us have more international dub-over soaps. The shows filled with ‘action’ and ‘violence are repulsive and disturb the mind instead of providing relaxation.

    Recommend

  • Almas Fidai
    Nov 11, 2012 - 12:42PM

    A major correction is required. The name is Almas FIDAI and not Almas FARIDI.

    Recommend

  • MM
    Nov 11, 2012 - 1:52PM

    Great job done you guys!

    Recommend

  • Bashir
    Nov 11, 2012 - 3:28PM

    A difficult job but done very well. Keep it up

    Recommend

  • Safia Mohammed
    Nov 11, 2012 - 3:29PM

    I think the writer has done a mistake. The girl giving voice to Nihal is Almas Fidai. She also played lead role in Tamana ki Tamana starred against Bilal Khan (a telefilm by hum tv)

    Recommend

  • KH
    Nov 11, 2012 - 3:31PM

    Have we ever thought about the topic this drama has opened up for normal discussion? This time when I went to Pakistan, I saw almost every body watching this drama, kids elders etc. What are we teaching our kids and what are we making common in Pakistan, what dresses were used

    Please think about it.

    Recommend

  • Shahjehan
    Nov 11, 2012 - 3:59PM

    Almas “Fidai” is her name and she’s a beautiful upcoming starlet and she does wonders with her voice as well as her acting in other shows! keep it up!

    Recommend

  • Abdul Sattar Qamar
    Nov 11, 2012 - 4:38PM

    It was a very good but unbelievable experience of dubbing a turkish soap in Urdu.I hope this team would do more to promote the urdu dubbing.Govt should award them pride of performance

    Recommend

  • Peer Sain
    Nov 12, 2012 - 9:09AM

    But mind you this is not Turkey culture. IT is a Westerner culture with so much of promiscuity. Somebody is trying to inject immorality in our stable society.

    Recommend

  • Horrified
    Nov 12, 2012 - 9:30AM

    This play has reached immense popularity but the story line and characters are not what children should be allowed to watch. There needs to be a ratings system for TV shows and mature plays should not air before 10 PM so most kids have hopefully gone to bed by then!!!

    Recommend

  • Saima Arwani
    Nov 14, 2012 - 3:23PM

    I Love u Almasssssssssssssssssss :) u r too good

    Recommend

  • not impressed
    Nov 14, 2012 - 4:58PM

    @KH:
    get a life man – the sets, the costumes, the decor, the acting – everything was top notch. If you don’t approve of the ‘dresses’ please change the channel.

    Recommend

  • Nov 14, 2012 - 5:10PM

    wowwwwww

    Recommend

  • Anum
    Nov 14, 2012 - 11:59PM

    Hats off to the person who dubbed the voice of Mr. Suleman! ;)

    Recommend

  • Nov 15, 2012 - 10:32AM

    Watch Ishq E Mamnoon Urdu Dubbed Full Drama LIVE At:
    http://www.StreamPlus.tk/

    Recommend

  • Nov 15, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Beena is my new hero. She looks EXACTLY like a Pakistani Mrs. Firidevs.
    Sharique on the other hand… Well let’s just say my dreams are completely shattered. Sigh.

    Recommend

  • Imran saleem
    Nov 27, 2012 - 8:16PM

    I like them because they are beautiful

    Recommend

  • attaullah
    Dec 1, 2012 - 3:14PM

    The drama is excellent as regards its story.The producer should feel ashamed of the worst production having un-necessary drag and worst lust for money by wasting time. it could move faster if Mammoth had left the minds of production team. Please care for viewers passions and time.Every episode seem to have stuck total duration of one episode is less than two minutes drama.

    Recommend

  • attaullah
    Dec 1, 2012 - 3:30PM

    What a drama and what a production!!!! They dont know that playing with the endurance of the viewers may put the producers or the organisation in serious trouble.Dragging unnecessarily is a crime.Make money but be fair.God bless you

    Recommend

  • Hmm
    Dec 12, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Another MAJOR correction is required. It says “Bashir Suleman” voiced by Syed Jasim Ali.

    Firstly, the character’s name is NOT Bashir Suleman. Bashir and Suleman are two different characters in the show. Secondly, the first photo from left states that the guy on the right is Syed Jasim Ali. WRONG. That is the guy who played Bashir in the show and his name is Baran Akbulut. You should have reviewed your article before posting.

    Recommend

  • Lol
    Dec 12, 2012 - 10:52PM

    Another MAJOR correction is required. It says “Bashir Suleman” voiced by Syed Jasim Ali.

    Firstly, the character’s name is NOT Bashir Suleman. Bashir and Suleman are two different characters in the show. Secondly, the first photo from left states that the guy on the right is Syed Jasim Ali. WRONG. That is the guy who played Bashir in the show and his name is Baran Akbulut. You should have reviewed your article before posting.

    Recommend

  • s shah
    Dec 16, 2012 - 12:32AM

    @ Peer Sain: A “stable” society where people are lynched in the streets, acid is thrown on women, child marriages take place, innocents are maimed and killed in suicide bombings ?

    Recommend

  • Dec 17, 2012 - 11:25AM

    “Ban these foreign productions in Pakistan, as their culture & ambience doesn’t match ours. Our producers, directors, actors, playwrights, technicians etc are far more competent than others. We learn a lot from our own dramas. Government should interfere immediately to check such recurrence.

    Recommend

  • kharbooza khan
    Dec 17, 2012 - 4:56PM

    Those who are airing such dramas, and that too in prime time, should be hanged. not suitable for children viewing. where our society is going, and those who are watching should be slapped hard on their cheeks atleast thrice every episode. if they still continue watching, ask them what if same should happen to your family.

    Recommend

  • kharbooza khan
    Dec 17, 2012 - 5:01PM

    Dramas like these should be banned and those responsible for airing it should be haned. those who are watching it should be slapped on their cheeks atleast thrice every episode, if they still continue watching, they should be kicked in their back, and even then they dont stop watching it, should let them know what if same situations happens to your daughters and sisters. Kuch to hiya karo!!!

    Recommend

  • Amram Ohri
    Dec 17, 2012 - 5:11PM

    This stupid drama was nothing more then a star plus soap taking the whole Pakistani nation by storm as i believe people of Pakistan are not intelligent enough to appreciate there own dramas we are all bunch of hypocrites in different dresses thats all we can appreciate the characters of this drama showing a society which is totally full of vulgar concepts and dresses but we cannot appreciate our own dramas doing the same things. when it comes to our actresses wearing such short dresses all the hypocrites appreciating this drama would try to run over our own actresses
    i am really worried that our act of such great patriotism will definitely hurt our own entertainment industry as it already has many big challenges.Recommend

  • Amram Ohri
    Dec 17, 2012 - 5:13PM

    This stupid drama was nothing more than a star plus soap taking the whole Pakistani nation by storm as I believe people of Pakistan are not intelligent enough to appreciate their own dramas we are all bunch of hypocrites in different dresses that’s all we can appreciate the characters of this drama showing a society which is totally full of vulgar concepts and dresses but we cannot appreciate our own dramas doing the same things. When it comes to our actresses wearing such short dresses all the hypocrites appreciating this drama would try to run over our own actresses
    I am really worried that our act of such great patriotism will definitely hurt our own entertainment industry as it already has many big challengesRecommend

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