Mehwish Hayat and Humayun Saeed to share screen once again in London Nahi Jaunga. Photo: Shahbaz Shazi.

There's always a party on the sets: 'London Nahi Jaunga' cast talks upcoming film

Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat and Gohar Rasheed decode their characters and what to expect from their Eid release

Rida Lodhi June 30, 2022

What could be touted as a 'foolproof' formula for a successful film? Should it have a star-studded cast? An impeccable director? An engaging script? The answer lies in how the ideal mixture of all these ingredients comes together in a big pot. 

In Pakistani cinema, the said blueprint has been nearly perfected with Nadeem Baig's blockbusters. The renowned filmmaker, who has delivered hits such as Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 1 and 2, is back with yet another promising venture, London Nahi Jaunga. The film stars his favourites Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat in lead roles while Kubra Khan, Mirza Gohar Rasheed, and Vasay Chaudhry in supporting roles.

Baig has made it clear that, unlike his previous Jawani Phir Nahi Ani franchise, London Nahi Jaunga is not a sequel to Punjab Nahi Jaungi. In a conversation with The Express Tribune, he shared how London Nahi Jaunga is a new story altogether and not a continuation of Punjab Nahi Jaungi. "This falls under the same genre but it's a different story," Baig shared. "It was a conscious decision to not do a sequel this time around but work on a new script." He went on to explain, "You see, some stories have that potential that you can take it forward such as Jawani Phir Nahi Ani. But with London Nahi Jaunga, I felt making it a sequel would result in baggage, instead of an advantage.”

Saeed chimed in and commented, "You know how the film actually happened? We were in London for the celebration of our then hit film Punjab Nahi Jaungi. It was then when someone suggested that why don't you work on a film in London? So, I took a jibe that I'd work on a film titled, London Nahi Jaunga. I was only half-kidding but the thought just got buried somewhere in my mind. I discussed the same with Khalilur Rehman Qamar. He agreed it was a good idea. That's when he started working on the script."

Hayat shared she was 'told' by Baig that she will be starring in the next installment of her last big-screen hit. "Nadeem called me and told me to figure my dates out so we can start working on London Nahi Jaunga. I agreed. At that time, I had several offers coming in and I informed him about those. He just went, 'What do you mean? This is your project; this is your franchise.' He then told me the story and I was just blown away by it. I remember saying to myself that this film will be really exciting. We had some meetings, we read some lines, we had extensive discussions about how can we make Zara look distinctive than Amal (Hayat's character in Punjab Nahi Jaungi)."

Adding on, Hayat commented that her character is not similar to Amal. However, Saeed's portrayal of Jamil is more like Fawad Khagga (Saeed's role in the 2018 offering). "My character is quite akin to Fawad but the story is different," the Project Ghazi star shared. "I was missing this character. I had grown quite fond of Fawad from Punjab Nahi Jaungi; his accent, the moustache, the style. I also thought people wanted to see more of it. I discussed keeping the similarities between Jamil and Fawad with Nadeem and Khalil Sahab. They had the same thoughts. I couldn't really do this character anywhere else but in this film. That's how the franchise was formed."

Unlike her costar, Hayat didn't miss Amal. "Amal was a different kind of a person, she had a different personality, her way of dealing with life was in contrast to Zara," the Ms. Marvel star commented. "But at the same time, she was also a very strong character. So is Zara. In that way, maybe we've been similar but other than that, there are no similarities."

Saeed then added, "There's some humour but at the same time, you see a dark side of Jamil in the trailer." In the trailer, we see Saeed pulling punches and the actor shared, "There are few scenes in which I am fighting. I'm not terrible with action sequences but I haven't worked on projects which would see me throwing punches around. So, it wasn't difficult to do action scenes in the film."

Rasheed, who is working with Baig for the first time, shared he was just briefed that his role is of a friend of Saeed's in the film. "I'm thinking of casting you in London Nahi Jaunga. I immediately said, 'Consider it done!' This was the first time I was getting an opportunity to work with Nadeem Baig in full capacity. My only incentive was Nadeem Baig. Later, when I got on the sets, I realised how difficult this character is for me."

Rasheed, who has often worked on darker roles, was getting a chance to try his hand at humour. For the actor, it wasn't an easy task. "The roles I have done before and the role of portraying Bhatti in London Nahi Jaunga were poles apart," the Ishqiya star shared. "I just didn't know how to get into the skin of the character. For me, performing a simple character was a task and a half. I had no idea how to dissect the character for myself. That's where Nadeem Baig came in. He held my hand and made me walk through the journey of Bhatti."

The cast, like the director, completely believes in their latest project. "We have a very basic mantra; the set is a party," Baig remarked. "Oh, yeah! Hell, yeah!" Rasheed concurred. Hayat added, "We actually looked forward to being on set." The Return of the Maula Jatt star agreed with Hayat and shared, "Going to work never felt like a job." Baig concluded with, "We all laughed along the way as we worked on London Nahi Jaunga. I think it will reflect once the film hits the screen."

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