Friday 18 January 2013

From the mohallas of Lahore: Zinda Bhaag to release end of 2013

Upcoming Punjabi/Urdu film Zinda Bhaag is now in its final stages of editing and is scheduled for international release soon. Amongst other little known actors, the cast boasts the inclusion of Naseeruddin Shah.
“We had a clear idea,” says Meena Gaur who has co-written and co-directed the film with Farjad Nabi. “We wanted to emphasise on people’s everyday lives as opposed to the geo-political scenes of terrorism,” she adds. Gaur’s husband, well-known journalist Mahzar Zaidi, is the producer of the film.
“We wanted this film to be intimate and reflective of everyday life,” she explains, adding that the film is a result of two scripts that Farjad and her were researching. The story is about three boys who are looking to find success by leaving their country. It tackles the theme of illegal immigration and is set in the mohallas of Lahore. “We wanted to shoot the film in Pakistan, because the stories are from here,” says Zaidi.
Gaur explains how the story was born. “Setting out on a long research period, we started to document stories of people who had gone through the process of illegal immigration,” she says.

Zaidi explains that they held auditions for local, unknown actors who didn’t have much acting experience. “Despite being inexperienced, they are talented,” he said, referring to newcomers Sarfraz Ansari, Imranul Haq and Malik Aslam.
“We wanted this film to be reflective of the reality of young people in Lahore, so we wanted actors from those neighbourhoods,” says Gaur. “We are telling their stories.”
Gaur says film-making in Pakistan is difficult because there is a lack of trained personnel and technical equipment, which has forced them to bring people together from different places. She feels that while the making of the film itself is not an issue, “A major obstacle for film-makers in Pakistan is the marketing and distribution.”
“Here, a film-maker has to be involved in every aspect of film-making because the distribution of films is not structured. Hence, it is always a struggle to get your film on screen.”
Zaidi explains that on a broader level, problems with distribution can be explained by the fact that major distributors function more in the form of importers, and the reality is that there is limited space for Pakistani cinema even in Pakistan. The team that was brought in included individuals from India, who trained and assisted on technical aspects of the film.
“We have film importers, not old-style distributors as once seen in Pakistan,” says Zaidi.
“The professionals we got from India understand the language and culture, so they can speak to the local crew; they have imparted a lot of knowledge to us,” he adds. “The crew we worked with is now working on other films as we speak.”
Zinda Bhaag promises a soundtrack that will include music directed by Sahir Ali Bagga and songs by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Arif Lohar and Amanat Ali to name a few.


Post a Comment