The role of a producer is yet to be clearly defined in the Pakistani film industry. With channel executives showing an eagerness to take on the responsibility, producers are mostly identified as the people responsible for addressing the media at press conferences or the ones with their arms around the stars’ shoulders at red carpet events.
But after two decades in the industry, Humayun Saeed has come to know showbiz like the back of his hand. His extensive experience has finally helped him crack the code on film production as Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’s record-breaking box office success proved Saeed is a producer to be reckoned with.
From the very beginning, Saeed had harboured a burning desire to work with motion pictures. In 2013, his dream to produce a film finally materialised with the release of Main Hoon Shahid Afridi (MHSA) – an initiative he took by thinking that it was either now or never. “Four years before MHSA was released, I had already bought all the necessary film equipment because I always had the feeling that I needed to be the first one to take the leap. The rest would follow,” he told The Express Tribune. While the movie had a decent outing at the box office and was declared a hit, Saeed confessed that it was not a great return on investment.
The success of JPNA may have launched many accolades in Saeed’s way but it also came with its fair share of criticism. The comedy received a great deal of negativity owing to its raunchy item songs and numerous product placements, making it seem like one lengthy advertisement. “From a producer’s perspective, it is very important,” explained the Yalghaar star, “There will come a day when brands will be begging us and we’ll be saying no, but that will only happen when our industry grows. As for now, it is the need of the hour.” According to Saeed, not only does branding lead to an influx of financial resources for film-makers, it also serves as an effective tool for promotions.
With the dust on JPNA now settled, Saeed and his team are already preparing for a sequel, which is aiming for an Eidul Azha release, later this year. The core cast and crew for the second installment are expected to remain the same, but the setting for the movie may change drastically with Brazil being the forerunner in discussions.
As evidenced from its upcoming releases, Saeed’s production company Six Sigma Entertainment is now willing to repose faith in films of different genres. Since the release of Na Maloom Afraad, film studios have found working on all-out comedies to be a more secure and a financially-lucrative venture. However, this formula too has invited criticism from various quarters within the film industry reasoning how this approach may stunt the industry’s growth.
Saeed, however, clarified that he supports parallel cinema wholeheartedly. “But then again, audiences should understand them and feel hooked as well,” remarked the Bin Roye actor. “What’s the point of looking at a painting and not being able to understand the concept behind it?”
Saeed has got plenty more up his sleeve. The actor will soon be starring in another one of his productions, Main Punjab Nahi Jaungi. The film will star Iman Ali in the lead role and be directed by Nadeem Baig from a script by Khalil-ur-Rehman.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2016.