TIS Exclusive: The Immensely Talented Mani Speaks About His Upcoming Film Lafangay

He is Pakistan’s finest comedian today, an actor who has revolutionized humor to the tee. Having begun his journey with one of the most iconic sitcoms of its time ‘Sub Set Hai’ (2000), the show not only went on to become a humungous success; it changed the entire perspective and norms of the industry. He made it a habit to leave audiences in split with his wit; his natural comic timing coupled by his breezy demeanor. With timeless comic capers, he established himself  with a string of applaud worthy work from Azfar Mani  Show, Casuals, Hum 2 Hamara Show, road shows to radio shows. He later ventured in productions too. He took a break from showbiz in (2015) and joined politics.

‘Lafangay’ will dish out plenty of masala with logic, says Mani!     

Salman Shaikh popularly known as Mani is widely regarded as one of the greatest and influential figure of the country. After a long hiatus, he is back with Pakistan’s first horror comedy film ‘Lafangay’. Directed by Abdul Khaliq Khan, the film also stars Mobean Gabol, Saleem Mairaj and Sami Khan. We at [trending in social] spoke to Mani to know the minutest details about Lafangay, life and beyond!

Trending in social (TIS): Tell us something about Lafangay. What’s the USP of the film?

Mani: Lafangay is a horror comedy that revolves around four men who get stuck into a situation and the narrative moves forward. The genre of comedy combined with horror is widely enjoyed by masses both in Hollywood and Bollywood. I was surprised why filmmakers in Pakistan never thought of tapping into it.  The USP of the film is it’s genre that will make you feel scared and make you laugh the next moment. It will be a roller-coaster of friendship and entertainment. It’s a fun film and it’s cool.  This is a film with a strong message, a film that can change your mind set about how one can overcome his /her fears.


(TIS): How did director Abdul Khaliq Khan approach you?

Mani: I’ve known Khaliq from my television days; he has helmed many of my sitcoms; we met across various channels and interacted about productions. He is someone who understands my content very well. At times we used to discuss of working on a film together. I was really excited when he called me and finally offered me the part. I was instantly sold during the narration; I found the idea very unique.  I was blown away. I was very excited about the story and that’s the reason I wanted to explore this. My role gave me the margin to revive the [mani-ism] again. It’s been a great experience working under his tutelage.

(TIS): How crucial is your role in the film? 

Mani: My character is interestingly well crafted. It’s a situational comic ride right from the first frame to the last. It was kind off easy to fit into the mould as I’ve been doing comedy from the beginning of my career. Due to my training in television, I had the benefit of creating scenes and situations that will keep the audience hooked and hinting as to what will happen next. Lafangay is my big comeback; a surprise for all my fans, as I have put in my best foot forward.


(TIS): Which actress are you paired with? Is Sonya Hussyn the leading lady?

Mani: No! Sonya Hussyn isn’t a part of Lafangay. In fact, we don’t have any leading lady. However, there are many girls in the film who have their own set of problems.

(TIS): A huge section of masses find logic in films especially the comic ones. Do you agree that the audience shall leave their brains home while watching a comedy film?

Mani: I don’t agree! You can’t underestimate the audience; they are mature enough to watch meaningful cinema and won’t accept brainless content. A person who spends a handful of money to watch cinema has every right to be entertained. First things first, a film works on content not star value. In the past, star movies have failed miserably both critically and commercially. Keeping in view with the audience mindset, our director gave us logical learning to all our questions. I am sure Lafangay will dish out plenty of masala with logic.

(TIS): What’s the status of the film? Is the shoot completed?

Mani: We are done with the first schedule; the film will be completed on record time as we went into it with complete homework. We shot a fourteen day spell on a set; it was super fun and memorable. Every minute detail has been taken care of, be it VFX, animation, gimmicks, rigging or item songs. This film has got all the ingredients that a film requires to taste success. The film is slated to release in 2020.

(TIS): Do you think entertaining films are the need of the day given the fact that not many are exploring this genre?

Mani: I feel we are at the basics. Filmmakers are still experimenting and don’t succeed much. They aren’t mature to make an emotional film however the audience is. A comedy film scores on various levels; because of the fact that we produce good comedy on Television. Actors who’ve been a part of TV and sitcoms are relatively more successful for instance Nadeem Baig, Yasir Nawaz and Ahsan Rahim. I feel a comedy film connects more with the audience; it’s a safe choice and most importantly people want to be entertained.


(TIS): Do you think cinema in Pakistan is changing?

Mani: Yes! There is a change but it isn’t rapid. Each year we produce 18 -20 films and most of the film simultaneously release on Eid. The absence of Indian films has made the situation tough for distributors to survive. The change we are aiming for will come when we release at least 3 films a month. 50-60 films yearly will make a difference in order to build the market.

(TIS): Hira has emerged as one of the finest actresses’ we have in the industry. How do you look up to her success?

Mani: I was quite flamboyant initially when I rose to stardom and continued to surprise my fans for years. After marriage with Hira; I realized that she was a much bigger talent than me. I encouraged her to work; she made her mark in morning shows, later I insisted her to venture into acting. Today, her hard work and sheer dedication makes her stands in the league of top actresses like Sajal Aly and Iqra Aziz. My entire family has been in the business so it feels great the legacy continues.


(TIS): How happy do you feel seeing your kids growing up?

Mani: Of course, it’s a good feeling, and what’s great is the fact that my boys are excited about Lafangay. They loved my voiceover in Donkey King. I feel today’s generation have a different approach they aren’t into watching drama serials. They are kids of the you tube era and have their own favorite you tubers. Interestingly, Lafangay will resonate with youngsters, parents, grandparents especially who are active on social media.

Concluding the conversation Mani gave us an update about his future endeavors: I am doing two more films that are in initial stages. I am planning to make dramas and currently working on two sitcoms as well. I am also collaborating with (actor and comedian) Faisal Qureshi to make moderate budgets films with good scripts and good actors. I am striving to change and set new trends and hope all my genuine fans won’t be disappointed.




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