LAHORE: In 2009, actor and producer Aamir Khan was spotted in different cities in India at events such as weddings. It was a promotional tactic inspired from the plot of his then-upcoming film, 3 Idiots, which sees his friends embarking on a road trip to hunt for Khan. The strategy helped propel the film to break box office records.
Whether it was offering free haircuts inspired by his bald look before the release of Ghajini (2008) or the 3 Idiots campaign, Khan is known for his pre-publicity tactics, his new ideas and professionalism and so is Shoaib Mansoor in Pakistan. But when it comes to promoting a film, the two are miles apart. The story of his first feature film, Khuda Kay Liye, was kept under wraps by Mansoor. The director, who has made some of Pakistan’s most popular television serials including “Ankahi” and “Alpha Bravo Charlie”, is notoriously secretive and hard to pin down. He rarely makes public appearances.
Even though his second film Bol, which was recently cleared by the Pakistan Film Censor Board, is slated to release soon, Mansoor is staying quiet.
“I make films on sensitive issues. If I reveal the content of the movies beforehand it might lose vitality,” Shoaib Mansoor told The Express Tribune. When asked about the release of the film, he said some issues had to be settled with the distributors but it would hit the cinemas soon. According to a source, the film is slated for release in January 2011.
According to the film’s website, Bol is set in Lahore and focuses on a household of women. Iman Ali, who starred in Khuda Kay Liye, plays the role of a courtesan.
The film’s cast includes Humaima Malik, Atif Aslam, Iman Ali, Mahira Khan, Shafqat Cheema, Manzar Sehbai and Zaib Rehman.
Several students from the National College of Arts’ (NCA) filmmaking department have assisted Mansoor on the film.
Former principal of NCA and human rights activist Salima Hashmi told The Express Tribune, “Shoaib is a very courageous filmmaker. His earlier film created a debate on various interpretations of Islam. Nobody at that time imagined that the film could be a hit because it was based on a very hard-hitting topic. I believe that Bol will also open up a debate on women’s issues which is always good to solve problems. This is how a great filmmaker can contribute to society.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.