Siyaah: A story of black magic

Published: July 3, 2012
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The film’s director spent a year researching black magic. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The film’s director spent a year researching black magic. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The film’s director spent a year researching black magic. PHOTO: PUBLICITY " It took me three years to
make this film. I was let down
and disappointed, and even
cheated by many in the process
Producer Imran Raza Kazmi. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The film’s director spent a year researching black magic. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Horror film Siyaah is scheduled for release in October this year. LAYOUT: SAMRA AAMIR
ISLAMABAD: 

Many believe that Pakistan’s film industry is breathing its last breath. While there have been a few movies, such as Bol, that have kept us holding on, the bad news is that they are not enough to revive Pakistani cinema. Now here’s the good news: a group of young people have got together to create a movie from scratch; and it isn’t your average boy-meets-girl love story; nor does it have anything to do with terrorism or religious extremism. It’s a horror film, which (ironically) may be a light that brightens the imminent doom and gloom of the film industry.

Siyaah revolves around the use of black magic that is prevalent in our society, and the intricate web of conspiracies that stem from this practice. Produced by Imran Raza Kazmi, the film is scheduled to release this October and has many waiting in anticipation.

The Islamabad-based cast consists of Hareem Farooq, Qazi Jabbar, Mahnoor Usman, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Aslam Rana, Sofia Wanchoo Mir, Rizwana, Sarwar Salimi, and Amy Saleh — aspiring young actors that are aiming to make a mark with the release of this film.

Siyaah has been directed by Asfar Jafri and written by Islamabad’s local celebrity, comedian Osman Khalid Butt. “When I sat down to write the script, my aim was to stay away from the usual Hollywood clichés of horror films and to breathe life into the characters that would in turn make them more relatable,” says Butt. “The process was very organic and Kazmi gave me ample space to create the script instead of bogging me down with a deadline,” he said, adding that the script was written in six months.

Kazmi points out that it was hard work that made this project a reality. “It took me three years to make this film,” he said. “I was let down and disappointed, and even cheated by many in the process, but when the team started coming together, things started falling into place,” said Kazmi, calling Siyaah “the whole team’s baby”.

Depicting black magic in a realistic, believable manner was perhaps the most difficult aspect for Kazmi.

He dedicated a whole year solely to researching the topic as he met with various pirs and faqirs and witnessed some very “believable” exorcism cases. “I met a family that lived in Jugiya; they were extremely poor and illiterate and their 5-year-old son was said to be possessed by jinns,” related Kazmi.

“I witnessed the 5-year-old speak fluent English when he was possessed — it was extremely believable. I myself, a cynic for years, slowly became a believer with the course of my research,” he added.

Siyaah is director Jafri’s first feature film. Having previously created a number of short films and videos, Jafri feels he made the right choice by taking on the project. “I’ll admit, when I first read the script I liked it, but as we started working on it and began adding to it, I fell completely in love with the movie,” he said.

He said that every aspect of the movie was discussed, questioned and argued over, especially the music. “A horror film works well if the music background and sound effects work with it,” he added.

Jafri also commends the efforts of the film’s music director, Ahmed Ali who is new to the industry. According  to Jafri, “Everyone did justice to their job — right down to our 11-year-old actor, Mahnoor Usman, who was a complete professional,” said the satisfied director.

Amongst the slew of talented people attached to the film, the producer and director are all praises for the two lead actors. Hareem Farooq ,who can be seen in the new Mobilink ads being aired on TV, and Qazi Jabbar, who has done a few stints in the local drama scene. “This has been an experience of a lifetime. Even though Hareem is a seasoned theatre actor, we would continuously critique each other’s acting. Everyone on the set gelled so well with each other that,  given the opportunity, I’d work with them again any day,” said Jabbar, who plays a 30-something working man struggling to keep his marriage together while he tries to find answers to the unexplainable situations that arise in the movie.

While the project’s success is yet to be determined, it is clear that a team with big dreams has put effort and enthusiasm into it. Here’s to hoping that Siyaah manages to garner the much needed attention towards our local film industry.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Jul 3, 2012 - 9:20PM

    can’t wait for it…i hope it is worth the hype and a beginning of something great!

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  • Rana Amjad
    Jul 3, 2012 - 9:21PM

    Wish you all the luck but I have my serious apprehensions especially considering the subject of the movie! Instead of taking this nation further on road to success you are taking them back to middle ages about black magic, witches, vodoo, etc.

    Recommend

  • aleena
    Jul 3, 2012 - 9:31PM

    i m very excited for the release of this movie which may help in the revival of our film industry that have been completely lost for many years..Recommend

  • sajid
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:20PM

    just saw the trailer, it ripped through my body…….lol

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  • Shahid
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:40PM

    I just watched the teaser and it was mind blowing. There is another Indian SIYAAH so dont get confused with their trailer. Pakistani SIYAAH has just released a 35 sec teaser :)

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  • Adnan Khalid
    Jul 3, 2012 - 11:07PM

    waiting

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  • Wardah Effendi
    Jul 3, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Expecting the best of it.
    Good luck :-)

    Recommend

  • Faheem
    Jul 4, 2012 - 12:09AM

    Waiting to see the magic to unleash, I believe this kind of an effort will infuse confidence in upcoming film directors, actors and musicians. I have seen the teaser, and by the look of it, music director Ahmed Ali has done a fabolous job in creating music which really aligns itself with the overall theme of the movie. Wish you best of luck. Siyaah Team.Recommend

  • Gem
    Jul 4, 2012 - 12:14AM

    Love love love Oman Khalistan butt

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 4, 2012 - 7:25AM

    A good move to revive Pakistan’s sick film industry.

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  • SJ
    Jul 4, 2012 - 9:37AM

    This might break the black spell on our film industry.

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  • Shahzeb
    Jul 4, 2012 - 9:46AM

    @Rana Amjad: *Facepalm! *

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  • Amna
    Jul 4, 2012 - 2:55PM

    Best of luck… Inshallah it will be a success . We are all prayn for it. And we are waitin for da movie as well… Enjoy

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  • Faiza
    Jul 4, 2012 - 3:31PM

    I wana watch this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Jul 4, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Looking forward!

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  • Ejaaz
    Jul 4, 2012 - 9:09PM

    Why would jinns speak English? Even jinns have been taken over?

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  • Haider
    Jul 4, 2012 - 10:43PM

    Looking forward to this movie and wishing the entire team good luck!! and @ ejaaz WHY NOT :p haha

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  • Saadia
    Jul 6, 2012 - 12:06PM

    Desperately waiting for the movie to release. The teaser was awesome! Good job done so far:) I like the fact that this film is showing something different/new which has not exactly been given much emphasis in the recent past. Good luck!!

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