Cinema is one of the major businesses all over the world, which is completely at halt since the abrupt of Covid 19 pandemic. Pakistani cinema, which was already in deteriorating condition because of the ban on Bollywood films (after the Pulawam incident In February 2019) and scarcity of good quality Pakistani content, has become standstill with an uncertain future. Moreover, this is third eid falling in Covid and closure while this occasion is considered the bonus period for cinema in Sub Continent. In this disheartened situation, there are some who are still hopeful about the reopening and prosperity of cinema in Pakistan. One of them is renowned film maker and producer Hassan Zia, who has completed his film Ghabrana Nahin Hai starring Saba Qamar, Zahid Ahmed and Muhammad Jibran and planning to go on next soon. Hassan with his company Mastermind Production has produced hits like Wrong No, Mehrunisa V Lub U and Wrong No. 2. Paperazzi talked to this ambitious and confident filmmaker exclusively about his upcoming project and how is he foreseeing the future of cinema in Pakistan.
You completed your film ‘Ghabrana Nahin Hai’ in Covid times and now you are going for another while cinemas are closed. What are your plans?
My partner, chairperson of JB Films, Mirza Jamil Baig, (also owns Nueplex Cinemas) who is managing the finances of film as well was the one who asked me to resume the shoot when the wave was low. We started GNH on 2nd November 2020 and packed it on 15 January 2021.
Why we have started our next project (also with JB Films) at the beginning of this year, as cinemas had started to reopen in India, despite the higher rate of cases. So we were hopeful that the same will happen in Pakistan. Keeping this in view, we wanted something ready by our side to show. We had worked on many interesting concepts in lockdown last year
Do you have any idea or hope about reopening of cinemas in Pakistan?
To be honest, cinemas owners are ready to reopen their venues but unfortunately they don’t have any content to run. They need at least two to three films on their screens at a time to meet their running cost. Some Hollywood projects have been announced for this year. Let’s see what happens.
If cinema remains in its current situation for a longer period, would you go for any other option to screen your content?
The fact is that cinema is the only entertainment for metro cities in Pakistan like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. I am sure cinemas will retain their position in next six months or so. As far as OTT platforms are concerned, people have had enough of them during lockdowns. Now, there is no more excitement for OTTs releases as what you experience in cinemas is matchless. It is like a journey, through which you immersed yourself in a totally different environment away from your everyday life.
How do you think cinemas can resume their operations with SOPs?
Our people are brave. If we announce to reopen cinemas today and place a good content, people will not even care of Covid and would fill them like before. I have travelled to other cities in Covid times and believe me, there was not a single seat empty in plane. We were just following SOPS for Covid. If we can do this in other businesses, I think we can follow them on cinema as well.
So, are you expecting to release it on Eid-ul-Adha if conditions are in favour?
Yes. Why not? JB was asking me to publicize a poster of film with the releasing date, ‘eid-ul-adha, 2021’. We might do it. It will give at least a hope to industry. There remains some dubbing and post production work on Ghabrana Nahin Hai, which will be finished by the end of June.
How do you foresee the general prosperity of cinema industry in Pakistan, when they resume operations after Covid?
I think for next two years all our producers, exhibitors and distributors should emphasize on making more films by trusting each other. Only this can bring us back to the position where we were before the closure.
Before Covid our cinema was already in a troubled state financially because of ban on Bollywood films (since February 2019). How do you think we would cover that loss?
In the year after Bollywood ban, there was a trend developed for Hollywood films in Pakistan. In December 2019, DC film Joker did a business of 90 million here. Moreover, if the Covid had not happened, many big films were planned for 2020 like Godzilla, Fast N Furious, and James Bond. All these films would have given a good business to cinema.
MY Genre Of Work Is Comedy: Danish Nawaz
Danish Nawaz needs no introduction when it comes to acting and direction. Hailing from a family of artists, Nawaz entered into showbiz industry after completing his bachelors in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has established a career in Pakistani television and films mostly in comedy roles. His comic role on sitcom Nadaniya is still remembered by viewers. Another forte of Nawaz is his direction skills. He has many successful television plays on his credit as a director like Kashf, Chupke Chupke, Dobara and Hum Tum.
The talented star took out some time to talk to The Daily Paparazzi from the sets of his recently aired Ramazan Special serial Hum Tum. Here it is.
What was special for the audience in your Ramzan Special drama serial Hum Tum?
It is just a family entertainment to make people happy and bring laughter to their faces. Our lives have already become very chaotic, vanishing every fun element from it. We have become intolerant as well and people get offended by little jokes. Therefore, I wanted to make a little change in every household in Pakistan through this light comedy television drama.
You had an ensemble cast in Hum Tum. How was the experience with them?
It was wonderful. All actors are experienced. Luckily they have worked under the banner of Hum TV, so know the style of production there. Everyone enjoyed the sets as they were already aware about the genre of the play. Moreover, yes! Most of them knew me as well
Did you face any problem during shoot like timings, availability of actors and locations as the cast was big, and time was very limited to record the play?
Not at all. Instead, it adds to my enjoyment and excitement when I have a big cast to work with. Beside the leading cast, I have seniors like Muhammad Ahmed, Arjumand Rahim, Adnan Jaffer and Farhan Ali Agha, Uzma Baig and Munazzah Arif, and two child stars Aina and Anoushay as well. I was lucky enough to work with this talented team. Everything was managed quite well. Moreover, we had a wonderful script of Hum Tum written by Saima Akram Chaudhry. She has an expertise of writing family stories.
What when gets a weak playwright, and has to put more effort as a director to make it ready to run with directions and choice of actors
It has not happened with me yet but yes whenever I am doubtful about anything in the story, I sit with the writer and try to solve the confusion. We have a special content department in MD Productions at Hum TV, where we discuss these things. I try my best to get the script up to mark before going on set. I believe that strong content is very necessary for any director. Without a proper plot, we can never erect a strong building.
Besides comedy and light stories, you have also directed plays on very serious issues, which have been very successful as well. What do you enjoy most?
I think the genre of comedy is quite difficult though I enjoy it a lot. Actually, everyone has his or her sense of humour when it comes to comedy and jokes but as far as serious stories are concerned, people somehow accept it especially when it is on a social issue. Yes, I am comfortable directing serious plays but there should be a message in that. In many plays, I try to convey the serious issue in a comic way.
Now come to your acting. You opt mostly in comedy roles. When are your fans going to see you in a serious role?
To be honest, it would be a bit difficult for me. I think comedy is my own style, and find it more comfortable and easy doing comic roles. You need to make an extra effort especially when putting glycerine for tears in crying scenes. I have an idea that even directors and producers would not suggest me for the serious role nor would people accept me in a crying scene. I have a trademark image of a comedy actor. Yes, I might work in a very tragic play or film but my role would be of comic relief in that.
Don’t you think doing the same kind of roles hinders actors’ versatility?
Honestly speaking it is not my genre of acting. I sometimes find serious roles very funny. Again yes, if I get something, which really attracts me, I would try but really not the public would accept it or not.
After a successful career as a drama director, when are you going to direct a film?
Oh, yes. It is in the pipeline. For film, I am looking for a good script, which is an integral part of the whole product. For dramas, I get too many scripts and always have options to select one. Films are expensive, need heavy investment. That is why one should work on ideas, which can appeal to the public so they are ready to spend on cinema tickets to watch them. Our budget is not very ample like Hollywood and Bollywood. We make films on any script of our choice.
Unfortunately, we are still confused about what our masses actually want to watch. When we make a film with a strong storyline, critics rate it a television drama and if we incorporate more action, it is called a copy of Tamil films. Therefore, it is very tricky to make a film in Pakistan. I hope I will soon get a clicking story soon and will definitely direct a film.
Do you have any idea or story in your mind on which you want to make a film?
No. Not at this moment.
In the end, any message for your fans
Keep watching and appreciating our dramas and films. We try our best to give you the best entertainment, which at the same time sends little messages, which can improve your current and future life and vanquish the regret of past life.
IPPA Announces Its Fifth Instalment
IPPA (International Pakistan Prestige Awards) announced its fifth instalment to be held Dallas, Texas, USA, on July 23 at a press conference in Karachi.
The programme was kick-started with a red carpet where celebrities, particularly those who have been part of previous IPPAs shared their previous experiences.
The host of the evening, Shanaz Ramzi, who has been an integral part of IPPA since it started in 2017, welcomed the guests and expressed her delight that her company has been associated for more than five years with IPPA, the only independent Pakistani awards that has consistently been doing successful shows abroad. A presentation was also shown that featured excerpts from the previous IPPAs.
Co-founder IPPA, Ali Malik, who could not attend the conference because of his engagement in another event in Manchester, sent his special message for the event.
The message read “It gives me the utmost pleasure to announce the fifth IPPA, after successfully holding it consistently in different parts of the world. Our vision was to project a positive image of Pakistan abroad and we have been successful in doing that by showcasing our talent in the field of drama, films, music and fashion. I am delighted to announce that the next IPPA will be in the US, and we are joining hands with a seasoned US-based company to execute the event. I am grateful to HUM TV, all our partners, sponsors and of course our highly talented artistes who have been supporting us from day one, and continue to do so to date. Let’s make the fifth IPPA rock!”
Another co-founder of IPPA, Mukhtar Ahmed while addressing the audience, expressed his pride and joy for the successful trail of IPPs, “It is a very ambitious move on our part, but we are confident that together, we will pull it off! Our objective of taking IPPA to different parts of the world is not just to project our marvellous talent but also to strengthen Pakistan’s ties with the country hosting us. We hope to increase trade and export our talent to these places once they are exposed to what we have to offer.”
IPPA has joined hands with Azhar Zaidi, aka AZ, who runs AZ Entertainment, a US-based company to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas, Texas.
Azhar Zaidi showed his excitement by saying, “I am delighted to be joining hands this time with IPPA to host the fifth IPPA in Dallas. We have a huge Pakistani diaspora there and as you have just seen, and we are very comfortable pulling of mammoth shows in Dallas. I am confident that with our combined efforts we will be able to make the next IPPA even more successful than the previous ones, Inshallah!”
Celebrities, who have been part of IPPA earlier, or hope to be this time round, then shared their experiences/emotions.
Dewan Motors Launches Centre For BMW Motorrad In Lahore
The world-renowned premium motorcycle brand BMW Motorrad marks a new era by joining hand with already well-known Dewan Motors in Pakistan. Dewan Motors has appointed famous rock musician, actor Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad, brand Ambassador for Pakistan.
Having a heritage of cutting-edge German technology, the Motorrad Centre was inaugurated in Lahore last week by Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors Private Limited along with Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East and Umair Jaswal, BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador in Pakistan.
“The BMW Group congratulates its partner Dewan Motors for launching Motorrad in Pakistan. It is great news for Pakistani motorbikes enthusiasts to get their hands on top quality BMW motorbikes. This is yet another BMW Group and Dewan Motors strategic initiative to enhance the BMW footprint in Pakistan and we look forward to welcoming our customers to try our fantastic motorbikes”, said Mr. Israr Ahmad, Area Manager, BMW Group Middle East.
“We are very excited to announce the opening of the first Motorrad Centre in Lahore. It is the only officially represented premium motorcycle franchise in the country. This state-of-the art facility will cater to all the needs of our esteemed BMW motorcyclist and will provide them an environment that is as hospitable as it is professionally focused”, said Ms. Nabiha Yousuf, CEO, Dewan Motors.
Yousuf showed her delight to have Mr. Umair Jaswal as the BMW Motorrad Brand Ambassador explaining that in addition to being the country’s biggest rockstar, Umair’s personal affinity for BMW motorcycles, made him the obvious choice.
“With him on board, one can anticipate that BMW Motorrad journey will be a lot more entertaining. We warmly welcome Umair to Dewan family and look forward to our fruitful association.”
An avid biker, Umair Jaswal was very enthusiastic to be the celebrity representing BMW Motorrad in Pakistan.
“I am very excited to be the face of Motorrad brand as well as emotional at the same time to have become a part of Dewan family”, said Umar Jaswal.
The singer added that riding motorcycles was his passion and no other brand than BMW Motorrad could satiate his desire to perfection.
The event was highlighted by the participation of hard-core enthusiasts, who came from far and wide, including the capital city, rendering the glittering event, even more memorable.
Motorrad is a premium motorcycle brand, building fascinating and dynamic motorcycles from long-distance enduros to racing bikes, exclusive luxury touring motorcycles to cool urban bikes whereas Dewan Motors has almost two decades of experience in representing premium automotive brand, BMW in Pakistan.
Earlier, in Karachi, Dewan Motors signed a MOU with Umair Jaswal, stating him as brand ambassador for Motorrad.
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