Lollywood gem: Inside Shaan’s world

Published: November 5, 2011
The star has retired from Lollywood but wants to help young directors and actors make a name for themselves  

The star has retired from Lollywood but wants to help young directors and actors make a name for themselves . PHOTO: FARHAN LASHARI / EXPRESS

Inside the Music Gallery in Lahore, dressed in a fitted black t-shirt and pants, actor and director Shaan Shahid cuts an impressive figure.

After making a career through countless Lollywood films, Shaan is still keen to develop his resume, but, unlike many others, he is not aiming to do so by going abroad or venturing into Bollywood. Instead, this star plans to work with the younger lot of film-makers.

Currently, Shahid, 40, is filming up-and-coming director Bilal Lashari’s action flick Waar. The film, whose details and release dates have been kept under-wraps, seems to encapsulate how the actor wants to shape his future career.

“Right now, the future of film belongs to this form of cinema that will be brought by Pakistan’s young directors,” smiles Shahid, who announced his retirement from the local mainstream film industry in Pakistan three months ago. “It’s taken me five years, but now I have the infrastructure to invite young film-makers and provide a platform for them to make films. It is about creating a work of art, and if they need me to act, then I will act as well.”

When asked what the reason behind this decision was, Shaan explains that 50 to 60 years ago, what is termed as ‘parallel cinema’ was a part of mainstream cinema. However, because Pakistan has faced so many ups and down over the years with dictators ruling the country and political instability being rampant, this was never sustained. Shahid has praise for one politician though, “Thanks to Musharraf, the youth have learnt the value of freedom of expression and creative openness, it is my goal to now take film to their doorstep.”

Another venture which Shaan is trying to work on is to bring forth shorter films, which, are different from the typical long Lollywood length. His newest project for which filming will start in December is an untitled romantic-comedy. It is expected to be only 90-minutes-long and will include many of Pakistan’s famous faces. The film is set in mainly Pakistan but five to seven days of shooting will be done in London, England.

The reason behind this is, “When the concept of three-hour-long films was developed, people had a lot more time on their hands, now life is much more fast paces and people cannot take time out for such long movies,” says Shahid. The actor adds that he has not undertaken this project for money, as 30 days of filming on this venture will only earn him what he would normally earn in two days. Instead Shaan hopes that by pushing for such incentives, he can revitalise and strengthen Pakistan’s film scene.

Despite being a star in the country Shahid has faced his share of problems and says that a film which he had been working on for three years was stalled after the sponsor pulled out at the last second as they wanted to take the plot in another direction. The film’s plot was based on a love story between a young boy and girl who met at the Lux Style Awards. “It’s really high time that sponsors realise that branding in films is essential and an important way to help finance films,” emphasises Shahid.

When asked why he has not gone to Bollywood, Shaan says, unlike many Pakistani stars, he remains hesitant of working in the Indian market as he feels that each Pakistani has a patriotic duty and wants to ensure that no film he works in misrepresents Pakistan. This is something that seems to be critical in understanding Shaan — he states that he values being Pakistani more than anything.

“Aamir Khan asked me to take on the role of the villain in Gajini but my response was simple;  why choose a Pakistani to play a negative role when there are 10,000 other actors in India who could do the job?” states the actor.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2011. 

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Reader Comments (21)

  • waqas
    Nov 5, 2011 - 9:36PM

    the real hero look like hollywood actor


  • Hurlykhan
    Nov 5, 2011 - 10:56PM

    Shaan is one of the finest actors if you had a chance to actually watch some of his movies.He has a towering screen presence. It is heartening to see his good intentions for Pakistani cinema. It is encouraging to see someone sticking to his roots and trying to improve our cinema rather than take the short cut to fame by by being imported by bollywood. Wishing him success!


  • JJ
    Nov 5, 2011 - 11:44PM

    Really patriotic.


  • Realist.
    Nov 6, 2011 - 1:26AM

    The ONLY Hero in Pakistan who really LOOKS LIKE a hero!


  • Haseena Lodhi
    Nov 6, 2011 - 2:46AM

    Too many Shaan might appear as a HERO and for those people their threshold of quality is really low. Shaan has been in the film industry for a suitable amount of time and worked in a number of trashy, unimaginative, low class of films that has led Lollywood into the sink hole it has been in these last few years..
    His arrogant view of not working in India is that trying to hold on to his non-existent chocolate hero status not the fact that Bollywood did not recognize him worthy enough. His prissy attitude in “Khuda Ke Liya” where we wanted a privilege status of super hero star and when he did not achieve it he bad mouthed the film even though it was a success without his endorsement.
    Now that a new brand of young film directors are entering the film world with subjects unlike the low trash that Shaan has encourage and acted he is trying to re-ignite himself to jump on their bandwagon. He does not accept that the old un-artistic group that he associated with is not included in the new wave of young Pakistani film makers who are willing to take chances on subject matters and open a new venue of film excitement that Pakistan has never experienced.


  • Pakistani in US
    Nov 6, 2011 - 3:13AM

    Shan, I hope your good intentions can translate into good cinema.


  • Aamir
    Nov 6, 2011 - 6:03AM

    Shaan not is a brilliant actor but without doubt one of the most talented person in Pakistani showbiz. Most critics reckon he is a better director then actor. I have been waiting patiently for him to start directing films again. He announced Chup ages ago and nothing has happened. Just wish that this time he does go ahead and starts shooting for his film. Can’t wait also for Waar. Shaan you take the Pakistani film industry to the next level without any doubt.


  • Rizvan
    Nov 6, 2011 - 10:17AM

    shan is my favorite hero in all of the world..i pray for your success,,


  • JJ
    Nov 6, 2011 - 11:02AM



  • ayesha khan
    Nov 6, 2011 - 11:04AM

    Here he claims that AMir Khan offered him the role of villain in Ghakini, On the Wikipedia autobiography he claims that he had been offered a small role in AMir Khan’s Ghajini but he rejected it because it showed Pakistanis as villain.

    Several contradictions/factual accuracies here:
    1. A small role in Ghajini is not the same as being ofered the role of the villain in Ghajiniu (in fact the title role since the villain in that film is called Ghajini).

    Amir Khan wasn’t the producer of Ghajini and could not have offered a role to Shaan as he seems to claim. In fact that movie had been made in a South Indian language with a different hero and then translated into Hindi. The south Indian producer had an entire Soth Indian team including Asin (the heroine), A R Rehman who todate continues to be based in SOuth despite having given many Bollywood superhits etc. There is no question that this south Indian producer would have offered Shaan a role.

    In Wiki Shaan claims that he turned down the role because it showed Pakistanis as villain, But the character of Ghajini who is a villain is shown to be an Indian don. SO that statement is also not true.


  • R. Khan
    Nov 6, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Grapes are sour!


  • Faraz
    Nov 6, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Shaan had potential to direct some good films but like rest of his lollywood contemporaries, he did not realize how important it is for a film to have a PLOT and decent scriptwriting to go along with it. The scripts of Guns and Roses: Ik Junoon and Mujhe Chand Chahiye were terrible, the post-production being hopeless as well (the films did stand out from the rest of the junk made by lollywood though but that’s not saying much). Being so close to the industry and being its central component, he could have done a lot, but with Zille Shah, his last directorial effort, he fell for the terrible backwardness of Punjabi cinema.


  • Pinto
    Nov 6, 2011 - 9:06PM

    Don’t know much about this guy.but he should’ve accepted the roal offered by aamir.if he believes he is an actor then he should be ready to play any kind of roll.I think villians roll is as important as hero


  • Aamir
    Nov 7, 2011 - 1:08AM

    Faraz, it looks like you something against Shaan by ridiculing film like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Mujhey Chand Chahiye. Both films did well at the box office. Both films were way ahead in terms of technical values of what was being made in Lollywood way back in the late 1990s. You need to check out the cinematography, lighting ,set design etc of these films. Both films have been made by the outdated equipment available in Pakistan and post production has also been done in Pakistan. I have uploaded Mujhey Chand chahiye on my Youtube channel with subtitles. Check that out and then comment.


  • ask me
    Nov 7, 2011 - 9:46AM

    No i don’t agree with u i think he did the right thing when someone is making an across the border appearance for the first it has to be good and it has to more than anything leave a good impression and a role does that whatever it is that u play on screen and than on top of that somebody who has played a hero for 20 year in the Pakistani Film Industry doesn’t have to fip over for the Indian He will always be our nation’s Hero.


  • Hasnat
    Nov 7, 2011 - 7:36PM

    Way to go Shaan ! I agree with Amir…Shan is an equally talented director and he has shown that in his films like Mujhe Chand Chahiye and Zilay Shah ! Especially he has great command over cinematography and lightning… I learned alot after watching those films !
    He has the HollywooDish looks and he is simply made for Hollywood !


  • rehmat
    Nov 8, 2011 - 5:59AM

    “Faraz, it looks like you something against Shaan by ridiculing film like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Mujhey Chand Chahiye. Both films did well at the box office:”.

    If you read what Faraaz has written – he did not say that those films were a flop. He said they did not have a good script.

    Secondly, he does admit that post production values were better than other Lollywood movies of the time but they were not good enough from a global standard. It looks like you also agree because you have referred to the outdated equipment available in Pakistan for production.

    So in terms of facts there seems to be o dispute. Where you are concerned his claim (which is pretty questionable in my opinion) to work for Bollywood is enough to brand him a patriot. Faraz expects something more i.e. if he had done something to make Pakstani movies shine in the world that would have been something to be proud of.

    Personally I don’t agree or disagree with anyone who chooses to work in India or not. It is their personal decision. But just claiming that you have refused a Bollywood movie is not enough reason to call him a patriot.


  • Lizum Nasir
    Nov 10, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Shaan shahid is probably 1 most dashing & most verstyle actor who has grip on his voice & acting……… i m glad to read about his views… that make feel me proud on him…. WAAR is most awaited movie now these Days……. BEst of Luck Mr Shaan Shahid.. God Bless you & give you Success internationaly which you deserves.. Thanks


  • Aaminah Haq Fan!
    Nov 11, 2011 - 8:50AM

    Shan is a brilliant actor but unfortunately he has wasted himself. He used to make fun of Sultan rahi and ironically ended up becoming just another sultan rahi. It is sad to see such an incredible actor treat films like a 9-5 job where he simply goes on set donning a mustache, gripping a gandasa, delivers a few lines and walks away with a few lakh rupees. Another thing about Shaan is his super star attitude. Indeed he is a super star in Pakistan but honestly he has been one mostly because of his looks and because there really isnt anyone else in the film industry. He certainly does enjoy a celebrity status but if he wants to be treated as larger than life then for that he needs to become larger than life.

    What can he possibly teach newcomers when his own films have been epic failures? My comments are not to put him down. I think Shaan is a fantastic actor but he is only fantastic when he is working with a great script and under the direction of someone else i.e not himself or some Syed Noor type director! For a man who is educated and has lived in the US for such a long time I certainly for one had much better expectations from Shaan. Perhaps Shaan needs to learn a bit from Reema!


  • Dr. Hassan Rana
    Nov 12, 2011 - 3:13AM

    I am writing this as a response to most of the comments which I have read at this page, I have the privilege of being the “Executive Producer & Writer” of WAAR so I know Mr. Shaan Shahid both professionally and also as a fan. Charm has a magical quality which de-fort, disarms and dissects, it is not a sudden gush of emotion which can be turned on and off like a faucet it is like a silver thread which is woven into ones personality, it glitters and it shines, it was nothing else but this very charm of shaan as an actor which led me to put everything behind this film, this film which initially started as a project of 30million Rs is currently resting at 2million dollars, the major reasons behind it is shaan shahid. A question which Ms. Lodhi has raised in her comment is the same question which I asked Mr. Shaan in my first meeting with him and that was how come you entertained such trash and why do you work in these movies, because money should not be an issue for someone who drives a porche. His answer was simple and yet eloquent enough for me to understand where he was coming from, he said and i quote, “I work in these movies not for myself but for all the staff who work in this Godforsaken industry, if I work they get work and maybe one day this industry shall come back up again and the day that happens I will stop but at least I want these people to survive till then” and guess what he has and they have.


  • Hasnat
    Nov 14, 2011 - 1:48AM

    @ Dr Hassan Rana : Very Well Said :) And thats why he has now taken retirement from Gujjar Films :)


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