The sudden rebirth of Pakistani cinema this year has encouraged film-makers to dapple in various themes. Debutante producer-director Farooq Mengal is another one to partake in this adventure, with his first film Hijrat.
Known in the drama circuit for producing and directing serials, Mengal’s film takes on the crucial subject of internally-displaced Afghan refugee camps, with an added love story.
Model-turned-actor Asad Zaman, who is also making his debut with this film, plays the role of Murad – a young, happy-go-lucky person who finds himself thrown into the world of the internally-displaced where pain and agony is a normal, daily experience. It is under these circumstances that he falls in love with a field doctor Jia, played by model Rabia Butt, and is exposed to a different side of life. Zaman highlights that while the film addresses serious social and human rights issues, it is meant for sheer entertainment.
“The film is complete entertainment,” says Zaman, who plays the lead in the film. “It’s about a guy who is interested in having a good time and eventually finds out how unpredictable life is. But there isn’t one particular angle to his journey. The lesson is that one should not lose hope.”
The film also stars veteran actor Nadeem Baig, Salma Agha and Mareeha Safdar. The music has been composed by Sahir Ali Bagga and the film will include songs by Ali Azmat, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Imran Aziz and Abida Parveen. Considering the big names, it seems that Mengal managed to put together a great team and Zaman acknowledges that. “It’s a team effort for sure; there was instant chemistry [on the sets],” he says.
Quetta-based director Mengal seems to have been working on the script and pre-production of the film for nearly a decade. The film has already shot its first spell in Quetta and is all set to shoot the second in Europe. It is aiming for a spring release next year, depending on whether the distributors are able to accommodate in terms of dates. However, production is expected to complete by early next year.
The first look of the film was released last week, and the Hijrat team is happy with the response it has received. Mengal is hopeful the audience will enjoy this feel-good story as well as Butt and Zaman’s chemistry. “This will be something that all audiences will enjoy. The intention is to make this something fun and spontaneous,” says Mengal.
As far as the revival of Pakistani cinema is concerned, it seems there is finally a ray of hope for those with projects like these. “We have a re-birth of sorts taking place. It was over before but now there are so many projects happening. New talent is getting a chance and even we are giving it our best,” says Zaman. “Film has always remained a huge medium that is looked at with seriousness,” he adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2013.