Meet ‘Phantom’ villain Hariz Saeed

Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif starrer counter-terrorism drama ‘Phantom’ is releasing in a few days. The movie based on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has been banned in Pakistan owing to the objections raised by Hafiz Saeed, the founder leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba which masterminded the terror-strikes.

Actor Shahnawaz Pradhan plays the role of a baddie named Hariz Saeed in the Kabir Khan directorial. Due to the tension on Indo-Pak border, the actor’s get-up in the film was not revealed. However, according to a daily, a screen-grab of his character in ‘Phantom’ has leaked and despite the change in name, it leaves no doubt as to whose character he is portraying.

‘Phantom’ is based on the book ‘Mumbai Avengers’ by S.Hussain Zaidi which is set in the aftermath of the 26/11. The novel has names of terrorists Hafiz Saeed, David Hadley, Sajid Mir and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. All of them have been portrayed in the film under various names.

“They are the four main villains. I have a little more footage than the others and given the media attention, my role is likely to get highlighted once the film releases,” Shahnawaz was quoted as saying. The actor who has prepared himself for the role from YouTube videos said, “Hafiz blinks his eyes a lot, his kurta has no buttons and his tongue peeks out when he's talking.”

The actor is of the opinion that despite the ban, Bollywood fans in the neighbouring nation will find other means to watch the movie.

“But I can confidently say that after the first show, pirated copies will make their way into the homes of Pakistani's avid Bollywood fans,” said the actor whose character is modelled on the founder of the banned terrorist organisation.

Shanawaz had earlier appeared in the epic tele-series ‘Alif-Laila’ and Anil Kapoor starrer television series ‘24’.

‘Phantom’ is produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and Siddharth Roy Kapur and is set to hit theatres on August 28.