Thursday 2 April 2020

Limited supplies, no flights: Pakistani celebs stranded in Thailand plead for help

23:39 By Lollywood Online

KARACHI  : Popular television actor Muhib Mirza’s debut directorial, Ishrat Made In China’s shoot had kicked off in Thailand before COVID19 took a serious turn around the world. Half the cast returned to Pakistan after completing their 15-days of shooting while the remaining half, is stuck in Thailand with, no flights only fight.

One of the film’s leading cast members, Shamoon Abbasi told The Express Tribune that even then the cast and crew are waiting patiently for Pakistan to open its air space on April 4.

“But just two days ago PIA revealed the list of countries’ flights that will be allowed and Thailand wasn’t one of them,” Abbasi told The Express Tribune. “Not to mention, Thailand is also expected to close it’s air space soon. And if that happens before PIA resumes its flights than we are doomed.”

Other leading cast members of the upcoming film include Sanam Saeed, Sara Loren, Hassan Shehryar Yasin (HSY), Mani, Mustafa Choudhary, Ali Kazmi, and Imam Said.

 According to Choudhary, the cast started arriving in groups depending on their shooting requirements. “Me, Mani, Ali Kazmi and HSY went early and returned to Karachi on March 18 after a 15-day shoot. Thankfully we didn’t have symptoms but we started quarantining. As for those who were still there, the shoot wrapped up on March, 25 but air spaces had closed by then.

Mirza, the director of Ishrat Made in China’s also uploaded a video in which he said, “Ever since we wrapped the film we have been waiting for when we’ll be allowed to go back. We are waiting for some kind of special flight and I’d like to make an appeal to the civil aviation authority, the government of Pakistan and Ministry of foreign affairs, to help us get back home. I’d further like to request the Film Producers Association to forward our message to the government.”

 The cast is currently staying in a hotel in Kanchanaburi, which is a tourist destination covered with forests,  3-4 hours away from Bangkok. According to Abbasi, there are zero cases of corona there and a minimum population.

“However, what’s limited is the resources, given the production team did not expect to stay here for many days. There are 21 people here, including the crew and regardless of what the situation in Pakistan be, everyone needs to get back home.” Mirza also brought attention to the same aspect in his video. Both of them clarified that they would take all necessary steps to quarantine themselves once they arrive in Pakistan but that can only happen if they are received. Abbasi went on to add that the entire team is sticking together like a rock but the uncertainty is killing everyone inside. “We thought we’d return by April 4, but if we knew this would happen we would’ve started making noise sooner,” Abbasi said. As far as coping is concerned, Abbasi noted that he and Mirza were the ones panicking, trying to get in touch with people who could get them home. As for the two leading ladies of the film, Abbasi said, “They are strong women, Sara herself has traveled a lot and Sanam is very concerned. They are responsible enough to know they are surrounded by responsible people so they aren’t panicking.”

But as far as everyone’s mental health is concerned, Abbasi said that the team’s comic relief had left when Choudry, Mani, HSY, and Kazmi went back. “Everybody’s just been counselling each other these days, we play some music and crack a few jokes but everyone is scared deep inside. Even television is useless here because all the channels are in languages we don’t understand.”

Mani, on the other hand, said that his co-stars had a feeling that something serious was about to go down. “We packed up and left as soon as our shoots were done,” Mani told The Express Tribune. This was, in fact, my fourth film shoot this year. So Thank God we got done early because we are worried about these guys now, they have limited resources and no family there.”

Details of the film, however, have still not been revealed, but the film titled ‘Made in China,’ has seen quite a few plot twists before the release. While the remaining actors kept their lips sealed, Mani revealed that the film was a comedy and his role, quite comedic. “Money Back Guarantee onward, majority of the films being made for 2020 are comedic,” he said. But real life has clearly turned into a horror story and all anyone can hope for is this Black Mirror episode to end. Not just for the cast and crew stranded in Thailand but for everyone else around the world.


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