In an industry that believes in being ‘fashionably’ late for everything, Mohsin Abbas Haider’s punctuality comes as a breath of fresh air. I saw him seated at the trailer launch of Na Maloom Afraad 2 before even the press had turned up and I walked up to ask him something straight up: How are you here so early?
Mohsin laughed. “I’m a very punctual man. Whether it’s a shoot, or any other occasion, I always arrive either 5 minutes early, or dot on time. Just now I met some friends downstairs and I was telling them that I’m so punctual that I was even very punctual on the day of my wedding. My wife was in the parlour and my brother in law came running out when we arrived. He was shocked and he ran back inside instead of receiving us. So yes, I have a problem,”shared Mohsin and I realized from the get go that this was going to be an honest and fun conversation.
What time was he given today, I pondered. The event was scheduled to begin at 5 pm but in Pakistan, that means people will start showing up at 6pm and the stars will make us wait at least an hour before appearing. “I was told to be here at 5 pm and I got here on time. The arrangements were being done for the event when I got here, people were draping cloth over the tables,” he shared earnestly. “I don’t believe in this mantra that those who come late are stars.” We agree with you Mohsin!
Has Mohsin ever suffered because of his punctuality, like us mere mortals who usually have to wait two hours before anything begins. “I always suffer. From telefilm shoots to award shows. I won’t take names but once I was performing with Mahira Khan and my choreographer and I were sitting in the front row because we both came on time and nobody else was there. We saw the entire award show get set up in front of us.”
But how different was the NMA2 environment? Because from what we’ve heard, Nabeel Qureshi (director) and Fizza Ali (Producer) are very professional. We’ve also heard from Fahad Mustafa, who also stars in this film, that he’s very punctual and comes to set on time. Was he?
Mohsin started laughing awkwardly. “Do I have to say something?” You should, I urged him. “It’s almost six now,” he laughed while pointing at his watch. (P.S: Fahad Mustafa eventually arrived to the venue around 5.45pm, which is still fairly early compared to industry standards.)
But what about on set? “The first person to come to the lobby used to be Yousuf Bhai, our D.O.P’s assistant. Then me. Sometimes it would happen that Nabeel would message on the group saying ‘come downstairs’ and I would already be down.
Then, Sheikh (Javed) sahab would come downstairs. Then Fahad.”
Mohsin went on to talk about how comfortable he is working with Nabeel and Fizza. “This is home. Nabeel is like a brother to me, Fizza is like a sister to me. We’ve been working together since ages, from AAJ TV till today. Behtareen mohol hai. I can’t be more comfortable than this. These guys are ruining my habits.
By ruining you mean fixing; I pointed out the irony. “Yeah, we work so professionally with them so that when we go to other places and the environment isn’t the same, it becomes frustrating.”
I steered the conversation towards the film’s poster in which all three stars are looking very fit. “Nabeel did put forth this requirement that all three of us had to get in shape, because there was a song and there were some shots. Also, the characters have shifted to South Africa so we had to look fit and well groomed.”
I wondered why Mohsin was chosen out of all three to be topless on the poster. Before I could clarify, Mohsin cracked up. “Do you want Javed Sheikh to be topless on the cover? I think because I was the first one to get a six pack.”
We’re glad to see Pakistani actors now picking up the pace in terms of fitness and Mohsin agrees with us. “I get very happy when I see Pakistani actors getting in shape. I would like to talk about Moammar Rana. He came to the set of Mazaq Raat looking very toned and ripped. I was very happy to see that we also have actors who look like stars. Being fit and in shape is a good thing anyway.”
And that was all the time we had with Mohsin before he was whisked away by his doting fans.