Mohib Mirza is a renowned actor, host and theatre artist from Pakistan best known for hosting the original franchise Pakistan Idol and portraying the main character Ishrat Baji on Aag TV's sitcom, Ishrat Baji. Mohib started his theatre career in 1999 and made his television debut in drama serial Zebunnisa in the same year. Some of Mohib’s hit shows in Pakistan are Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti, Shehr-e-Zaat, Daam and Hum Tum amongst the others. Since then Mirza has acted in numerous television serials, telefilms, sitcoms and TV commercials. Mirza is married to famous television actress and model Aamina Sheikh.
Mohib is currently being seen in Zindagi’s latest show Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti alongside Urwa Tul Wuqsa. YSNHS is a light hearted comedy, revolving around two lovers Sikander and Alishba who have been in love since college, but their marriage has always remained an issue as the families belong to contrasting backgrounds. Mohib won the Hum award for the best supporting actor and was nominated by New York Film Festival for the best actor in lead role for his film Seedlings.
How does it feel that your show Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti will be seen in India as well?
I am happy that we are able to showcase the Pakistani culture through a different method of storytelling. It will enable the Indian audience to know about us and break the stereotype they have regarding us. I feel that it will lead in relating at a subconscious level when it becomes evident that we share the same food, sorrows and joys. I expect YSNHS to do well in India. After a tiring day and encountering social pressures of life, difficulties and situations of everyday life, YSNHS provides a relief and enjoyment to the audience, more so in the midst of serious soaps which usually women oriented.
Your real life story of marriage is quite similar to your reel life struggle to get married on Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti. Is that true?
This romantic-comedy drama, which is about a couple trying to convince their families for their marriage, is similar to his real-life story. The basic premise of my real life love story and the one in the show is similar as I had to try hard to convince Aamina's parents, especially her father, for our marriage. At that time acting or music were not even considered as professions. So, my father – in – law, Aamina’s father, who is a pharmacist, was not sure about my career so it took a lot of persuasion to assure him that I have a stable career as an actor. Working on 'Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti' was weird but easy too. I think I took a lot from my personal life while performing the role.
Please tell us something about your character in Yeh Shaadi Nahi ho Sakti.
My character in Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti is that of a regular boy from Karachi. He is originally from Lahore’s Punjabi Butt family. This boy has set himself apart from his culture and dialect and has adopted a more modern lifestyle and lives in modern Karachi where the focus is more on speaking Urdu and not Punjabi. He likes a girl from a different family background and they want to get married, but their families do have points of conflict. So, it is the process that this character has to undergo to unite the two families. The story revolves around the romantic - comedy in Yeh Shaadi Nahi Ho Sakti.
Are you happy with the feedback that you are getting about YSNH from India?
I am extremely happy with the feedback from India as this drama is quite special for me.
How did you maintain comedy across all episodes of YSNHS?
Yes, it is difficult to do it but it was everybody’s responsibility connected with the programme – writer, actors, director – to ensure that tempo was maintained, while shooting whenever we found that the comedy was fading, we tried to work around the scenes, dialogues and improvised.
Which is your favourite comic act from Bollywood movies?
I loved Pankaj Kapoor’s subtle and amazing timing and acting in Finding Fanny. I loved his acting, I thought it was brilliant.
What did you like about the serial when you opted for it?
As a performer for me, I like to do different roles of action or a serious character, this role was a relief for me. When Yeh Shaadi Nahi ho Sakti premiered in Pakistan, it was the time of Ramzaan - the time of festivity and this is a light hearted comedy. So it was a good time for me. Work was easy because it was light, a romantic comedy – it was a nice change for me.
Do you think the Pakistani shows being shown here in India will change the image of Pakistan?
Yes, definitely. It will change the image. You will get to see how we are in our homes in our everyday lives. We have often been criticized the way Pakistanis are shown in Indian films as always wearing caps etc. That is not Pakistan at all. Karachi is exactly like Mumbai; Lahore is exactly like New Delhi. We know all about India but India is still unaware of our culture. So I am really happy that the shows being shown in India have no stereotypes, there are evolving characters. There are families where salwar - kameez is being worn, jeans are being worn. So there is going to be a huge change in image of Pakistan. This change has already begun.
Any movie that you have liked in recent times?
The last movie that I have seen is Finding Fanny with my wife, Aamina. I think it is a great film and I am a great fan of Pankaj Kapoor. What a great performance of his. I watched the dubbed version here; the performance of Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Sahab was brilliant.
Fawad Khan has recently marked his debut in Bollywood. Have you got offers of any such project?
I would like to congratulate Fawad Khan for making his debut in Bollywood and doing such a brilliant role in Khoobsurat. He is one of our finest actors and a brilliant singer too. He is doing a brilliant job and it is amazing that one of our actors is now part of Bollywood. If given an opportunity and if I like the script then I would definitely love to work in the Indian industry. In today’s times, just as painting or music has no boundaries, performers too have no boundaries. If India does want me to come perform for them, then I surely will.
Are you fond of travelling? Which all places have you been to and what has been your favourite destination?
I love travelling. The last place I have been to, was about eight days back for a shoot in Mauritius with Sanam Saeed for a film. I love Mauritius. There are certain areas there with white sand beaches which are beautiful. I love beaches in Panama, Florida.I love places that are close to nature and are away from one’s fast – paced life.
Which other city except Mumbai have you been to in India?
I have not been to any other city in India except Mumbai. I had the visa to go but did not have the time. I would really love to visit New Delhi though. I have heard that it is very similar to Lahore and I would love to see that.
What was the kind of support that you got from your family when you first started out in this career?
My parents have always supported me. My friends then were getting into different lines of work like business. My mother always said that do what you feel like doing. If you want to become a performer, then be one. My friends and family have always supported me; they have seen my work and have appreciated what I have done.
When do you think you will enter Bollywood?
I cannot speak of projects under discussion. Nothing has materialized yet but I hope it will soon. Actors from Pakistan are being increasingly involved with Bollywood, so I hope I shall enter Bollywood soon.
Which Bollywood actress would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Deepika Padukone.
You made a transition from theatre to television serials. How was the change?
Theatre definitely helped in memorizing the lines and dialogues. It gave me the advantage to improvise on the sets and manage situations thereby enabling me to give a kick to a scene, based on the straight script. Coming from the stage did of course pose its own challenges which I realized when I moved to doing television serials. I realized that one does not have to be loud and exaggerate. I overcame that and contained myself on television.
Would you like to send out a message to Indian audience?
I respect you a lot because you know how to pay due respect to artists, to appreciate them and place them at their appropriate pedestal. The work that we do is difficult, one of out many becomes an actor a performer, and it is a gifted skill. Therefore it is a great feeling to be appreciated by you for this. I really love Mumbai, but I love to visit Delhi, Goa, my sister was in Lucknow. I would love to visit these places. I am extremely grateful to India and especially Zindagi channel which is showcasing serials from Pakistan in India and a cultural exchange is taking place.