Following the phenomenal success of his first feature film Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), there has been much speculation about Nadeem Baig’s next project and what it will be like. But as a director who made a name for himself through romantic television drama serials, Baig always knew what his next move would be.
Sticking to his roots, he has already begun preparing for his next film Main Punjab Nahi Jaungi (MPNJ), a romantic comedy which is expected to go on the floor in July this year. Actors Iman Ali and Humayun Saeed will headline the film.
Considering that JPNA, which was Baig’s first innings as a film director, went on to break the record for Pakistan’s highest grossing film, the film-maker confessed that there is a lot of pressure for MPNJ, from both cinemagoers and studio executives. “Almost everyone was expecting me to make another movie like JPNA. The weight of expectations heading into MPNJ is tremendous as everyone wants to see a movie that is an all-out entertainer,” Baig told The Express Tribune.
Even though he described MPNJ as a “feel-good, romantic film”, the director assured that he won’t be making any major changes to his approach to film-making. “As a director, I have always enjoyed working on mainstream projects that tend to have commercial appeal,” explained Baig. “I can assure you, though, that MPNJ will receive the same treatment as I want to create a product that can be enjoyed by wider audiences and not a particular segment of society.”
Unfortunately, Baig did not divulge any specific details about the storyline of the film, seeing as how it is still in the early stages. He did, however, mention that MPNJ would not be just another run-off-the-mill romantic comedy. “What I can tell you right now is that MPNJ is not going to be your everyday wedding comedy or boy-meets-girl kind of movie. The script that Khalilur Rahman sahib has come up with is a very unique one,” he stated.
Khalil, however, has previously written television serials and is usually not associated with comedies. Despite being relatively new to the genre, Baig said that a writer of Khalil’s stature had absolutely no problem adjusting to the comic style of writing. “Obviously his jokes won’t be as loud or out there as the ones people are accustomed to. But the real beauty is the subtle humour that is there between his dialogues, which is ideal for a movie like MPNJ.”
Aside from Saeed and Ali, actors such as Samina Peerzada, Saba Hameed and Ahmad Ali Butt will also be part of the principal cast. The soundtrack for MPNJ is being composed by music producer Shiraz Uppal. It is likely to be shot in Lahore and Karachi, with one spell taking place in some parts of Romania.
It is worth mentioning that MPNJ is not the only project that Baig is occupied with at the moment. In an earlier interview, Saeed had hinted at the possibility of a JPNA sequel. Confirming the actor’s involvement in the second instalment of the film, Baig revealed, “We have worked on a few drafts for the film and hopefully will be going into production by the end of this year.”
Terming part two of JPNA as a “proper sequel rather than a spiritual successor”, he shared that the plan is to shoot at another exotic location. “We plan to go to a place such as Brazil or some other beautiful location. Let’s see.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.