A few years ago, the thought of an actor diverging from non-commercial to commercial cinema would’ve raised a few eyebrows. But ever since actors the likes of Christoph Waltz and Nawazuddin Siddiqui have tried their hand at and earned spurs in both, a growing list of artists seem to be exploring what it’s like to make such a transition. This brings us to our very own Mohib Mirza, an actor who has mainly starred in independent and art-house films, such as Josh, Dukhtar and Seedlings (Lamha). But with his upcoming film Bachaana, Mirza is set to channel his acting skills into commercial cinema.
Having maintained notable presence on TV due to his work, both as an actor and host of the first edition of music-reality show Pakistan Idol, Mohib says he has realised the importance of shifting between mediums. “Working in the same medium throughout your career is when monotony starts creeping into you,” he feels.
According to Mirza, his latest cinematic outing is unlike his previous attempts at film. “The movie is entirely different from the previous work I’ve done in Pakistani cinema, as it represents commercial cinema and is an entertaining film, which, I hope, people will enjoy,” he says. Of his preceding movies, he states they were “indie movies, shot primarily as drama films.” He adds, “They weren’t intended to be visual masterpieces as the story was more important in them. Movies, such as Lamha and Josh, focused more on social issues and everyday-life problems.”
Mirza, who will be seen opposite Sanam Saeed in Bachaana, shares how he was approached for the role. “I was working on the TV serial Firaaq along with Sanam [Saeed] … she was finalised for the film before me and I think it was in a passing comment that she mentioned my name to the director,” he states. He then read the film’s script and signed up for the project. Without divulging details of his character, he says he will portray the role of a taxi driver in the film.
With a spate of comedy films expected to release later this year, including Halla Gulla, Wrong No and Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, it may be challenging for Bachaana to rivet the audiences, which seem to have a penchant for comedy films. But Mirza discredits the notion, claiming, “I think Pakistani audiences are ready for all types of cinema, whether it’s mystery, comedy or drama. The intellectual level of our audiences is at par with that of international audiences.”
Mirza rose to fame playing the eponymous character in the sitcom Ishrat Baji, and although he has gone on to perform more serious roles, he’s still remembered by audiences for his stint in the comedy genre. On whether he’ll consider appearing in a comedy film, he states, “It’s not like I don’t want to appear in comedies. If someone approaches me with a quality comedy script today and it appeals to me, then I’d most definitely pursue it.”
Bachaana, which stars Mirza and Saeed in lead roles, has been directed by Nasir Khan and produced under the banner Big Films Entertainment. Although no release date has been announced for the film yet, it’s expected to hit the screens later this year. Since Mirza made his acting debut on television, he has racked up a very diverse portfolio, with sitcoms and drama serials, such as Ishrat Baji, Shehre Zaat and Meray Dard Ko Jo Zubaan Miley, to his credit.