From designer to actor – mapping Hassan Sheheryar Yasin’s creative trajectory.
HSY is a household name people associate with quality entertainment and style. Whether it’s his reputation as a master bridal couturier or his warm, welcoming persona as a host – Sheru, monikered by his fashion friends, is a bona fide creative star with a long list of accomplishments under his belt.
His audience loves him in his various avatars; as a designer and as a celebrity. They have come to expect versatility from the man who creates magic with colour combinations of rust, lime green and magenta and their expectations are matched each time Yasin takes on a new role. So far, we’ve seen the design maven direct fashion and award shows, banter with his celebrity pals on TV and dress some of our favorite stars for their special events.
Anyone who knows Sheru closely though is aware of his boundless ambition and wish to break glass ceilings. Yasin, ever ready to push the boundaries, recently revealed an exciting new direction: acting!
The designer is all set to make his silver screen debut for actor turned director, Muhib Mirza. Mirza’s upcoming film won’t just mark the actor’s first foray into film direction but will also feature HSY in a role we have never seen before. The movie is said to be a spin-off of Mirza’s 2006 satirical drama, Ishrat Baji, which worked around the theme of gang rivalry.
The designer recently took to social media to share a sensational poster from Mirza’s soon to be released production, Ishrat – Made in China, announcing his inclusion in the project and teasing us with a poster that really doesn’t reveal much except for an angry look.
To some, Yasin’s move into the acting world might come as a surprise but anyone who’s known the kind, gregarious designer closely will know that this comes as a very organic transition. Having spent 25 years in the fashion business as a designer and show director, what the audience tends to forget is Yasin’s early thespian career and his love for acting and theatricality. It is, in fact a love for drama, that also extends to dance. Fans and admirers will remember his award show performances; once at the LSAs with Reema on the ‘Love Mein Ghum’ track from her film and another at the Hum Style Awards with Anoushey Ashraf in a musical tribute to historical tracks.
Instep reached out to Yasin to learn more about his debut acting experience and to get more details about the film.
Yasin starts off by pointing out that this isn’t his first appearance in a film. “I’ve done a talk show and I came in Asad’s film (Haq, Dekh Magar Pyaar Say) but I wasn’t really playing a role. Whenever I’ve been on camera I’ve appeared as myself,” he explains. He’s had countless offers over the years that he turned down because they all required the same out of him.
“So when I got a call from Muhib’s team that he’s making a new film and had written a role for me, I wasn’t too keen to be honest, I was expecting more of the same. However, when I read the script, I was blown away. The character was not a man I knew and I was immediately challenged,” he reveals. For Yasin, a man who has experienced more of fashion than most of us can even imagine possible, this was the key to his accepting the role.
Not really one for settling into routine or sitting on his accolades (of which he has many), Yasin had decided that his acting debut wouldn’t be a reprisal of his real life on reel. “I don’t want to do the same thing over and over again, this role really offered me a chance to push myself and explore a dormant side,” he adds, his voice resonating with excitement and conviction.
When asked about the role and what details he can reveal about his character, Yasin coyly reveals that it was a role that required him to train for months and needed him to perform his own stunts in the soon to be released action-comedy (as soon as we can start talking about releases). He also mentions that the sequences in the film were so grueling that he hurt his back twice. Yasin explains that the film will feature realistic action that is shot from the front since all the actors are doing their own stunts.
As far as details about his character are concerned, Yasin and Mirza want that to be a surprise for the audience, which means there isn’t much more that he can currently reveal. That said, rumour mills do actively suggest that he is doing a negative role.
Talking more about the film though, Yasin is all praises. “It’s a complete family film that will have you sitting on the edge, laughing and gasping through-out the course of the movie. There’s no public service message, no subtle layers of meaning and teaching: it is light-hearted and never pretends to be anything else,” says the director turned actor.
What other details can he tell us? Yasin divulges that the production quality of the film is unlike anything Pakistan has ever experienced before. From massive sets that were akin to cities in scale, set up on the outskirts of Karachi, to proper rigging for fight sequences and professionals from across the globe flown in for their technical expertise, Ishrat – Made in China has pulled out all the stops that are necessary for a blockbuster.
Yasin is also all praises for his team – not only his fellow cast members who include Shamoon Abbasi, Sanam Saeed, Ali Kazmi, Sara Loren and Mani, but for everyone on set for their dedication and passion to the project. For Yasin, this was a learning experience that he is thrilled to be a part of and felt it truly enriched his life.
Being the style savant that he is, Yasin obviously designed his own costumes for the film and promises that it’s a look we’ve never seen before. The film’s exact release time/date is yet to be decided but in Yasin’s opinion the movie is in cue to be released. “There are some incredible films that have to go on the floor first, like Maula Jatt, etc,” he points out. “Once they’ve been released then it’ll be our turn I think,” explains the designer.
However, all conversation about film releases is subjected to the state of the country and the pandemic raging through it. Cinemas remain closed and the markets are mostly shut as the country struggles to find its feet amidst growing health concerns. Sheru, come to think of it, has remained active and positive throughout this state of lockdown. Having recently moved to Lahore to take care of his mother, he has been in the Instagram limelight, first with a series of celebrity interviews and then with cooking and lifestyle videos. Through his constant interaction with fans, he has managed to stay relevant at a time when most people have fallen to the back burner.
As for Ishrat – Made in China, he might not be certain as to when the movie will be out but whenever it is, Yasin has us convinced that it will be worth watching, even if it is just to see his debut.
To some, Yasin’s move into the acting world might come as a surprise but anyone who’s known the kind,gregarious designer closely will know that this comes as a very organic transition. Having spent 25 years in the fashion business as a designer and show director, what the audience tends to forget is Yasin’s early thespian career and his love for acting and theatricality.