With four projects in the pipeline, the Mann Mayal star Gohar Rasheed has a busy year ahead. His upcoming musical Rangreza is slated to hit floors in August; his much-anticipated film Yalghaar will finally see a release this year (hopefully!); his Urdu1 drama Mujhay Jeene Do will begin airing in some months; and he is all set to produce his own film Maidaan.
He gives Images the low down on his four productions:
Based on a true story of a Pakistani man who coached a team of 12 street children for the ‘Street Child World Cup’ in Brazil three years ago, Maidaan is one film Gohar has full faith in.
“Since day 1, when I heard the story, I believed in it," said the actor. He was so inspired by the story that he went up to several film producers in hopes of finding a few takers. Unfortunately, "none of them were willing to produce it."
"So I put my foot down and said I’ll produce it myself. I have complete faith in the story and the idea because it is about Pakistan and it lifts up the image of our country," he explained.
"Pakistan has some very amazing stories to tell to the world, we should believe in our own content," says Gohar.
His choice to play the role of the coach is Nauman Ijaz, when asked why, Gohar replied: "Who else could be a better choice?
"Nauman Ijaz is a versatile actor, he has a presence, he has his novelty for cinema, and after Ramchand Pakistani he will be doing this film. He is devoted, dedicated and willing to give me ample time to transform him into his character and to work on it."
Maidaan is currently in the pre-production phase and is slated to go on floors early summer.
Mujhay Jeene Do
Following in the footsteps of Udaari, Khuda Mera Bhi Hai and Sammi, Gohar Rasheed's Urdu1 drama is centered around the topic of child marriages.
"My character [Naseeb] is the guy who happens to get married to a child," said Gohar.
He added that the drama unveils "how his character gets into the guilt [of marrying a child] and the repercussions he faces. It’a s journey and story which talks about the society, the unspoken truth about the society."
"The roles I do are risky and unconventional, not many actors can do them," says the Mann Mayal actor.
"It’s a very horrific kind of a reality that we will be talking about. My character faces remorse and what happens in a child marriage, the human needs in a marriage. The discomfort, the birth... our society’s jahalat, the ugly truth about our society."
A project of John Hopkins University, Mujhay Jeene Do is currently in the production phase and is being shot in the rural areas of Punjab.
A far cry from his usual roles of the antagonist, Gohar's romantic drama Rangreza features him in a new avatar.
"My next role is going to be the most exciting one yet," said the actor of playing Waseem in the film. "He [Waseem] is someone I think people haven’t seen me like [on-screen] yet. It’s going to be new for the people."
Speaking about the film he said, "It’s a commercial film, a complete family entertainment project. Some really exciting and good performances from all the actors and good writing, it’s a good mix and good team, we are trying our level best to give our best product to the audience so that they are entertained and it’s [the film] paisa wasool."
The film is based on music, which will explore the contrast between classical qawwali and modern pop music with a love story intertwined. The film also stars Urwa Hocane and Bilal Ashraf in lead roles.
It would be a lie if we said this is not one of the most anticipated films of the year. But given the film's track record of keeping us hanging, will Yalghaar really release in 2017?
"Now finally the film is about to release this Eid ul Fitr," confirmed the actor.
When asked about the prolonged delay, Gohar said: "The only reason is the creative process. It’s an ensemble cast; justifying all the characters, marketing, making plans... considering Pakistani cinema doesn’t have a proper infrastructure, everything is trial and error."
The film revolves around the lives of valiant soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of eradicating terrorism. It's based on true events of the 48-hour Peochar operation conducted in 2008.
Before letting Gohar off the hook we asked him about playing the antagonist onscreen time and again. Being typecast in the industry isn't something most actors wish for, surprisingly, it doesn't feel like a career-threat to him.
"The roles I do are risky and unconventional, not many actors can do them." he said.
"Playing the antagonist is not easy, heroes are very simple, there’s not much to do [in those roles] as an actor -- all the work the antagonist has to do. I’m comfortable taking risks so if any character is risky and demanding whether it’s [the role of an] antagonist or protagonist I don’t mind doing it."
And it reflects on his script selection, because neither TV ratings or box office collections bother him, he trusts his intuition. "It comes from the gut. When my gut says it, I’ll go with it.
"Mera koi criteria nahi hai (I don't have a criteria) that it [the role] should be a certain way. I read about the character and if I feel I should do it it should be fun, then I take it up, regardless of the result."