Mahira Khan says she would do small roles for a good film

Actor, while comparing herself to Jennifer Connelly, dubbed Fahad Mustafa her Tom Cruise

Rida Lodhi June 10, 2022

From the corner of my eye as I stepped into a very crowded Arts Council on Thursday evening for the trailer launch of Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad, several fans had hurdled around Fahad Mustafa on the red carpet. The superstar, clad in black shirt and crisp white trousers, smiled and waved as many came up and whispered and nodded good luck for his upcoming venture – one after a good four-year hiatus from screens.

Fahad is all set to return to the cinemas after his 2018 Nadeem Beyg blockbuster, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2. The actor will be seen in the lead role of his favourite filmmaker duo, Nabeel Qureshi and Fiza Ali Meerza's highly-anticipated release, Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad. And it may just mark his biggest stint yet. The film also stars Mahira Khan alongside industry veterans Javed Sheikh, Saleem Mairaj and Nayyer Ejaz. Fahad plays a cop named Gulabo while Mahira plays Sweety. The Angna star essays a Sindhi constable while Nayyar looks like a man in power.

About the trailer

The trailer of the film takes off in a Money Heist-esque fashion, as money rains from the sky – an airplane, to be clear – onto the common people gathered below. "Do you know why these currency notes have picture of Quaid-e-Azam? So that he can keep an eye on us, especially on our wrongdoings," narrates Gulabo (Fahad) as he stares at a portrait of the founding father.

Fahad makes a convincing corrupt cop in the two-and-a-half-minute-long trailer, while Mahira, at a first glance, gives the impression that she has once again been reduced to eye candy for a film. But we soon learn that is not the case as her role progresses with the trailer.

Amid flying bullets and a lot of running, Gulabo and Sweety find themselves in a pickle when the former lands a hefty number of fake notes after a bust. Enter Nayyer, who is hell-bent on making the protagonists’ lives miserable, the situation takes a turn for worse and Gulabo finds it impossible to solve his latest predicament. But with an ample amount of VFX and brilliant cinematography, coupled with praise-worthy filmmaking, Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad looks like a complete package.

What makes it special?

"It's been more than two years since we have been waiting for this moment," Mahira told the attendees in a press conference after the trailer. "This is the team, you know. When you go in there, and you're nervous and unsure of how you'll adjust with someone you've never worked with, they were amazing. Nabeel and Fizza really make you feel like home. They took care of me. He [Nabeel] is one of the finest directors and she [Fizza] is one the best producers. And Fahad Mustafa…" the Verna star chuckled as she looked at him, "I did not think I'd be charmed by him! But he did charm me. He was so, so amazing."

Speaking about Javed, Mahira added, "That's what you call a star! Every time he comes on set, you're happy. You're looking at him. No matter how many films he has worked in, it's just there. I am very lucky to have been a part of this ensemble." Speaking about why she signed up for the film, the Humsafar actor commented, "Honestly, if I hadn't signed this film, I'd be lying dead somewhere. But, honestly? It was the story. We were watching the film last weekend and I said to them, 'Yaar, this is such an original story!' I get goosebumps when I watch certain scenes."

Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad touches upon the trope of a corrupt cop and the consequences of his and his subordinate's actions. "Someone asked here why corruption? Maybe it's destiny that the film is coming out right now," Mahira stated while responding to a query. "I don't think there's more of a relevant time for this film to release." Nabeel referred to Javed's role and added, "It's a very relatable role. When you get to see the film, you might remember his brilliant role in Na Maloom Afraad."

Responding to a reservation by a journalist on Mahira receiving less screentime in the trailer than Fahad, Nabeel shared, "Mahira has a pivotal role in the film. She's a huge star and I don't think she'd agree to work in a film that doesn't have a strong female character." The Actor-in-Law star interjected, quipping, "I think even I am shown very sparsely in the trailer."

Mahira then shared, "I had always thought to myself, 'I carry my films. I carry them. I don't need anybody.' And then I then thought, that's the wrong way to think about it. I don't carry my films; everyone carries that film. Together." She went on, "This is what we were taught initially when we first came into the film industry. We all, this generation, were taught that YOU bring the box office numbers. I see Top Gun and I see Jennifer Connelly, who is by far one of the best actresses in Hollywood.” Fahad agreed, adding, "And hot."

The Sadqay Tumhare star laughed and repeated, "And hot, support the biggest star in Hollywood as well. You're wrong, Nabeel. I would do a small role in a good film because I believe it is important to be a part of good films. So, I hope I can be a Jennifer Connelly to my Tom Cruise."

Mahira, who had worked with Bollywood's King Khan Shah Rukh Khan in the 2017-starrer Raees, was asked about working with Fahad for the first time as well. "You know, it's funny. When I worked with Shah Rukh, he would just step on the set and pick the dance steps in mere seconds. And you'd end up thinking to yourself that you had been practicing for the last five days and you still can't perfect it. Fahad is the only actor here who has that ability. He comes on set and naturally just nails his steps."

Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad is slated to release on Eidul Azha.

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