One of my favourite duos from the Pakistani drama industry is that of Fahim Burney and Nadia Khan. This director-actor duo paired up almost two decades ago to present “Manzilein” written by Seema Ghazal, a serial that was a huge success and is remembered to date as Nadia Khan's second best drama serial after “Bandhan". After “Manzilein", Fahim Burney and Nadia Khan re-united for another serial, the story of which was conceived by Nadia Khan herself but unfortunately resulting in someone else replacing Nadia.

“The night before the shoot began, I had a terrible accident and was badly injured. The whole cast had arrived in Dubai but I couldn't be a part of it due to my injuries,” says Nadia Khan.

“The serial was titled “Aik Pal", Nadia's own creation. But due to her unavailability, Amina Haq did the role which Nadia was to play herself. Even after “Aik Pal", I offered many projects to Nadia Khan but she didn't accept them, for she had abandoned acting,” says Fahim Burney.

Despite the rejections, Nadia Khan promised Fahim Burney that whenever she'll make a comeback, she’ll sign her first project with him, resulting in “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein" being the first serial she signed after her comeback. However, due to some delays in the shooting, Khan got enough time to sign two more projects and work on them. As a result, “Aisi Hai Tanhai" and “Zun Mureed" went on air before “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein".

Thoughts on “Manzilein" and “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein"

Fahim Burney

“Manzilein" was my second project after “Khaali Haath" and it created quite a stir in the industry, for I was going for foreign locations and a colourful on-screen look of my dramas. As far as Nadia's inclusion in it is concerned, “Manzilein" was her second or third drama and so has “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein" been after her comeback. This is where both “Manzilein" and “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein" connect.

Nadia Khan

When I did “Manzilein", I was quite young and naive. Fahim's attitude, therefore, was based more on care. He was very protective about me and the chemistry we had developed had respect as the main element. Now that we are mature and our friendship has grown very strong over the years, he had to care less about me and the spells of “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein” were fun. We discussed the script a lot and made many improvisations, for I could relate to the character very well and was confident of the ways it could be moulded.

Questions from Fahim Burney:

How has your experience been of working with Nadia Khan?

You come across very few people with whom you can talk on every topic. Nadia Khan is one of them, so it becomes very easy for me as a director to make her understand the story and other details. She herself is a wonderful storyteller and has so much to narrate. While doing “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein", she gave a lot of advices which helped me in taking the story forward. Her real-life experiences also made her identify well with the story and we kept on doing experiments. Even years ago, she came up with a story in which she couldn't act despite badly wanting to.

How difficult was it to do a serious project with Nadia Khan?

Comedy suits Nadia more and that is what I keep telling her. Her timing of comedy is perfect and I believe that she is meant for that genre. It was quite difficult doing an intense drama with her and most of our time would be spent laughing. I couldn't even scold her, for she is such a good friend of mine. Then Nadia would demand some time to compose herself and come back to re-act. Besides that, Nadia and I often share jokes and convert our serious scenes into parodies, enacting them for the sake of fun.

How has the response been towards “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein"?

The channel keeps telling me that it is quite similar to “Zun Mureed" but the response which I have received from the viewers has been overwhelming. I have received e-mails and messages from people asking me if I have taken their lives as inspiration. It surprises me to think how a story can so perfectly connect with someone's heart. Most of the responses have been from women living in Canada and other foreign countries. At an award show in London, many people surrounded me to tell that “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein" seems to them their own story. The serial has given sense to those women as well who were being subtly abused but were not realizing it. Statements like “your lipstick shade should be a bit darker" or “this dress doesn't look good on you" do not sound abusive but indirectly hint at the places where your partner is lacking physically. The writer, Saima Ikram Chaudhry was given a very short time to pen down the script but she did an amazing job.

Questions from Nadia Khan:

How has your experience been of working with Fahim Burney?

He is the most intelligent person I have ever come across. He is fun to be with owing to his excellent sense of humour which does not bore his actors and they keep on longing for more scenes to do with Fahim. And this is what makes him a good director. We do not get exhausted no matter how many scenes we do. Be it me or any other actor, Fahim has never shouted on anyone. I have never seen him doing that. Such directors give their performers a lot of strength. Besides that, he himself is a wonderful actor and an incredible mimic.

Were you afraid that “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein" might not receive as much popularity as “Manzilein"?

I do not compare my projects. Once I am done, I move on to the next without thinking about the success or failure of the previous one.

What was Fahim Burney's response on getting to know about your comeback?

He was extremely happy and showed a lot of encouragement. He made me recall my promise of doing my first project with him after my comeback.

How has the response been towards “Kaisi Aurat Hoon Mein"?

I have received an amazing response. I get messages and calls on a daily basis and get to know that the serial is being followed and loved.

While Nadia Khan expresses a desire to be around Fahim Burney owing to his beautiful personality, Fahim Burney is also super-excited to do new, innovative and interesting projects with Nadia Khan in future.

“There is so much we have planned,” says Fahim.