Thursday June 01, 2023

Veteran artistes reminisce about time spent with Haseena Moin

March 29, 2021

Among all the writers of Pakistan who wrote on feminist lines, Haseena Moin was unique, as she registered the most effective protest against “social establishment”.

Poet and television personality Iftikhar Arif made this remark on Sunday while speaking at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP), where a condolence reference was held for the iconic playwright who passed away on Friday. The event was hosted by Huma Mir.

Arif said Haseena lived a solitary life, and there must have been some reason for her remaining single, yet no one ever heard her complaining about life. He recalled that he first met her when they had both been working for Radio Pakistan.

The speaker called for compiling and publishing all the plays penned by Haseena. Criticising Pakistan Television (PTV), he said if anyone asked PTV to allow them to publish its dramas, the state-run television would not permit, but if someone published them without asking PTV, it would conveniently be ignored.

He asked ACP President Ahmed Shah to get Haseena’s works published without taking PTV on board. Later, Shah spoke about Haseena’s association with the Arts Council. He said the late drama writer was a part of his team for many years. She was recently elected as the vice president of the council.

The ACP president lamented that PTV had mistreated one of its legendary writers. He said that when Haseena tried to adapt her masterpiece Ankahi for theatre, PTV went for litigation and obtained a stay order.

Shah said it was the same PTV that never paid Haseena her share whenever her plays were rerun, although it was part of the writers’ contracts with PTV that whenever their play would be broadcast again, they would receive a certain share from the revenue.

A constellation of senior TV drama and literary personalities was present on the occasion, including Talat Hussain, Fatima Hasan, Anwar Sen Roy, Azra Abbas, Afzal Ahmed Syed, Kishwar Naheed, Sajid Hasan, Behroz Sabzwari, Khalid Anam, Arshad Mahmud, Taj Haider, Asad Muhammad Khan, M Zaheer Khan, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, Harris Khalique and Anwar Maqsood.

Senior actor Shakeel, whose first TV drama was penned by Haseena, could not control his emotions while remembering her. He had starred in some of the most famous dramas of Haseena’s such as Zair Zabar Paish, Uncle Urfi, Ankahi, Parchhaiyan, Kohar and Happy Eid Mubarak. He recalled that when Dilip Kumar had come to Pakistan, he had praised Haseena for writing Ankahi.

Actress and director Misbah Khalid, whom many recognise as Misbah Ishaq, was the last director with whom Haseena collaborated, as only a few days ago both of them were in the mountainous regions of the country to shoot a web series that Haseena had written. Misbah also mentioned how Haseena had valiantly fought breast cancer.

Almost all the speakers mentioned the lively and kind nature of Haseena, who would never indulge in backbiting, and would use general words if she had to criticise anyone. Sania Saeed remembered the day she had auditioned for Haseena’s play Aahat, which told the story of a couple from the lower-middle class who had multiple daughters. She said age difference never mattered to Haseena, due to which her juniors were never uncomfortable in her company.

Describing how Haseena had been Pakistan’s diplomat in unfriendly countries, Sania said she was once interviewed in India by a girl named Sana Kapoor. Sania said she was confused after hearing the name because to her, the names Sana and Kapoor together did not sound normal. The Indian interviewer then explained that Ankahi was a big hit in India when she was born, and so her parents named her after the play’s protagonist Sana.