Brace yourselves for this Pakistani spy movie

Published: March 23, 2013
Shaan says he is impressed with the director’s professionalism. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Shaan says he is impressed with the director’s professionalism. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Shaan says he is impressed with the director’s professionalism. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Shamoon Abbasi as as Romano Jillani. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Zeba Bakhtiar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Shaan with Nicks. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

It’s obvious that something incredible is cooking when a seasoned actor like Zeba Bakhtiar collaborates with Jamshed Mahmood Ansari (Jami) – one of the finest music directors in Pakistan. Add young Azan Sami Khan to lead the production front and Pakistan-based Australian Summer Nicks as the director, and it will get people talking.

According to Khan, their project, a film which was initially titled The Extortionist, remains untitled. The story revolves around international espionage, set in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Serbia, Egypt and America. It is partly based on real life events that took place in Sangam (Afghanistan), when Nato tankers were bombed a few years back. The film highlights the role of a Norwegian mining company that is after lithium reserves in Afghanistan; it also touches on the life of Cash Siddiqui (Shaan), a decommissioned CIA agent who is all set to rescue his family.

At the set of this untitled project, The Express Tribune meets Nicks — writer of the international award-winning Seedlings, for an insight into the film. He compares his new directorial venture to Seedlings and says: “This is another baby of mine; it’s almost in the ending phase and is turning out to be something really amazing.”

Nicks says it’s important to consider the type of audience the film will have. “In terms of the story and treatment, the film is a cross between Syriana and the Bourne series,” says Nicks. “You have to make films by keeping foreign audiences and foreign films in mind.”

“The film has to be on the same level as that of the Bourne series or any other mainstream Hollywood film to compete in an international market or else the film won’t work at all,” he adds.

The film stars Shaan as the protagonist and Shamoon Abbasi as Romano Jillani. Aaminah Sheikh has the role of Shaan’s wife and apart from the stunning Iman Ali and the veteran Ayub Khoso, a number of American actors are also part of the cast.

On the sets, the handsome Shaan appears in a pair of cargo pants as a CIA agent. As he aimed a gun into the camera, we caught him with a candid question: how does it feel to play a CIA agent and do action sequences at this point of your career?

“If you’re saying that I am getting old, you’re wrong,” says Shaan, as he glances at Nicks and laughs. “I am certainly not getting old.”

“It’s all a matter of getting the hook of the character,” shares Shaan. “If I am able to do that (in a typical Lollywood film or something like this), the director’s satisfaction is all that matters at the end of the day.”

He was impressed by the way Nicks works and the professionalism that was maintained throughout the shoots. “I have worked with so many people around the word but this guy has a totally different approach to direction altogether,” says Shaan. “There is a fine line between behaving on the set and off the set and he makes sure that the actors are comfortable in both the places.”

The new kid on the block Azan, who hails from a multi-talented family, believes that it is the change in attitude towards the cinema industry that is needed for the rebirth of cinema in Pakistan.

“The main goal was to get specialised people to do their jobs,” says Azan “As my mother says ‘it’s a plague that Pakistanis can do anything’. I completely agree [with her] because everyone in Pakistan wants to become a director; no one wants to do anything else. This needs to change and we have tried to accomplish that on our sets.”

For the yet untitled project, CIA headquarters were replicated and Pakistani roads were converted into European roads. From the teaser and talk, the big budget film seems like a high-octane, action-thriller complemented with intellect. Let’s hope it makes it to the cinemas.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Prof M
    Mar 23, 2013 - 9:15PM

    Yea….but, who is funding this project?


  • ISI :P
    Mar 23, 2013 - 10:40PM

    Is this the same movie whose trailer came earlier as WAAR?


  • Riaz Khan
    Mar 24, 2013 - 12:20AM

    Sir, If you give me $ 1000 plus 10 Tylenol free of charge & a voucher to have dinner in one of the finest restaurant I would very humbly deny the offer. PK film industry is dead & sooner we accept it will be better. Shan as an ex CIA agent! You sure its not suppose to be a funny movie!


  • Sajid
    Mar 24, 2013 - 12:50AM

    So when will we ever see a Pakistani movie featuring or even mentioning ISI in connection with what is happening in Afghanistan? So easy for Shaan to play CIA agent, try for a change ISI agent aye.


  • antanu g
    Mar 24, 2013 - 1:18AM

    @professor m

    does it matter? do you always go on asking the producers in india about the finances?Recommend

  • Babablacksheep
    Mar 24, 2013 - 3:11AM

    @Prof M:
    another conspiracy theory—- when we guys grow up???


  • Mar 24, 2013 - 4:22AM

    Ok I am excited to watch this movie, but why a CIA agent, why it couldn’t be based on the life of an ISI agent. I would have been far more interested if that was the case.

    @ISI :P. No it’s not WAAR, it’s a different movie. Waar is still titled the same and is probably coming out in 2 or 3 months. Also waar is directed by Bilal Lashari, but this project is being directed by Summer Nicks as per the report.


  • Thalia Lodhi
    Mar 24, 2013 - 5:08AM

    Shaan is a cancerous primadonna who has contributed to the demise of Lollywood. As a professional he was disrespectful to Shoaib Mansoor on Kuda Ke Liya he has done nothing to encourage young talent men & women he is always.working with the Lollywood mafia to produce vulgar filthy non family films. Yet he is ready to jump on the bandwagon trying to hold on to his fading youth!I am Surprised that Iman Ali decided to act with him as there was lots bad blood. If he is really concerned with the treatment actors get he would never last in Hollywood. I am surprised they have chosen this has been actor as Pakistan has many other talented actors!


  • Aamir
    Mar 24, 2013 - 5:12AM

    Waar is a different film directed by Bilal Lashari and is scheduled to be released in the next few months. Another promising film coming up. Great that it has got Shaan in the lead.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 24, 2013 - 5:51AM

    It’s interesting to see the villain’s guy’s perspective once in a while!


  • Zara
    Mar 24, 2013 - 6:05AM

    It would be nice if all these new Pakistani movies that get talked about in the press actually get released too.


  • Khurram Mansoor
    Mar 24, 2013 - 10:35AM

    Where is the movie WAAR. Why has it been shelved.


  • Khurram
    Mar 24, 2013 - 10:49AM

    Looking forward to this movie and I think this is not WAAR renamed and also hope that this project is not get delayed like WAAR


  • Waqar Masood
    Mar 24, 2013 - 11:49AM

    This movie is different to Waar…..and the guy who thinks Shaan cannot act….you know nothing about quality acting!


  • sarah
    Mar 24, 2013 - 12:14PM

    You guys criticize the lack of initiative by the Pakistani industry on one side and on the other criticize new projects. Gotta give them a chance and what do you know this could be a turning point. Let’s see what’s headed this way! I’m looking fwd to it


  • M
    Mar 24, 2013 - 1:52PM

    @antanu g. I am an indian and I DONT give a hooooooot about India

    @ Babablacksheep. It is legit question, so please buddy, relax.


  • Raza Khan
    Mar 24, 2013 - 5:54PM

    Sarah, we have been giving them chances since 1965 when unfortunately Indian movies were banned & there was no competition. Since than the PK film industry has been dying a slow death & now in coma. Why prolong its misery and pain. Just watch Hollywood & Bollywood movies!


  • fahad lakhani
    Mar 24, 2013 - 6:30PM

    pics has been taken by MovieShoovy


  • Zeenat Khan
    Mar 24, 2013 - 10:04PM

    @Waqar Masood …and the guy who said Shaan cannot act…you know nothing about quality acting. If you are the guy who thinks Shaans acting is a mark of quality, then you have sadly been exposed to a very low standard of acting, in fact Shaan does overact that any person with any acting skills would be ashamed to see himself on the screen.


  • Taniya Tahir
    Mar 24, 2013 - 10:15PM

    @Zara It would be nice if all these new Pakistani movies that get talked about in the press actually get released too.
    The reason the films that get talked about do not get released is that the Lollywood big wigs have power in not getting them distributed. Most of these new films are fro new young talented people who refuse to pay homage to the Lollywood mafia, so the Dons of the Lollywood mafia are afraid that if independent films are allowed in the mainstream then the feeble attempts that they thrash out with the same tired actors/actresses with poor visual & technical details will die. Also there is NO independent distribution to allow these fresh film makers a source of help, and the Government has no mechanism to ensure proper training also our Embassies abroad do nothing to further the Pakistani image Infact they are bastions of self promotion for themselves & their families!


  • Alyzeh Naqvi
    Mar 25, 2013 - 4:59AM

    Its time to slowly let Lollwood as we know it disappear. Recently they have done very little to bring respect, technology, class and knowledge to the media of film making. It was in fact television that discovered new talent and did innovative plays in the media. Young talent is more risk taking and were ready to risk themselves from the typical masala crap that has been the demise of Urdu and Punjabi movies. People like Shaan may have done a few films but he never took risks and his director skills was pathetic and lacked and flopped.
    The new genre of young film makers have a hard challenge as funding in movies is restricted to those who have connections.Pakistani public need to pay more attention to these independent film makers and support their films and resist from illegal downloading. This is morally wrong and harms the financial status of these projects..


  • Mar 25, 2013 - 1:51PM

    Revival of the Pakistan Film Industry for umpteenth time


  • Aliya Kapadia
    Mar 25, 2013 - 11:39PM

    @The Only Normal Person Here – Revival of the Pakistan Film Industry for umpteenth time!
    YES thanks to people like you who Talk the Talk but don’t walk the walk! You & your friends
    Are busybodies supporting Bollywood & illegally downloading pirate films what do you expect!


  • dimah
    Mar 31, 2013 - 7:41AM

    Great. I love to see pakistan film industry back on its feet. only thing is why Shaan. Dont we have any one better.


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