Despite having faced a slump last year due to box office failures coupled with regular bouts of illness, acclaimed film director Syed Noor knows there is no looking back. At the Shabab Studio, located in the periphery of Lahore, Noor, 61, is busy filming his latest venture Shareeka, which is set to release on Eidul Fitr this year.
Credited for revitalising Lollywood in the mid-90s, Noor is known for making issue-based films and has some of Lollywood’s biggest hits, such as Choorian, Jeeva, Ghoonghat and Deewane Tere Pyar Ke, under his belt. However, with a slump in the overall film industry and the economy in general, the director faced many failures as well but unswayed by these setbacks, he held on to his determination of keeping the Punjabi cinema alive and continued making films.
Noor looks at each film with the hope of reviving the industry. “I can’t say whether a revival will occur or not but I want to ensure films are being made not only for the audiences but also for those who rely on them for their livelihood,” says the director.
A sneak peek
Speaking about the film, Noor, considered one of the best film-makers in Pakistan, reveals, “Shareeka is a total family drama film. In our culture, joint families are a norm; but within these there are jealousies, negativities and other problems. However, we’ll focus on the importance of understanding these differences and moving past petty issues.”
The star-studded cast of the film includes Shaan, Saima, Irfan Khoosat,Mustafa Qureshi, Afzal Ahmed and others. Noor reveals that the film revolves around a big family, their two sons and then grandsons, all living together. Both Qureshi and Ahmed will be seen playing crucial parts. Ahmed, who is finally back after suffering from a stroke which left him wheelchair bound and unable to speak, has a role that’s designed to accommodate his condition. Shaan and Saima will feature as the children of the lead characters.
“You can probably tell what my character is,” quips Qureshi, adding that he will play the role of the grandfather. “Shareeka is an important story, with an important message. The film makes an analogy to the situation of Pakistan and compares it to a big family, consisting of different people from different backgrounds and languages, all living together.”
“In these times, to have a film like this being made is a positive thing,” states Qureshi. “We are, in a way, trying to discuss those issues which matter to the people of the country. I really believe that relationships thrive on understanding and likewise a nation also thrives on understanding amongst citizens.”
Like Qureshi, producer Safdar Malik also believes that the best thing about the film is that most people in Pakistan can relate to it. Recently, questions have arisen over whether a family film can generate enough revenue for the film-maker as well as cinema owners. Malik states, “People are tired of the vulgar and cheap films that are commonplace these days. That’s the reason families don’t even bother going to the cinemas. This will be a comeback of a genre of films that has been long neglected.”
While talking about the onslaught of foreign movies and how they affect the business of local ones, Malik says, “Currently, the industry is not producing enough films so foreign and Indian films are necessary for the survival of cinemas and theatres. However, on our part, we have made sure that at least some work is going on and that new faces are getting a chance to show their mettle.”
Noor’s upcoming venture
Meanwhile, apart from Shareeka, Noor’s other venture, Meri Shaadi Karao, is also scheduled to be released in June this year. The director confirmed it will include Indian Punjabi Daler Mehndi’s son Gurdeep Singh in the lead role. The film is a co-production of Noor and Mehndi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.
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