An Interview with Haseena Moin

“God created women because we are a part of this world, we are beauty of this universe, not to be slapped around and be at the receiving end of injustice.”
Legends are never born twice’. There are few people in this world, who are not only a personality but also an era. One such personality is Haseena Moin — the living legend of Pakistani drama. Uncle Urfi, Zair Zabar Paish, Kiran Kahani, Ankahi, Dhoop Kinaray, Shehzori, there is a long list of classic dramas that are imprinted in our memories and remind us of the beautiful soul that is Haseena Moin


Recently, I had the honour to meet the renowned writer/screenwriter, playwright and educationist getting up close and personal about her career, childhood, future plans, etc.

What are some of your childhood memories?
I was born in Kanpoor, India but we moved to Pakistan at Partition. My father was in the Army so we lived in different cities. My most vivid memory is that I had always wished to stand on the victory stand but I never got that kind of success; being a chubby kid I never excelled in sports. I wished I would at least come 3rd so I could make it to the victory stand, but no way! However, when I received Pride of Performance from the President of Pakistan, the only thought that came to my mind was, “This is the place! This is my victory stand.”

At what stage of life did you realize that you can write?
I never wanted to be a writer as my family used to say that it was a bigger deal for me to be a good person rather than a writer, because I was very naughty. I started writing short stories when I was in Class 7, in Daily Jang kids page. Then my stories were published in a kids magazine named Bhai Jaan, and I also received an award for a story published in Bhai Jaan. When I started college, I stopped writing. Once, my Urdu teacher shared that our college had received a letter from Radio Pakistan for a competition to write a drama. She insisted that I should write this drama but I was not confident. She encouraged me to write and I wrote a drama script within two or three days to be sent to Radio Pakistan. Three months later, it was announced in the assembly that our college’s entry for the competition written by me had stood 1st. Agha Nasir liked my comedy script so much that he produced it.
After that I received a letter from Radio Pakistan to write dramas for Studio No 9. which was the biggest radio drama channel of Pakistan at the time. I wrote eight to ten dramas, all of which were a hit. 

What kind of writing do you enjoy: novel-based or original?
Personally, I like to write original scripts. My first original script was a play on PTV, Happy Eid Mubarak. Kiran Kahani was my first original serial that was based on a girl’s psychology. 
I wanted to write on serious topics and not the kind of drama playing now-a-days. After watching these dramas, people feel discouraged. My heroin was always a strong and confident girl. I have always strived to uplift women through my dramas. God created women because we are a part of this world, we are beauty of this universe, not to be slapped around and be at the receiving end of injustice.

Tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have written a movie Sach. The story is based on my life and the screenplay is written by an Indian writer. It will be released by the end of this year. In this movie I changed the heroin’s character when I wrote the dialogues, because I believe a girl should always be strong and resilient.
I am also going to write a movie on Kalash Valley. ISPR has asked me to do a re-make of Uncle Urfi. I’m trying to finalize things so it can be done nicely. Shehzori is coming on stage this September.

Why do you not write novels or short stories?
I started writing drama for PTV right after I graduated from  university and then for forty years PTV did not let me go anywhere. I wrote 50 serials for PTV. I did not earn a huge amount of money but I earned a lot of respect and fame. This work is quite demanding; you can only succeed if you have the passion to do it.

Your play Dhoop Kinaray was re-written in India. Are you satisfied with that script? Have they justified your story?
One of my friends, Sateesh Anand told me that people from India wanted to re-write my drama. I allowed them. Later on, I was so disappointed because they made it into a soap, changed characterization and some characters that were the soul of Dhoop Kinaray were not good. For example, the artist they cast as Rahat Kazmi’s character was unable to play that character. They made this drama in their own negative style and I did not like it. They touched my serial with permission but destroyed it; nobody could tell that it was a Dhoop Kinaray re-make. If you don’t have softness, you can’t make things beautiful.

I have read a few of your interview’s and write-ups related to Pak Army. How did this interaction begin?
I was first introduced to Pak Army when I won the first award for Best Drama Writer Sangsaar from PTV. At that time Pakistan Army invited me Kakul to see the passing out parade. Our stay was in Pindi Club where I met Col Mohammad Khan. He was also a writer so he was pleased to meet us.
For me it was an honor that Col Mohammad Khan came to meet me. I felt so glad; he had so many nice things to say and he encouraged me. He told me that comedy writing is very difficult. “Precious things are always rare,” he said.
The next day we headed for Kakul. Our journey from Rawalpindi to Abbottabad was beautiful. I can’t explain my feelings while in audience of the Passing Out Parade. It was fantastic: young cadets marching to the military band’s tune in the parade venue with the backdrop of lush green mountains. I was just mesmerized! That was the first time I was introduced to Pak Army and I realized what our army is.
Usually people think Army men enjoy a luxurious life in Cantonments. But the reality is totally different. They have rigorous training that continues without any break. So when we see them very closely, we realize how much courage is needed and how lonely it can be, away from family, making sacrifices to protect us and serving the country. We all need to have the same kind of passion to serve our country to make it great. 

What is your advice to young people who want to become writers?
I always suggest to young people to write short stories and essays first, so they understand characterization and how a character develops, how you transform your thoughts into words. Then you can pursue to write drama. Drama writing is not so easy, but these days there is a trend that every story written for digests is produced as a drama and I think it is a big failure. I have not watched TV for two years because I can’t see a woman beaten and degraded. Such characters have a negative impact on the society and on the youth. Not only writers but channel owners are also responsible for the portrayal of characters and bad language in our dramas. In the past, there was always a check on the language used in dramas, so why not now? HH

The writer is working as Media Trainer for script writing, voiceover, production and reporting.
E-mail:[email protected]

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