Pop sensation Atif Aslam was seen in a dramatically different avatar this year on the silver screen as he made his acting comeback, his second credit following the 2011 film Bol, with Saifee Hasan’s drama serial Sang-e-Mah. Fans and critics alike have not only praised his debut performance as Hilmand on TV, but are also convinced that Aslam has made the character truly his own. However, in a recent chat show, Hasan revealed that Aslam wasn’t their first choice for the show and they had approached other “superstars” for the role.
On G Sarkar, hosted by Naumaan Ijaz, showrunner Hasan and writer Mustafa Afridi talked about the casting decisions for Hilmand. Hasan shared that they always wanted a new person to essay the role of Hilmand and while the producer Momina Duraid agreed with them, she specifically wanted the new face to be a “superstar”.
“We did not want to sign a known television actor for the role because they bring certain baggage with them. Hilmand is this poetic genius who’s a little wild, a little crazy, a little lost. It was a character never played on TV or film before and so we wanted someone who could bring the uniqueness with them,” Hasan said.
Before the Pehli Nazar Mai hitmaker, the team had approached another popular singer cum actor for the role, however, the said person rejected the script after reading it. Hasan and Afridi did not reveal which “musical superstar” rejected the script but the host, Ijaz who also plays a role in Sang-e-Mah, disclosed that the team was in conversations with Fawad Khan, Ali Zafar and Bilal Ashraf prior to finalising Aslam for the role.
“When we pitched the script to Atif, he loved it. We immediately flew to Lahore and had a whole session with him and finalised him for the role instantly,” concluded Hasan