Amir Munawar entered the world of entertainment with Ali Azmat’s band Jupiters. He has composed music for pop artists like Hadiqa Kiyani and has also emerged as a strong music composer in Lollywood during the early ‘90s. He composed tracks alongside music maestros such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Robin Ghosh before he vanished from the scene.
Following a long hiatus in his music career, he is set to make the perfect comeback with the much-awaited movie of the year, Waar. He has provided his musical expertise to the action-thriller’s musical score (which took two years) and sound effects (which took seven months) and required orchestra instruments to be commissioned from abroad.
“Film music is used to enhance [the script]. It works like a character in a movie,” says Munawar. “Music is always there — it goes out and comes in whenever it’s required. [Through music] you are not seen, but you’re heard.” In Waar, the sound effects and musical score will not be aligned with orthodox sound techniques and dramatic thuds, such as thunder and hysterical drumming, to illustrate climatic scenes.
The film’s director Bilal Lashari, who has won awards in the music category at the Lux Style Awards as well as the MTV Pakistan Music Video Awards, knows his music and has a clear vision of what he expects from Munawar. “Working with Bilal is not an easy task. It’s like committing suicide because he is never satisfied,” Munawar explains. “He will not sleep for two days and stay in the studio if he is working on a single shot. I hope you don’t have to work for him, ever,” he jokes.
“Unlike Bilal, most directors and producers just think that music should be there and that’s all,” he continues, adding that in this project, appropriate sound effects were imperative as they were required in almost every scene. “People in Pakistan don’t realise that music is very important and after watching Waar, they will understand how it plays a huge role,” he adds.
There has been a spate of movie releases in the past few years, and this highlights the resurgence of the film industry, he says. “It’s a great sign that art is coming back to Pakistan,” he smiles. “All of a sudden, the film industry has started to pick up; people from Karachi, Lahore and other place have started making movies.”
Waar is an action-thriller, so undoubtedly the action scenes need to be up-to-the-mark. Hasil Qureshi, who has been in the sound engineering industry for almost 14 years, was brought aboard to help the team. “We put in a lot of effort in making sure these details come out, and we are expecting that the audience will see that this is going to supercede the standards set by our neighbouring countries,” says Qureshi, adding that a film’s sound represents 30% of the movie in entirety, and it is what ultimately separates a great film from an average film.
“We had a learning curve, but we knew we had to do it,” he continues. “It’s definitely a step up and I think it’s commendable that we found a producer [Hassan Waqar Rana] and director who were brave enough to focus on these details.” For the audience, he feels it will be about being a part of the movie as compared to just watching it.
The movie, which is set for release this fall, has a star-studded cast which includes Shaan, Shamoon Abbasi, Meesha Shafi, Ayesha Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ali Azmat, along with others.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2013.