Getting candid with the ZKHH couple

Mark your calendars as this Eid-ul-Azha is going to be quite entertaining for everyone as three Pakistani movies are set to release across the country.

One of them is the much talked about Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay (ZKHH), with lead couple, Feroze Khan and Sajal Ali, portraying the characters of Zain and Mahira respectively.

Being one of Pakistan’s favourite on-screen couple, the ZKHH duo is also rumoured to be in an off-screen relationship.

The couple gained popularity with the hit TV serial ‘Gul-e-Rana’ which made the rumour mills go wild about their so called affair, now coming to the big screen together in their debuts; the much-anticipated couple talks to Pakistan Today in a very candid interview to promote their upcoming film.

But first, they want to clear all the fog about their relationship, “I understand that when people like some character or couple on screen, they want them to be together forever. It is definitely the love of the people for us,” says Sajal Aly while commenting on the relationship rumours with Feroze Khan.

“In the past, the age difference between the on-screen couple was obvious so people couldn’t associate them as a couple. I am not annoyed by them as I feel super safe with Feroze,” she added.

“I for one am tired of explaining. People should get over us and move on,” a little annoyed Feroze Khan tells us, “I have been married, engaged and what not to Sajal. I think I have become quite resistant now and have also lost many prospects due to the rumours (winks).”

They say they respect each other and feel that such rumours only distance them from each other, “We are the best of friends and I would love to work with Feroze in the future too, given that he is young and talented, we also have a great chemistry, it is definitely fun to work with your friend.”

“A boy and a girl can JUST be friends,” emphasises Feroze further saying that he does not need such publicity stunts to promote his dramas or films.

“I am single and ready to mingle,” he says.

The best of friends, Sajal and Feroze are going to be on the silver screen in a movie directed by Anjum Shahzad, produced by Rafiq Ahmed Chaudary and Fahmeeda Abdul Khaliq and written by Abdul Khaliq Khan. The film will be distributed by Geo Films.

The plot revolves around a young couple, their married life and kid; the obstacles faced by them as they want different things from life but also love each other. When asked about his character the fun loving Feroze simply said, “I play the hero. You should watch me be one.”

The humble Sajal, on the other hand, emphasised her character and her choice, “Many times I do not know why I do what I do, I choose this movie because I haven’t ever played a mother. Plus there are so many shades to the character. It was quite demanding to transform from a girlfriend to a wife to a mother.”

“There was a lot I could do with the character other than being the hero,” adds Feroze.

“The story was very appealing and the character had a lot of margins to perform and I knew Anjum would make me work harder,” he says.

“Plus Anjum Shahzad is brilliant we did exactly as he said,” they both put in quite seriously.

Though the plot sounds cliché, the duo begs to differ, “The movie isn’t cliché; it has a message for everyone and a mission, especially for the youth,” stresses Feroze.

“It is a pure family drama stuffed with emotions; it is about jelling together with positivity and honesty, and has a lot of underlining morals,” Sajal adds.

The third main character of ZKHH is the child through which the couple stay united, asides from the struggles of working with a child, the duo adored him

“Jibrail Ahmed (Dodo) is beautiful and talented. His parents support during the shoot was remarkable. I wish for all parents to be this supported for talented kids,” Sajal praises her on-screen child.

Talking more about the talented child, “We disliked dubbing; sometimes you can’t react to what you already did when acting on the set,” narrates Sajal.

“Sometimes we wished we could take our own microphones so that we could get the voice over’s done on the spot.  But dodo did it with such perfection the second time around that it was amazing and embarrassing,” laughs Sajal.

No movie is complete without the off-screen fights, ZKHH was no different, “We fought a lot on the sets!” they both come clean.

“But the best part is we got to release our aggression on each other, as we had a lot of querulous sequences,” Feroze laughs off.

“Yes, some of the scenes might not be just acting,” Sajal says while recalling the shot.

The Pakistani cinema

The Pakistani cinema industry is in its early stages and everyone is trying to contribute to its making as much as they can.

Sajal Aly, who has completed shooting for her Bollywood debut ‘Mom’, is glad that her first ever movie is a Pakistani film.

“I do not think there is much difference between the Pakistani film industry and the Indian,” she says.

“Yes, they are more developed and have more resources than we do, but I know we would too in some years,” Sajal adds.

“They are calling our drama actors for large scale Indian movies. That goes to show that we have definitely hit a mark there and we can do much more here,” she highlights.

Feroze feels that Pakistanis should firstly own their mediums, as they own their TV serials.

“We should do justice to all mediums of arts, acting is the highest form of art and it needs our support. Pakistani cinema can do anything and everything,” says Feroze.

Even though people want to contribute to the development of Pakistani cinema, Feroze thinks that anyone who has anything to offer will ask for something in return.

“I won’t do anything ‘Fesabhililah’ and everything has a price to it,” Feroze says while dismissing the idea of doing movies for free to establish the industry.

The female leads too are being paid equally, “I think some women earn more than men,” Sajal says.

The Iron Man and Woman

Feroze, who is just a couple of drama’s old, is under immense pressure as the release approaches, “My sister is my school, I am answerable to my parents and my siblings and I want to please them. And of course, they are brutally critical.”

“Because my family knows my work and understand me too, they know what to expect of me. This being my first movie, there will definitely be mistakes and I hope they are not taken so seriously,” Feroze prays.

His dream role is being Ironman, “The thing is that if you are good looking (not that I am) whatever you do the face structure remains the same, and some roles do not suit the face. People have already accepted you how you are; I want to do characters that are more appealing,” Feroze explains his choices.

“I do not believe in moving arms and I can do wonders!” he adds.

Making her debut in Pakistani and Indian cinema, Sajal feels she doesn’t want to think of competition.

“I don’t think there is any comparison and I want to show Pakistan’s positivity to the world. No, I do not think I m in competition with anyone,” she says.

Talking about being compared to Marwa once her Bollywood movie release she says both movies are very different so there is no room for comparison.

“Marwa ko yaha dehkle gay waha aur logo ko dehkna hai (Will be in competition with Mawra here and with others there),” Sajal decides.

Repetitive plots 

The drama industry is at its peak, with one drama after the other being a hit and catching steam.

Sajal feels the fraternity still needs to contribute more, “the problem with the people of Pakistan is that they want to see crying women on screen. I know this because the serials with deprived and endangered women get the best of ratings.”

She recalls being told off when she acted in ‘Kadusi Sahab Ki Bewa’, “When I see dramas that deal with stronger women hitting the right place, that is when we will know the people have moved on and want better stories about happier, stronger women.”

Similarly, Feroze feels that the TV medium is a spoon feeding medium, “The fraternity should work together in making livelier and happier shows which would bring the people out of their depressions.”

“We need to work on stories and research more. At the moment we are a machine producing one show after the other. Shows should be such that they are shelved for life,” he adds.

Sajal wants to start working for herself now, “Some of my serials are so close to my heart because I have worked very hard on them but they haven’t been a hit with the people.”

“Of course the channels need to earn money and make shows hence the similar plots,” Sajal elaborates.

“But, some things can’t be changed because at the end of the day you work for the people,” she concludes.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today

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