Candi Bhai — the fast talking, street smart, naughty boy who charmed us in Islamabad-based producers Shahbaz Shigri and Aisha Linnea’s project Sole Search — is set to make a comeback to the big screen with Gol Chakkar. It was finally announced on Friday that the much-awaited sequel of Sole Search will premiere in Pakistan this October. Shigri and Linnea plan to release the film all over Pakistan and possibly in India, UK and other countries as well.
Gol Chakkar — written by Linnea — is an extension of the duo’s previous short film and will be a continuation of Candi Bhai’s antics along with his group of hooligans who are popularly known as Jinnah Boys. While explaining the term Jinnah Boys, Shigri elaborates: “Jinnah boys are your proverbial hooligans and are somewhat like mallrats. They think that they are the bigwigs of Islamabad.”
The storyline of Sole Search revolves around this group that hangs out at Jinnah Market and how a series of mishaps drive them to Pindi. Gol Chakkar will carry on the story from that point. When asked what made him select such an odd topic, Shigri replies, “These days, there are a lot of films portraying clichéd topics. Some of them are good but these films put too much emphasis on tragedy and drama. However, our focus was on comedy and the main challenge was to make this movie fun,” the producer adds. The upcoming film, that has already developed a keen following on the basis of the trailers and songs released earlier this year, has been self-funded. Many of the actors are friends, or friends of friends, says Shahbaz.
Finding the right cast under a financial crunch was also one of the biggest challenges Shigri and Linnea had to face. They finally found their cast in several new actors who willingly agreed to star in the film. Gol Chakkar features Ali Rehman Khan, Hasan Bruun Akhtar, Usman Mukhtar, Salmaan Ahmed Shaukat, Uzair Jaswal and Adil Gul, Saboor Pasha, Asad Ali Shigri, with a special appearance by Shahana Khan Khalil. The soundtrack, which is a musical concoction made by artists like Talal Qureshi, The Kominas, Adil Omar and many more, has garnered popularity because of its upbeat and fresh melody.
The other half of this dynamic team, Linnea, says that the remarkable comfort zone between the actors helped this film a lot. “Ali worked with us in Slackistan and Uzair thought the role he was offered was an exaggerated version of him, so he gladly agreed,” says Linnea, who is Shigri’s wife. Her brother has also helped with this film as he plays the role of the nephew, Teddy.
Speaking about Gol Chakkar, she explains that the goal of this reel venture was not to simply screen it in front of an international audience or at a film festival. Slackistan already brought them all the international glory they had hoped for; this time around, they wanted to give something to the Pakistani audience. “There is a lack of comedy in Pakistani films, which is unfortunate because Pakistanis have a distinct sense of humour,” says Linnea. “The Jinnah Boys are part of our culture, so I think the story was present in our society – we just garnished it with comedy.”
The storyline also picks up on another character, Pindi boy Shera, played by Usman Mukhtar. Linnea says that she had seen Mukhtar in the play Act 144 and then approached him for the role. Mukhtar, who plays the role of Shera, looks at the release as an important step since film-makers face many issues while making films in Pakistan.
The actor, however, adds that despite all these issues, film-making is a whole lot of fun. “It was a lot of fun shooting scenes in Pindi,” he says. “We spent the entire day in Lal Kurti where some 300 children started following us and since the cast and crew knew each other ,there were uncountable pranks and jokes,” he adds. “The characters are highly relatable. One would find all these characters in Karachi, Lahore or Gujranwala; the way they dress up and talk is similar. Shera’s character is representative of people coming from interior Pindi so I’m sure people would relate to it as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2012.