KARACHI: In times of today, one views cinema as a distraction, as opposed to a reminder of the evils that plague society. Independent film-maker Hamza Bangash, however, has risen to the challenge and will be depicting a Hindu-Muslim love affair in his upcoming short film, Rang Raaz.
After living in multiple countries himself, Bangash has developed a keen understanding for problems faced by minorities across the world. Through Rang Raaz, he hopes to shed light on these very problems. “I aim to tell stories which also reflect a positive image of Pakistan. There are too many stories which show minorities as victims. But you know, there are also many Hindus living good lives here,” said Bangash.
In Rang Raaz, the ill-fated couple decides to elope one night but when day finally breaks, consequences await them. And if the controversial storyline is not enough, the teaser trailer for the film hints at some intimate scenes as well, which Pakistani audiences might not be ready for quite yet. “See, the film is a love story at heart and sexuality is normal,” explained Bangash. “It comes naturally within a love story so I don’t think there is any cause for concern.”
Rang Raaz stars young, up and coming actors such as Hadi bin Arshad, Amtul Baweja and Kashif Hussein. Osman Rafique serves as the cinematographer while Sumair Saleem is producing. Bangash – who has previously worked on some documentaries as well – said he finds the transition from fact to fiction fascinating. “I find it more interesting actually, because it has a larger impact. Then there is a much larger audience for fiction as well, as compared to documentaries.”
When asked about the visual treatment he has given to Rang Raaz, Bangash revealed that he sought inspiration from Hong Kong-based film-maker Wong Kar Wai and Canadian director Xavier Dolan. “Kar Wai’s Chungking Express was a major inspiration for the visuals,” he revealed.
Fortunately, Rang Raaz – which is currently in post-production – has already been receiving much support from the film fraternity. “It’s so amazing that people have been coming out to support us! Jami Mahmood has advocated the film on social media. Sabiha Sumar – who is one of my mentors – also came onboard as a contributor,” said Bangash.
The director has established a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of post-production. The film has been selected in the ‘Project We Love’ category on the funding website as well. “Just three days in and we already have raised about 27%,” said Bangash. “We’re aiming for $4,000, which will cover post-production costs, along with festival fees.”
The team is also targeting the Cannes Film Festival for Rang Raaz. “I went there back in 2014 with my short film Badal but it was not a part of the competition. This year, we want to compete,” said Bangash, adding that he would like to take the film to India and the rest of South Asia as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2016.