KARACHI: While most Pakistani film-makers continue to focus on commercial ventures, Rafay Rashdi is one who has gone against the tide with his very first feature film.
Produced by his mother, TV personality Mahtab Rashdi, Thora Jee Le aims to highlight problems faced by the youth of the country.
Coming to cinemas in December this year, the film tells the story of self-discovery, trust, and connection between friends who venture on a journey of a lifetime, only to discover that fate has different plans for all of them.
“I would describe the film as a comedy-drama revolving around the youth’s behaviour, and the struggles they face from parents to society to everything in between. It revolves around this one incident in the lives of a group of friends,” explained Rafay, who firmly believes that the youth is meant to be at the forefront of Pakistani cinema.
Mahtab joined the team to support her son’s venture. She shared that there were two main reasons for why she decided to do so. “Apart from the fact that he is my son, the reason I support the film is that it’s about youth and that’s something we need to talk about more,” she explained. “Secondly, the director and the team are quite confident in what they are doing. They have a vision, they are quite enthusiastic and I think we, as experienced professionals, need to support and trust our new generation of film-makers. I trust them and I think they will do well.”
Rafay revealed that the soundtrack for the movie has been produced by his brother Suhaib Rashdi, which makes the project sound like one big and interesting family venture. “We have six songs in the film but you won’t see the characters singing them. They are there in the background. The sound has an industrial and electronic edge to it. I have penned the lyrics myself, while Suhaib has produced the music,” added the young director. The two have collaborated for the OST under the record label Rashdi Records.
According to the director, the film will feature an ensemble cast of fresh faces. Actors such as Rizwan Ali Jaffri, Bilal Abbas and Fatima Shah Jillani have been roped in for the movie that is now in its post-production.
Rafay also shared his inspiration behind making Thora Jee Le. “I look up to Farhan Akhtar,” he said. “I mean Dil Chahta Hai was an amazing film. Then there was Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. I like his approach towards storytelling and surely, you will find his influence in my work.” Continuing on the same note, he cited directors Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and novelist Stephen King as his favourites. “Spielberg creates iconic characters like the ones in Jaws and E.T. That’s what I want to do as well: create characters that live on. You will see a lot of different and interesting characters in Thora Jee Le.”
With his mother overseeing the film’s production, one would expect that Rafay must have, at some point, felt the weight of her presence and expectations on his shoulders. “I don’t think so,” he said firmly. “Yes, I do have her support but I doubt the audience will think about that. They are going to watch my film and they’re going to enjoy it.”
Rafay plans to release the trailer for his film by late September, and officially kick off promotions from that point on.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2016.