With the open road ahead and the sense of adventure taking over, there’s a reason why everyone loves a good road trip.
And Wajahat Rauf knows it. That's why the director of Karachi Se Lahore (KSL) has decided to experiment with the genre once again with Lahore Se Aagey.
When I ask him why, he jokingly says, "I couldn't think of any other idea!"
So he's back, with a few tweaks of course. The ensemble cast is gone and the spin-off is centered around the beloved scene stealer, Moti (Yasir Hussain) and the woman he's attracted to, Tara (Saba Qamar) who is an aspiring musician.
In a tell-all with Images, the lead pair, along with the man behind the camera, Rauf, spill the beans about their upcoming flick:
On their characters and how Lahore se Aagey is different from its prequel
Hussain, who's also the scriptwriter of the movie shares, "Moti's character has changed quite a bit; in the prequel, we got to see him as part of a group of pals, he was silly but now that he's got a new girl in his life who he has feelings for so he's more mature and the audience will get to see his romantic side."
"The first movie was about this road-trip adventure with Moti's friends, who were his support system; this time, it's about his journey," says Yasir Hussain.
"He meets a ton of people along the way but they're not moving together in the same way. And despite it being focused on the two of us, it's crazier, we're more aggressive," he adds.
It's evident that Moti is not the conventional hero here and Yasir admits that had the audience not fallen in love with him in Karachi Se Lahore, they (Wajahat and himself) might have been hesitant to go with him as the leading man this time around.
And then there's Tara, played by Saba who explains, "She's a very energetic, full of life girl who wants to be a rockstar. Wajahat actually taught me how to play the guitar for the role!
Rauf is clearly proud: "We might just start a band soon...But no seriously, we wanted it to look authentic and if you look at the trailer, you see that she 's looking like a real musician."
"Well, the basics anyway like the stance, the posture. It's like if you're going to be a doctor, you don't have to learn to operate on someone but you should have an idea about how they hold the scalpel. Besides, I love learning new things!" adds the Manto actress.
On script-writing and the allure of a road-trip movie shot in Pakistan
What makes a movie about a car journey across Pakistan special?
Well, the fact that no one has tackled the subject in a commercial movie before, much less twice.
"When Wajahat and I discussed it, we were talking about how there have been lots of movies about road trips, from Hollywood films to Bollywood. Amitabh Bachchan's first movie was Mumbai to Goa which follows the same formula but we wanted people to know what it feels like to go on a road trip in Pakistan," reveals Yasir.
"I think our film has a fun script and that's key; like Moor was a visual treat but I think it didn't work. So my advice to aspiring filmmakers would be that it's important to look at trending, lively topics and just integrate that into your script."
"And more importantly, not to be influenced by Indian culture, our own culture is so rich and our people are so talented," he adds.
On the chemistry the team shares and shooting outdoors
Not surprisingly, the boys are all praises for Saba.
Wajahat confesses that he was nervous that Saba would turn out to be a "diva" but she was actually extremely down to earth.
Yasir concurs: "Saba's such a humble human being. She acts in such a graceful way, you can tell it's something that comes naturally to her. I don't follow Pakistani dramas but I really enjoyed Maat and then I also saw her in Hum Sub Umeed Se Hai; that range is not something every artist has. Even Moin saab (Akhtar) wasn't accepted as a serious actor when he tried to do both.
"Not to mention she's an absolute trooper," he continues. "There's this one scene where she picks me up on her back and runs. She's half my weight, so naturally she ended up in the hospital for a couple of days! Acting alongside her has been the ultimate privilege."
The actress is blushing: "I feel like the stuck-up characters I play, people start to believe that's what I'm like and I'm not."
"We all worked together for the first time but it didn't feel like that at all, it didn't feel like work. We all talked about everything, we were in the car together for hours on end and it was just a big happy family. There was no separate cars for the actors, no nakhras. In fact, we'd all want to sit together and travel in one vehicle.
That being said, shooting outdoors is a monster. If anything goes awry and you're out there, on the fields, it's hard to control. If the weather ditches you or if there's a costume malfunction, you have your work cut out for you."
Buckle up because Lahore Se Aagey hits cinemas on November 11.