Actors have a tough time balancing their act – on one hand, they have to please their fanbase, and on another, they need to constantly reinvent themselves and bring their A-game. Although Humayun Saeed has been at the top of his game for years now, it was perhaps that he lacked in the reinventing department.
Saeed played a negative character in his first film Inteha (by Samina Peerzada) in 1999, but as a result of a lot of factors, the film industry died short after and it was only in early 2010s that he returned to film. But since then, he has always portrayed a hero in Pakistani films.
The upcoming action film Yalghaar, by Hassan Waqas Rana, will be the first time Saeed will portray a negative character in Pakistani films since his cinematic debut. Apart from Saeed, the much anticipated film has an ensemble cast of Shaan Shahid, Sana Bucha, Adnan Siddiqui, Goher Rasheed, Armeena Rana Khan and Ayesha Omar among others.
As to this role was so difficult for Saeed, he said, “My character is very dark. I haven’t played a darker character before.” He added with a laugh, “And never will.”
Once the audience expects something from an actor, it’s difficult to break away from those expectations and create new ones. Perhaps, this is why a lot of actors stay in their comfort zone. Saeed said one of the reasons for opting to do Yalghaar was he wanted to break away from the monotonous characters. “We don’t get a lot of margin to play characters with depth in dramas, so that was definitely one of the reasons.”
However, it must be remembered he played a few roles in Bollywood out of which he played a negative character in Jashnn (2009). But Saeed said, “That character wasn’t totally negative but rather somewhere in the gray zone. He had hope.”
Asked whether his female fans would feel cheated or disappointed in him playing a villain, Saeed said the director thinks the opposite. “I think they will fall even more in love with him now,” said Rana.
The director also praised Saeed for owning the character. “I can’t take credit for Humayun’s character. I must have written his character well but he infused the beauty in it and completely owned it.”
Bucha, who has a history as a journalist and anchor, talked about her portraying a journalist in the film too. She said she was the counter narrative to the director’s narrative and asks the genuine hard hitting questions in the film. Whether portraying the objective journalist in the film was difficult, she said it wasn’t. “Not that, but what was difficult for me was the romance part.”
Yalghaar has been in the making for the past three years. The director said it took so long because there were a lot of things that hadn’t been attempted before. “We have some expertise but there are still a lot of things alien to us. Plus, I tried to use real bullets, explosions and helicopters. And then the shooting took 104 days, which is almost double than usual.” He also quipped that it took so long as he wanted to make a hero into a villain, referring to Saeed.
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