Actors Hareem Farooq and Goher Mumtaz, both of whom have turned producers, sat down for an interview on Time Out with Ahsan Khan, shedding light on their career shifts and offering reflections on the process of production.
Hareem, who has been absent from the acting scene for some time, explained that her lack of recent acting credits has been due to her mother’s illness. “My mother was not well. If I ever have to make a choice between my work and my parents, then it’s very obvious. I’d sacrifice my life for my parents, taking a break from work isn’t that big of a deal. Now she’s well and I’m back. I couldn’t compromise on the time I had to give to my family, and I knew work would come to me eventually, which it has, and for that I’m grateful,” shared the Janaan actor.
Gohar, who is currently busy wrapping up a film he has produced, which is set to star Kubra Khan and will feature Hareem in a cameo role, explained that being a producer is testing, but things become smoother if you are surrounded by cooperative people. “If you have a good team, things become a lot easier. This was my first experience in terms of production, and it isn’t easy,” he shared. He added further, “I would often ask Hareem how she produced films, to which she responded by saying that the energy at the beginning of filming and at the end is very different. Towards the end, the energy starts going down, so it’s the job of the producer to up the morale of the team and try to get things done. She told me I’d manage, but I just want to wrap it up now. It’s about 85% done now.”
Reflecting on his journey from singing to acting and eventually to filmmaking, Goher shared about his early days as an actor, “I was really new to acting and I really wasn’t very interested in it. I was told I could act in a drama on Hum TV and also add my songs to it. Tanhai was a drama with Sohai and Ayesha Omar.”
On his learning curve, the actor elaborated, “I had no understanding of acting. I still don’t know much, but at the time I was completely blank. They just stood me in front of the camera and I just started. After I did two to three dramas, I felt like I understood acting. Then I did two more, which were somewhat different, like Ghayal, where I played a bipolar character, I realised I still had a lot to learn. I still feel like I’m still learning. Even senior actors like Nadeem Sahab and Qavi Sahab, if you look up their interviews, they always say they are still learning. They are so humble.”
When questioned by Ahsan about his motivations, Goher explained, “When I started music, neither Atif nor I had any planning. We were studying together and we never had fame on our minds. At the time, we’d just keep at it. Then our songs and albums became hits and we understood that we had to take things more seriously. I still think the same way. I don’t sign on to any plays because I feel the need to be popular or famous.”
On her career shift, Hareem revealed that she had always planned on getting into filmmaking. She said, “When I started, I knew I wanted to more than just act. This is a profession that I love. To sustain it and show people my vision I always knew I needed to get into production. The only difference is that I expected to get into it after 1o to 15 years, once I’d be done with my acting career, but, luckily, my current partner Imran offered to collaborate, so I figured, ‘Why not?’”
“At the time my work was going really well and my career graph was great, but I sat down and thought about why I wasn’t starting production right now? Why should I wait so long? I’d rather start right now and be a pro at it in 15 years, rather than wait for the right time.”
After the actor-turned-producer was asked about whether she fears missing out on acting opportunities, she responded, “Why though? When you produce the content you want, it’s kind of like what Goher said, what intention are you going into it with? If all I wanted was to continue getting acting offers, then I wouldn’t have gotten into production. What I want is to take Pakistan further because I believe in the power of the media. So, why should I waste my time? I’ll get four offers less? That’s okay, I’ll get six others eventually. Rather than waiting for the content I want to be a part of, why not just make it myself?”
During a segment of the show where the guests are quizzed about statements they have made in the past, Ahsan asked Hareem to elaborate on a social media post in which she had asked people to focus on their own lives as opposed to policing her. She reflected, “I had posted a picture with [Osman Khalid Butt] and people had an issue with it. We were at a distance and were pouting at each other. I was new at the time and I read the comments and I was very taken aback. It’s become a norm now. People talk.”
Explaining how she’s learned to ignore the trolls, the actor added, “I was very new at the time and I became worried about why people were reacting in such a way. So I asked people why they were questioning someone’s character and morals. Now I don’t react anymore. It’s between me and God. Stop pointing fingers at other people.”
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