Since the likes of Maula Jatt — a classic action film starring Sultan Rahi in the lead role — Pakistan has seen a decline of good action films being produced in the country. However, this Eid, Syed Faisal Bukhari’s action thriller Bhai Log aims to change this trend.
Bhai Log revolves around the gangs of Karachi and the prevailing terror situation in the city. The film — which addresses questions of nationhood and perpetual lawlessness which seems to prevail in the city — has an impressive cast comprising Javed Sheikh, Moammar Rana, Babar Ali, Saima Noor, Nadeem Baig and a host of other talented actors.
The film has two trailers which were released last month and show Karachi through unique camera angles and vantage points that are not typically seen in Pakistani films. Bhai Log includes carefully choreographed action sequences and dramatic rivalry between two gangs which have a hold on the governance and administration. The fight scenes between Ali and Rana show an entirely different side of both characters — known for their romantic and comic roles.
Sheikh, who plays the role of a godfather, explains that Bhai Log will prove critics — who are pessimistic about the state of Pakistani films — wrong. “Faisal has shown Karachi in a way that has never been explored before in Pakistani cinema. It has shots which are difficult to capture and that is why there has been a tremendous response to the trailers,” said Sheikh. “People will fall in love with the climactic end through which we’re sending a message that is relevant to the nation today.”
Producing the film was by no means a smooth ride. Due to the difficulty of shooting in key areas of Karachi, Bukhari required security clearance and that meant that many shots had Karachi police in them.
The post-production of the film is being done abroad to ensure that sound and video quality are up to the mark and comparable to most Bollywood action films.
Currently in Bangkok for post-production, the film may have to deal with other constraints related to the business side of the industry. However, Sheikh is hopeful that the production will get a good sponsor which will help it garner box office success. “Hype is quite important but, at the end of the day, viewers are looking for quality content. We will make sure that we do what we can to promote the film so that it is successful and reaches the maximum number of people.”
Meanwhile, Bhai Log’s co-producer Chaudhry Ijaz Kamran explains the dilemma that the production team is facing in trying to convince new cinemas to screen the film. “Newer cinemas are more interested in screening Indian films because of the stigma attached to Pakistani films,” said Kamran. He also rued the fact that the film was being censored by the federal government even though it is now the provincial government’s responsibility.
However, despite the hurdles on the way, he remains optimistic, holding on to the firm belief that the film will be successful due to its quality content and high production standards. “We’re fighting to gain acceptance. But I believe that if the industry provides a new film with international standards, it will work,” said Kamran.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.