Upcoming Lollywood production Tamanna has released its teaser trailer in cinemas across Pakistan, marking the beginning of a summer lined up with a variety of exciting movies from both Bollywood and Hollywood. Starring Omair Rana, Salman Shahid, Mehreen Raheel and Feryal Ali Gauhar, the film has finally been scheduled for a post-Eid release, following several delays.
“In other countries you have a whole network in which you can pitch your film, be it a studio-oriented model or an independent model. Unfortunately, we have none of that here, at all,” says producer Sarah Tareen, who is also the founding member of Pakistan New Cinema Movement.
“You really have to be your own sales agent or the middle man and pretty much do your own thing. As a result, we worked within our resources to maximise the quality of our production, the story and the appeal of the film,” she adds.
Regardless of the constraints, Tareen and her director Steve Moore, have been able to work through the delays and gain the support of people, such as music composer Sahir Ali Bagga and renowned singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for the soundtrack. The interesting part about the film is that it is inspired by Anthony Schaffer’s 1970 stage play, Sleuth.
Although the film draws inspiration from an English play, it has been made keeping in mind the preferences of the local audience, with characters set in modern-day Lahore and a story based on the reluctance of a young man to accept feudal dominance. Tareen explains that the film’s story was chosen for the Pakistani cinema because of the cultural parallels that were distinctively visible in the play that, in turn, took the film into a cynical, thriller genre, making it Pakistan’s first noir film.
Adapting a classic story from the West provides an interesting base for the film. Moore says that the cultural nuances and the base of the story are well-connected to the local culture. He further explains that the project has been a very collaborative venture in which changes and improvements have been made collectively. “The changes that we have made to the original story of Sleuth are very culture- based; I could have never made these in America,” says Moore. He adds that many film-makers talked about the idea of such a movie and how it should have its own feel, which is often the key to such films being so wonderfully unique.
The director emphasises that the delays that occurred in the end, for various reasons, ended up helping the film for the better because it meant that there was more time available to refine it and make the story more suitable for Pakistani viewers. “We didn’t just write the script in two months and make the film; we had quite a lot of serious delays. But these delays meant that we had a long time to work on the script which turned out be a big advantage for us,” he admits.
“The story is good,” he continues, adding that the audiences will not have to worry about the fact that it is based on a classic play. “I may make mistakes as a film-maker, that is just their [people’s] opinion, but they cannot say that the story itself is weak. It would be like saying Macbeth or King Lear is weak,” he adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2013.
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