Sports web-series Baarwan Khiladi is Mahira Khan’s first project as a freshly established producer and it will soon be making its way into the world.
The web-series, produced by Mahira alongside producer Nina Kashif and director Adnan Sarwar from motorcycle girl fame, will be released on Tapmad TV, a local OTT platform. The series revolves around the Shaheen XI cricket team with 12 players who qualified for a league. It focuses on what a young man with dreams must do in the midst of rivalry, power and an unfair system, shedding light on what it takes to qualify for Game 11. official trailer for the web-series was released on February 11 and collected quite a few a lot of interest intrigued netizens.
Khan as he spoke to the media at the press conference for Barwan Khiladi in Karachi on Wednesday, said the series’ upcoming outing was unlike anything she had experienced as an actress so far. “It’s very different sitting here as a producer and not an actor,” she said. “When you’re an actor, you can put a lot of things on the producer’s shoulder and say ‘what could we have done, the production was like that, it happened like that’. But in Right now, whatever happens in the playoffs, the responsibility lies with us.”
For the producer, the sports web-series is a difficult project to pass up when she read the script for the first time. “When the scenario of Baarwan Khiladi came, Nina kept urging me to “read, read” and finally I said “ok”. When I started reading it, I was like ‘oh, that’s different. I’m not reading a sanitized version of a cricket story.” Every sports series or movie tells the story of a boy who goes out and Baarwan Khiladi is similar to this, but there is also something very different about it. The dialogues, the way the boys talk to each other in the scenes, the boys [in the film] themselves told me ‘you know Mahira, that’s also how we boys talk in real life'”.
Tapmad TV executives Zain and Yassir Pasha also had a thing or two to say about “sanitized content” in Pakistan. “One of the big problems with content made in Pakistan – and many other places – when driven by a sponsor is that it’s sanitized to match the image of what the sponsor wants, but when the consumer pays for it, you can watch whatever you want and that’s what Tapmad wants [push forward]”Yassir said.
The web series has done its best to be as authentic as possible. “The story is about nepotism. The story is about all the cricketers who have come through the ranks in Pakistan and the problems they face. This story will not only appeal to our sports fans but to the general public in Pakistan, [because] they will see how someone who is unlucky [and deserves it] suffers because of it,” Zain said.
Baarwan Khiladi sees actor and singer Danyal Zafar take on Shahveer Jafry, a prominent Pakistani YouTuber making his acting debut in the series. The series also stars Kinza Hashmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Saba Faisal, Hina Ashfaque, Mohsin Gillani, Shafqat Cheema, Mira Sethi, Usman Peerzada, Fawad Jalal, Salman Butt, Meer Yusuf, Ali Tahir, Khaqan Shahnawaz, Zarrar Khan, Sajjad ul Haq, Ali Abbas, Waqar Ali, Hammad Akmal and Umer Hayat Chaudhry.
Zafar is grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the project. “Mahira and Nina saw something in me, I don’t know what, but they did and one fine day I got a script and a call from Nina,” he said. “When I started reading the script, I’ll be honest, my preconception was [saying] no [to it] for who knows what will happen; it’s a local web-series on a local platform. But the content was very strong. I felt compelled to [discuss the script] in more detail with Nina and Mahira and all those people.”
Hashmi, who is one of the film’s few female characters, said it was hard for her to say no Baarwan Khiladi once he was offered a role. “When I got the offer to do the role, all that mattered to me was that Mahira Khan was the producer and she was [very first] project. It was an honor for me,” she said.
The web-series will be released on Tapmad TV on March 5.