Three is not always a crowd; it can be great company, and film debutants Noaman Sami, Ahmad Zeb and Fariya Hassan are proving that.
The young stars of ‘Talash’, a feature by Zeeshan Khan (aka Zee Kay), which is due out in Pakistan on November 15, got together for the first time at one of the reading sessions, and bonded famously well.
It helped that none of them was coming in with some sort of a baggage — so there was no question of insecurities.
“We were all in a similar place or position vis-a-vis the project,” says Hassan, the model-turned-actor from Larkana who by profession is a freelance flight attendant in the corporate airline industry. “Our struggles and the teething problems we might’ve faced were quite the same. So, we’d try and help each other out, and suggest ways to improve.”
The vibrant and articulate Zeb, who is clearly the most experienced of the lot, having appeared in a number of TV commercials and drama serials, seconds Hassan: “We didn’t want to overstep as well. We’d offer feedback or help only when sought. This way, the other person wouldn’t feel awkward.”
He also briefly mentions his next project, ‘Aik Jhooti Love Story’, a miniseries for Zee5 directed by Mehreen Jabbar. But for now, we are to talk about ‘Talash’ (which translates as search/hunt) only.
At the film’s media event at a restaurant in Lahore, the actors are seated in a row, facing a volley of questions and flashlights. From across the table, their easy camaraderie is all too evident.
Sami is admittedly the quieter sort. He even seems shy — his gaze is lowered for most of the time that his colleagues are talking. But pull him in the conversation, and he turns out to be quite the opposite. Coincidently, in ‘Talash’, he plays an underdog — a simpleton from a small town who transforms into a dynamic force.
The film’s first act is a breezy story about three medical students — Saleem, Tania, and Khurram, played by Zeb, Hassan, and Sami respectively. But it takes a dramatic turn when the three characters, having graduated, are sent to a remote village in interior Sindh to set up a medical camp. They come under the radar of the merciless lords of the land. How they face up to the enemy, and manage to fulfil their professional duty is what makes up the rest of the film. According to Zeb, ‘Talash’s’ “core subject is malnutrition. In our rural areas, children are generally undernourished, which is why their growth is stunted. But the society’s attitude towards medical treatment is seen as an intervention. The film highlights this very important issue.”
“Of course, all this has been packaged nicely,” Hassan chips in. “There is adventure, action, romance, and songs. It’s an entertaining film at the end of the day.”
She speaks especially of a wedding song that is based on the Sindhi folk song, ‘Ho Jamalo,’ and a rendition of Pakistan’s national anthem. To quote Zeb, “[The anthem] would be playing on the set, so we would get into the feel of the character instantly.”
Besides, a rock ‘n’ roll number, ‘Maar Kay Doray’, featuring Azal the Band, is out already.
When asked if the audience should expect a love triangle, Sami comments: “Yes, but trust me, it is bohat mazaydar [very interesting]. It’s not your typical ‘eternal triangle’ thing.”
To corroborate his point, he reveals that none of the three characters in the film is ‘badmash’ (evil).
‘Talash’ boasts a strong supporting cast that includes Mustafa Qureshi, Saleem Mairaj, and Adnan Shah Tipu. A poster of the film showing a vintage car has also aroused curiosity. Zeb claims, “It [the car] has a complete role in the film. My screen character Dr Saleem is obsessed with it, he considers it his baby, and won’t let anything happen to it.”
Above all, the car features prominently in the film’s major sequences.