Pakistani films have been about love, romance, action, comedy and even terrorism and social issues embedded deep in our system, but never have we seen a film based on comics or sci-fi superheroes.
With a huge budget (Rs200 to Rs250 million) backing its production, Nation Awakes is about to break this trend and will serve to be the country’s first superhero feature film.
“The basic concept of the film is that it is not a normal superhero movie — we are trying to take a different route by exploring Pakistan’s current scenario,” says producer Aamir Sajjad, who is also playing the role of the superhero in the film. “A superhero in that context [of Pakistan] will be one who aims to preserve humanity on a global level.”
“We have constructed the story so that it focuses on the life of a superhero from the time he is with his foster parents; we won’t go into the details of where he comes from or his background,” says Sajjad, who owns an expansive collection of comic book collectibles — over a hundred items from films such as Iron Man and several others.
Sajjad further reveals the role of the superhero has been moulded to fit his own self and although he has minimal experience in the realms of acting, he says the film is a serious venture. “Since the comic culture is so limited here in Pakistan, we figured it would be more logical to make a film first as compared to a graphic novel,” he says, adding that they are ensuring the best technology is used to make the film worthy of international viewing.
With Nation Awakes, Sajjad is hoping a broader culture of comics could be introduced to the Pakistani audiences. With the launch of this film in June in a Comic-Con styled event in Karachi, Sajjad reveals the officially registered event will showcase comic-related items as well as the movie itself.
“The whole idea is that we want to develop an adequate pop culture in Pakistan that respects comics,” he continues. “And in the future, we want to promote graphic artists so that eventually we have a thriving comic-culture.” Sajjad also owns a company on the sides which promotes comic-related collectibles and products. With the release of this film, he plans on collaborating with leading comic institutions such as Marvel in the future.
Nation Awakes, a bilingual film (larger portion of the script in English and smaller portion in Urdu) will be filmed in 12 different countries and the characters have been developed according to the latest graphic technologies in the US and other countries. Renowned composer Sahir Ali Bagga will be doing the film’s music.
The film is still in its initial stages and 80% of its scripting is complete, reveals the film’s director, Umair Nasir Ali. “Aamir has been fascinated with the concept of making a superhero film with Pakistan’s scenario in mind,” says Ali. “While Hollywood has Spiderman and Batman and India has Ra.One and Krish, he thought the work should begin on something that represents Pakistan.”
The film’s casting is scheduled to begin in April which will then be followed by a small teaser release in June.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.
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