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Love Struck: Pak author on success of her TV show Humsafar

With a Masters degree in civil engineering, Karachi-based Ishtiaq had to choose between her love for writing and a job that offered financial security.

Written by Somya Lakhani | New Delhi |
Updated: September 24, 2014 11:40:58 am
the cast of the TV show Humsafar — Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan and Naveen Waqar. the cast of the TV show Humsafar — Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan and Naveen Waqar.

It was a tough couple of years for Farhat Ishtiaq. With a Masters degree in civil engineering, Karachi-based Ishtiaq had to choose between her love for writing and a job that offered financial security. In 2005, she chose writing. Ishtiaq is now one of the most popular young writers in Pakistan. A glimpse of her work will be seen on Zindagi channel when it airs Humsafar (later this year), one of the most popular Pakistani shows in the last decade.

“When I began writing the book (Humsafar), I wanted to understand if the idea of love is complete without trust. I was obviously influenced by my own life and lives of those around me,” says Ishtiaq, over the phone from Karachi. While the book was written in 2007-08, it was adapted into a TV show in 2011. It stars current favourite Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan of Bol fame. The show looks at the story of a married couple, Ashar and Khirad, weaving in the tale of their daughter who helps in bridging the gap between the couple. “The book is actually quite different from the show as the former is more about the child, while the show concentrates on the parents as lovers.

I also wrote the screenplay of the show. People say I write fairytales but when Humsafar received so much love and so many awards, I felt like I was finally a part of a fairytale too,” says the 35-year-old.

A romantic at heart, Ishtiaq also wrote a novel titled Mata-e-Jaan Hai Tu, which was also adapted into a TV show after Humsafar. “I am working on the screenplay of my first film titled Bin Roye Ansoo, which is also the name of my novel,” says Ishtiaq. While she is most popular for her love tales, Ishtiaq is trying to break the stereotype with Rehai, a show dealing with child marriage, currently on airin Pakistan.

Surprised at the warm reception of Pakistani shows in India, Ishtiaq says, “It’s one way of reaching out to each other and it’s a great medium. Shows like Humsafar are bold and when it aired, it attracted people of all kinds — from youngsters to men in their 60s,” says Ishtiaq. But she does not sound so enthusiastic about an audience for Indian TV shows in Pakistan. “We watch your films, not your TV dramas,” says Ishtiaq, keeping her fingers crossed at the response for Humsafar in India.

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