How often can you say a legend was amongst us? A person who made such a strong impact that it forever remains ingrained in our hearts. And then we have those whose works of art; words of beauty penned to create such fascinating, heartfelt stories that bring the family together, will become our nation’s most treasured possession.
In Pakistan’s drama industry, there may be just a few names that can be considered as revolutionary. They made art which stood against the conventional framework, shook the stubborn walls and brought characters and stories that were way ahead of their time.
One such massive ball of talent is the evergreen, the celebrated and a supreme talent that Pakistan would never be able to replace with any other- Haseena Moin.
A starlet in her own rights, she gave Pakistan innumerable drama serials that paved the way for progressive storytelling. There was and will never be another Haseena Moin as we mourn her loss.
Social Diary, just a few days before her sudden demise had conducted her interview. While she unfortunately didn’t get the chance to see it come out in print, we are extremely honored to have gotten the chance to have spoken to her.
This is a tribute to the woman who put Pakistan on the map with her immense talent to express and portray which wasn’t just admired within this nation but world over. Presenting our final conversation with Haseena Moin:
SD: Tell us something about your educational background?
Haseena Moin: I earned my Masters of Art in General History and I took up Education and Urdu Literature in B.EdProgramme.
SD: How did you enter the field of drama writing?
Haseena Moin: When I was in the second year of college, Radio Pakistan-Karachi held a drama competition in which every college had participated. The participants were asked to send a drama script of 25minutes or so. From our college, our Urdu Professor asked me to participate in the competition as I had experience of writing short stories for a magazine called ‘Wallpaper’. On her insistence though I was a bit hesitant, I wrote down something in 2 days and sent it across. In 2 months, we received news that our college and my written script had won first prize and I was given the title of ‘Best Writer’. This was the nudge; the beginning of my career as a writer.
SD: You have written super hits like ‘Ankahi, Tanhayyan and DhoopKinaray’ and they all had different genres! What is your personal favourite genre from all of these?
Haseena Moin: Though I absolutely love all my plays like a mother loves all her children, Ankahi is one that definitely stands out for a multitude of reasons. One being how it took time and certain difficulty to make it. The director ‘Shoaib Mansoor’ had shared his desire to work with me plenty of times and this drama brought that vision into fruition. The artists were amazing, particularly Shehnaz Sheikh who I absolutely adore. From the day I got to know her till now, our association and love and fondness remains the same for one another. I enjoy these plays because all of them have been given a positive angle; an inspiring story which defines various characters and relations in great framework.
SD: Our dramas are appreciated across the border as well. What do you think sets Pakistani dramas apart from Indian dramas?
Haseena Moin: Not just in India, but all over the world, Urdu-speaking viewers appreciate our dramas. I have been writing over 40 years, and even now I am amazed how people remember the characters I have created and whenever I go somewhere, people express their desire for me to write more of such stories and characters. I think what makes our dramas stand out from the crowd is because we signify our culture, our beliefs and values- this was our recognition that made them distinctive. In India, I feel the emphasis is more on the settings like huge mansions, glimmering jewlery and over-the-top costumes, allowing little to no focus on the story line.
SD: Did you decide who is going to be your hero or heroine or does it all depend on the director?
Haseena Moin: For PTV, this never happened to us where we weren’t consulted during the casting call. In fact, we had a group where I would discuss with directors the best cast to play the roles. Especially in those days, it wasn’t a practice for male directors or casting agents to approach the female artists hence I was always asked to approach them. So, for our female artists, I would often go to their houses and was always greeted and welcome warmly.
SD: What about the plays and drama serials of today? Your views on those and the revival of your own work?
Haseena Moin: While I do feel some works of art do have strong narratives, I am perplexed at some of the content I see being projected on the screens these days. It is nowhere near our country’s cultural stance and values. Pakistan’s wholesome family entertainment has been fading drastically and I am in no interest to join the rat race where the focus is more towards ratings than quality stories. This is why I have been focusing on having my work being represented for theatre aside from a few other things that are in the pipeline.
SD: Words of wisdom for our readers who are earnest to become good writers too?
Haseena Moin: The first and foremost important thing you must know is that you need to pen as often as possible. Even short stories and essays will improve and enhance your writing capabilities. This will allow you to focus on character development. These days it’s a shame to see women being subjected in such negative and degrading projection and which is why I don’t watch a lot of television. Create stories and characters that will leave a positive impact on your readers and viewers rather than focus on highlighting on the negative ends of a personality. We have a lot of bad things happening around you any way; let your art be the light at the end of the tunnel.