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Director Nadeem Baig and actor/producer Humayun Saeed have set a unique record. Since 2015, the duo has collaborated — along with producers Salman Iqbal, Jerjees Seja and Shehzad Nasib — on three films all of which went on to become highest grossing Pakistani films of all time — at that particular point in time. It started with Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), which made nearly 50 crore worldwide followed by Punjab Nahi Jaungi (2017) which collected over 50 crore worldwide and finally JPNA2, which has crossed the 60 crore mark worldwide and is still running houseful.

This is an extraordinary record on several counts and so we decided to get in touch with the makers to understand what goes into delivering blockbuster films consistently.

“Our goal is to entertain the audience whether it’s through comedy, romance or drama. The success of our films has given us the assurance that perhaps we are on the right track as far as choosing the premise of the movie is concerned,” said Nadeem Baig during an exclusive chat with Something Haute.



When asked if it’s a coincidence that all three of his films turned out to be so successful he said, “It can’t be a coincidence the third time. When we made JPNA, people said it was a fluke and it did well only because the script was funny. But then PNJ came and it broke even JPNA‘s record.”

Talking about his team, Nadeem said that the reason that him and Humayun work so well is because they understand each other very well and also because none of the producers interfere in his work. But does the success of his recent films mean he is going to stick to the rom-com genre? “I am not forced to do this to make money, I genuinely love making these kinds of films. Having said that, diversity is key for growth and films in other genres will definitely come,” he responded.

The producers may not interfere in the director’s job but they are still very involved in the process and certainly very happy with the results. “I feel ecstatic. When we start a project, our primary goal is to create what Pakistani filmmakers had stopped creating. There used to be 1,500-2,000 cinemas at one time, each with a seating capacity of 600 people. That’s what we want; to bring people back to the cinemas,” says Salman Iqbal.



He also said that it’s rare for a team to gel together so well. “Allah has been very kind. Humayun and Nadeem work very well together and I am happy all of us are able to deliver to a quality product to the audience.”

Asked if he consciously picks projects which he knows will certainly make enough money, he said, “Money is associated with the film’s success and will follow as long as you are making good content.” In fact his next film might not be a conventional rom-com but a gangster film.

“I really want to make a hardcore gangster film like a Gangs of Wasseypur. That’s what we plan on doing next,” he added.

Vasay Chaudhry, who has written two of these three films, says it’s not really possible to predict a certain script will definitely turn out to be a record-breaking film. “I am sure every team thinks of its story to be something that people will eventually love. One can try to think in terms of stories that might have a bigger audience (based on previous or general preferences of the society) but all those calculations can go down easily,” he said.

What’s the one goal he has in mind before he starts writing a script? “It has to excite me. I should be able to visualise it and that visual needs to excite me. The eventual goal is to entertain the audience (according to the genre of the story),” Vasay explained.

Moving forward, does he plan to explore genres besides comedy? “I already did with my first film Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi which was Pakistan’s first sports-based film so I won’t mind doing that again,” he replied.



Humayun — who is perhaps the central figure behind all three films — attributes all the success to team work. “The film is most important and it’s essential that everyone on the team; the writer, director and my co-producers are all happy. That’s how everyone is able to enjoy success ultimately,” he said.

Asked if, before starting a new project, he sees it through the eye of a producer or an actor, Humayun said, “First I have to look at it as a producer. The film can’t be, and never is about just me. The entire team needs to be on board with the idea. Of course then it is also important what my character is. It’s all connected really. Like in PNJ, we hoped that if people liked my character then the film would work out too. And thankfully it did.”

Explaining the process behind creating the script of JPNA2, Humayun said, “All three of us (Nadeem, Vasay and Humayun) usually sit together to brainstorm ideas. I am often quiet during this time, in fact I become the audience while Vasay and Nadeem have a discussion. I give my input as and when I feel the need.”

Are there any disagreements? “Not really. I respect their opinions and they respect mine. We think alike most of the time anyway and understand each other really well,” he added.



Once they have locked an idea, they share it with the rest of the producers. “The confidence with which we narrate it to them, they always ask us to go ahead and make it,” Humayun said.

How important is it for him to explore different genres? “We definitely want to experiment. In JPNA2, we tried to do something different by adding the India-Pakistan angle. It had a message. So yes, it’s important to not get stuck in a rut.” And as far as future projects are concerned, Humayun reveals he’s got two action films ready to go on floors. “We are yet to decide if we want to make these now or later. But if not next year, then you will definitely get to watch an action film the year after next.”

And will we see him as an actor and producer in both? “Yes, it appears so,” he responded.