Waging Waar

Published: January 9, 2012
Director Bilal Lashari gives an  inside look into his latest venture. PHOTO:PUBLICITY

Director Bilal Lashari gives an inside look into his latest venture. PHOTO:PUBLICITY

Director Bilal Lashari gives an  inside look into his latest venture. PHOTO:PUBLICITY Director Bilal Lashari gives an  inside look into his latest venture. PHOTO:PUBLICITY

Bilal Lashari’s major directorial effort Waar has been much-awaited since its trailer release on the New Year weekend. Starring big names like Shaan Shahid, Aisha Khan, Shamoon Abbasi, Meesha Shafi, Ali Azmat and Hamza Abbasi, the project seems fated for blockbuster success.

The charismatic director speaks to The Express Tribune about his latest venture, working with writer and producer Hassan Waqas Rana and the film’s impact on the Pakistani film industry.

How was your overall experience of making Waar? When is the film expected to be released?

Making a quality feature film is a huge undertaking — a good producer is essential for such a project. I was lucky to find a producer who shared my goals. While he brought the script and resources for the venture, I added my creativity and a vision for execution.

We were able to put a passionate crew and stellar cast together. Although we have just released a trailer recently, the reaction and feedback we received have been overwhelming. A release date will be announced as soon as post-production process is complete and a distribution deal is finalised.

Please share how the story relates to Pakistan and what it is based on?

Waar uses some actual events and characters as an occasional backdrop but is stylised. Counterterrorism is a good sub-genre for an action/thriller as well as critical and relevant to Pakistan’s current situation.

Some reports say the funding for the film has come from Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR)?

The ISPR has no involvement in Waar. Hassan Waqas Rana, the writer and executive producer has funded this film. MindWorks Media did a project in the middle of Waar for the ISPR called the Glorious Resolve. There has been some confusion as some people thought the shoot for Glorious Resolve was actually for Waar.

Can you comment on the technology used in Waar?

Modern digital technology has been used in the production and post-production process. The cinematography is one of the main reasons it looks different from previous Pakistani films.

The cast includes some new faces to the film genre like Meesha Shafi and Ali Azmat as well as some veteran film actors like Shaan. Was it difficult working with such a diverse group of performers?

We wanted the best and we got the best. Shaan is absolutely brilliant and his fans are going to love him in Waar. Casting celebrities, who are primarily known for their work in other mediums, brought production value to the film. Ali Azmat is an icon and a true entertainer while Meesha Shafi is a multitalented, gifted artist. Both were perfect choices.

What are some of the lessons you have learnt through the production process?

The most challenging part of the process has been facing delays. The process of film-making is dependent on numerous variables. Even if a single component is missing, the production comes to a halt. This happens mostly in Pakistan as there is limited infrastructure to support film-making. I’m glad I have a very resourceful producer; otherwise it would have taken forever to complete the project.

In the past, you have commented on Pakistani film-makers and how they need to get away from typical Bollywood concepts. Do you see Waar raising the bar and setting a new standard?

Bollywood is brilliant at what it does and its formula seems to work for its intended audience. However, the problem occurs when Pakistani film-makers follow their style. We don’t realise that Bollywood’s biggest strength lies in their production value. When we try to emulate their aesthetics without the same production value to back it up, we come up with a below-average film in comparison. This is why, with Waar,  I wanted to make a film which was not influenced by Bollywood at all.

We need to explore and capitalise on our own strength and find our own identity in cinema. In my opinion, due to Pakistan’s important position in the global arena, people from all over the world are more receptive to stories from Pakistan than ever before.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (21)

  • Ali Hasan
    Jan 9, 2012 - 8:59PM

    Seems like a well spoken and informed chap. I wish the trailer had some more direction though. I have no idea what the story is.


  • Jan 9, 2012 - 9:14PM

    cinematography is the thing i have never seen before in Pakistani film which is displayed in trailer of WAAR that looks awsom , and i am sure it will be a huge success .Pakistani Cinema awaited this kind of Modernization from decades now, We can make better drama and storyline anyhow so This is going to be another turning point for the cinema in Pakistan.:)


  • hamza khan
    Jan 9, 2012 - 9:34PM

    Mashallah! i think there is going to be a big change,in our industry and i pray that it grows bigger then any other film industry,if we keep on the hard work and also promote new talent, people should definitely go to cinimas and watch this movie,so that they know that pakistan and actors in this movie who do not belong to the film industry have done such a great job,that they have worked like professionals,under the direction of MR.Bilal lashari,therefor we should have more or different stories like waar ,so that our industry grows and people say wow now thats LOLLYWOOD or the PAKASTANI FILM INDUSTRY.


  • Umar
    Jan 9, 2012 - 10:56PM

    @Ali Hasan: As mentioned before this was a “First Look” teaser trailer, a theatrical trailer will be released afterwards.


  • Fahad
    Jan 9, 2012 - 11:48PM

    The trailer looks great, looking forward to the film :)


  • Yasir Mehmood
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:50AM

    Why they make depressing movies? khuda ke liye, bol and now waar cant they make a good comedy?


  • MindGame
    Jan 10, 2012 - 2:51AM

    ISPR has no involvement in waar? are you kidding me? everyone knows who funded the film.


  • Keen viewer
    Jan 10, 2012 - 4:13AM

    Wow!! I heard Shamoon Abbasi is in the movie too ?! How come you did not mention his name in this interview ?


  • Keen viewer
    Jan 10, 2012 - 4:24AM

    Great trailer, yes Shamoon Abbasi is in the film but it’s weird and very strange that his picture is used as the main title picture but his name is not even mentioned by the interviewer, I agree that meesha and Ali are new comers so they are asked about and Shawn is an old movie actor but Shamoon is a known tv actor and director I think out of respect if the interviewer hadn’t asked or mentioned Shamoon then billal who is the director should have said his name on his own accord


  • Sumair Iqbal (Pulsive)
    Jan 10, 2012 - 6:22AM

    Why the writer missed major Questions.
    Is it Going on Worldwide Release.
    Is Warner Bros Interested for Distribution.
    Is Eros taking it Worldwide if its going Worldwide.
    Would it be Released in English Dubbing as well for English Audience.
    Any Media Partners in Pakistan.
    Who is working for the Marketing Section.
    Cost Average.
    Profit Speculations.
    etc etc.


  • Maria
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:38PM

    i totally agree with@Sumair Iqbal (Pulsive) how come writer missed question like these mentioned above and i think we should not only dub this in English also in french etc etc… then only we will be going one step ahead of promoting our movies to international market!


  • waqas
    Jan 10, 2012 - 2:36PM

    what is the meaning of Waar? I hope its not the misspelling of War?


  • Overcautious
    Jan 10, 2012 - 4:04PM

    @MindGame: trying to emerge as another Mansoor Ijaz??? kindly spare us coz one is more than enough already !


  • A.Khan
    Jan 10, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Now this movie should be the minimum standard for Pakistani film industry. Anything afterwards should be the same or better. I hope there would be more movie teams will tie up together to work on more projects.


  • Aisha Shaan Malik
    Jan 10, 2012 - 9:24PM

    Was very impressed by Bibal’s candid message as to the direction Pakistan film industry should follow I think the lesson here is that Bollywood has dimmed the general intelligence of average Indian by constantly injecting the masala formula & adding more skin to activate the sexual genes in the males. The new crop of Pakistani films although not entirely Pakistani born are attempting different subjects which will eventually cultivate a more sophisticated audience of film makers since now Pakistani films will generate more brain cells than destroy them.

  • Ali Raza
    Jan 10, 2012 - 10:27PM

    seems an awsome and well prepared movie!


  • Umar
    Jan 11, 2012 - 9:01PM

    @waqas: It is the urdu “waar” pronounced as “vaar” …to strike.


  • DadaCricket
    Jan 13, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Impressed to see the trailer and definitely looking forward to go watch the movie as I am thoroughly impressed! Good work Bilal Lashari!! Mega movie I must say! Two Macho Men of our industry Abbasi and Shan will face one on one in the movie in the race to justify their grace!
    But there have been some issues with the release date of this movie! Trailer just got released and thn Music and finally the mOvie itself! How long is that going to take??


  • Behlol
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:51PM

    Why is the title of the article ‘WAGING WAAR’ when waar does not equate the english word war?


  • sara
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Not funded by ISPR. yeah RIGHT!!!


  • Hamad Lashari
    Jan 26, 2012 - 3:36PM

    First Pakistani Super Dupper Hit Film Love You Bilal


More in Film