Has the announcement of a Pakistani film ever set fans on edge as much as the announcement of Syra Yousuf and Shahroz Sabzwari’s strangely named Babylicious did? The unexpected announcement came in December, long after the once couple parted ways in 2020. But it was recently revealed that the actors got the film in 2017 and director Essa Khan began to work on it long before that, in 2012.
In an interview with Something Haute on Monday, Yousuf and Sabzwari said Babylicious was originally a short film that came to them quite a few years ago but the script wasn’t enough for them to work on. It had to be changed a lot until it made sense to them.
“I won’t call it a rom-com because that’s a completely different genre here. I would say Babylicious is a feel-good popcorn film. Like if you want to buy some popcorn and nachos and watch the feel good, nice chick flick that makes you a little happy, sad and a little excited, It’s that film. It will tick all the right boxes and it doesn’t have the masala, one of a forceful kind,” explained Sabzwari.
Yousuf added that while it is indeed a chick flick and feel good film, there’s also romance. “He’s right. It’s the kind of film that you’d watch for a good laugh and there are some thought provoking things in it as well. Because you see the the idea of love has evolved over the period and we grew up watching these films where you knew that hero is in love, now the hero could also be a psychopath. So there’s a lot to question and think about, so it’s nice like that,” said the Sinf-e-Aahan actor.
Discussing their equation, how they are managing now that things have changed so much for both of them in the six years since they agreed to the film, Yousuf said, “What helps us maintain a good equation is that we’re parents to a child and I think that has helped us maintain that equation in a very healthy manner. When you prioritise something, a person, especially if it’s a child, then you realise that your problems are small compared to that. So then you make sure that you’re decent to each other and good to each other.”
Sabzwari added, “When the teaser came out, the most excited person was Nooreh. She’s like ‘Baba, you’re looking so bad, Mimi is looking fantastic’ and that’s her love. She won’t say anything nice to me and that’s her love and I love that. Whenever she says something nice that’s when I know she’s lying.”
When praised for their decorum and parenting, Sabzwari shared that Nooreh and her sister Zahra share a bond like no other, one that he had not expected and it all comes down to the energy both Yousuf and Sabzwari’s new wife, model Sadaf Kanwal have.
As the host shared that she’s excited to see Nooreh react to the film, Yousuf said she’s very particular about what she sees since she’s only eight years old. “There’s a difference between the random actors you see on the big screen and then your parents. I’m like okay, I don’t want extra confusion in her head. Like I keep telling her that it’s just pretend. This is just pretend, we’re just pretending to be people and it’s just a story. So I hope it’s not confusing for her,” she said.
For Yousuf, Babylicious is a world on its own where people will relate but also question some things that don’t happen here. Sabzwari said it’s more of a “wonderland” where things from number plates to locations may be the same as it is in Karachi but some things are shown differently in the upcoming film.
“We’re not uncomfortable at all. Not we, but talking about myself, we’re happy about this film and we’ve given it too much of time. Whatever the vibe Babylicious is giving off to people, it’s benefiting our film,” Sabzwari said.
Yousuf also answered the host’s question about people rooting for the couple while they aren’t a couple anymore and if that makes them uncomfortable. “Of course, it gets a little irritating because you’re like ‘move on’. You’re like something has happened in someone’s personal life, they went through it and they’ve come out of it, like let it be now and let’s focus on what it is now. Because bringing back an old thing, it’s like if someone has moved on, you’re constantly taking them back there. I feel like when people move on, like literally in a way that it’s obvious, then I think it’s best to not make it awkward,” she said.
“But then it takes time to get used to the things you haven’t seen before, like the idea of separation that for some may mean cutting ties on bad terms. It can also be like those people sorted their own issues in order to bring up their children,” she said.
The actor added that she’d like people to enjoy the film and respect them for being professional because they’re doing what they have to do.
Yousuf plays the character of Sabiha while Sabzwari plays Omar in Babylicious. The film is set to release in theatres in February.