“Aangan is so much more than just a period play about partition,” reveals actor Ahsan Khan. “It’s a story about family, love and a variety of different emotions.”
One had guessed as much, based on Aangan’s trailers and the obvious fact that the upcoming HUM TV drama produced by Momina Duraid is based on a novel written by Khadija Mastoor. The author had a flair for penning stories that could turn on the waterworks and Momina is infamous for her emotion-laden ventures; love, heartbreak, tears, stolen meetings, the whole shebang.
Ahsan confirms, “Partition does occur during the narrative but there is so much more that also happens.”
The long-awaited Aangan is set to begin airing this Thursday, December 13th, and there’s a lot of hype surrounding it, particularly because of its ensemble star cast. The drama will feature the hit pair of Ahad Raza Mir and Sajal Aly as well as actors Mawra Hocane, Ahsan Khan, Sonya Hussyn, Abid Ali, Hira Mani and Zaib Rehman.
The initial teasers also reveal model Rabia Butt to be making a short appearance, looking quite like the desolate pre-partition heroine in all-white. The Momina Duraid brand is expected to deliver strong visuals – the story may be set in olden times but there is nothing old about that slick camera-work in the trailers!
“The story has a lot of layers to it. Each character is essential to the plot,” says Ahsan. “It’s just beautifully woven together, shifting from one character to the other.”
(Some spoilers ahead)
“It is, primarily, Mawra, Ahad and Sajal’s story and my scenes are fewer,” he concedes. “In the initial episodes, I am seen with Sonya Hussyn and the focus is on our love story. The story then moves on to the next generation and I play Sonya and my character’s son. This character is seen opposite Hira Mani and also somewhat involved with Mawra Hocane.”
“I have never played two characters within one drama before and my scenes were shot in Wazirabad, Gujranwala and Karachi. It was interesting.”
And yet, it is a fact that the main story revolves to a large extent around Mawra, Ahad and Sajal. Why did Ahsan, a veteran actor accustomed to dominating entire storylines, agree to a drama where he is allotted fewer scenes?
“The number of scenes don’t matter because I just want to take on roles and scripts that are different,” he asserts. “In Pakistan, the choices available to an actor are limited if he wants to grow and diversify into new directions. I have about 20 scripts lying with me that have me in the main role. They are either typical love stories where I fall in love and tackle domestic squabbles or they are characters like the one that I played in Udaari. But I don’t want to get stuck into formulaic roles that don’t excite me.”
“’Also, Aangan has a stellar team behind it. It is a Momina Duraid production and is being directed by Mohammed Ehteshamuddin, one of the best directors that I have ever worked with. The cinematography is by Khizer Gul who is also exceptional and I am working with a very talented cast. It’s easily MD Productions’ biggest drama project yet and because it’s a period play, a lot of attention has been given to costume and the sets. It’s going to be making a lot of impact, I am sure.”
He moves on to discuss Alif, another upcoming drama that he will be seen in, where he has an extended cameo. “Even in Alif, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Sajal Aly are the main leads while I am in a cameo opposite Kubra Khan. But it’s a drama that is interesting with a very strong team helming it.”
“More actors need to take a stand when offered substandard work or scripts that are just following a bandwagon,” he says. “Veteran actors especially need to do this so that they set an example and also because they are more established and can afford to do so. If we all try to discuss the projects that we do and try to make changes within them then less substandard work will be produced.”
Aangan isn’t likely to be substandard although one can never be sure until the drama begins to air. We’re looking forward to it.