‘WAAR’ on terror: A story of unsung heroes

Published: October 23, 2013
Email
Dr Hassan Rana and Shaan in a scene from Waar  PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dr Hassan Rana and Shaan in a scene from Waar PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dr Hassan Rana and Shaan in a scene from Waar  PHOTO: PUBLICITY Crew members shoot an action sequence in the film. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
KARACHI: 

“Right now, as your readers read this article, out there somewhere an Mi-17 pilot is helping our soldiers or rescuing victims of natural disasters. Right above him will be a Cobra helicopter pilot and a gunner, both looking out for them,” says Dr Hassan Rana, the action director and writer of Waar — Pakistan’s first big-budget war film that portrays the good and the evil sides of the war on terror.

The country has lost over 7,000 security personnel, both from the armed forces and police, who have fought to save the lives of citizens and safeguard their motherland.

The talks with the Taliban are currently ‘work in progress’ – to do or not to do, that is the question. Against the backdrop of disarray and confusion regarding possible solution to terrorism in Pakistan comes Waar. It could not have been more timely.

The makers of Waar have conducted substantial research in their attempts at recreating the violent and insurgent atmosphere. The aim, they explain, is to give an accurate ‘feel’ of how Pakistan’s armed forces tackle Pakistan’s burning issue on battlefields. “The viewer shall have a pretty accurate idea of how our true heroes take the battle to the enemy,” said Rana.

Makers of the film knew that this depiction could not be sketched and coloured in without the help of Pakistan’s Armed Forces and Police Services. To get the ball rolling, the film-makers – with the blessings of the then interior minister Rehman Malik who guaranteed support of the FIA – embarked upon a journey that brought them close to the frontline forces in the war against terrorism.

“We were given the honour of meeting some of the best soldiers in our army, who fought many battles for our country. From there, we were able to understand the basic instinct of a Pakistani soldier,” says Rana.

While they were able to understand the patriotism of soldiers by engaging with officers who are drafted in the military, it was Major General Asim Bajwa who helped them truly understand the relationship of a soldier with his weapon. “He helped us understand the battlefield psychology of the soldiers and the enemy,” Rana says of Bajwa, who recently commanded an infantry division in Waziristan. “He helped us understand the weapons and why a particular weapon is used, when,” he adds.

Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Mirvais Khan from Islamabad Police supervised the sequences pertaining to the police department in other places in the film, whereas it was SSP Malik Yousuf (now additional director, FIA, Islamabad) who supervised all the shooting inside the Police Headquarters.

“From developing uniforms to ensuring accuracy, the choice of weapons and tactics everything was as real as it actually happens in the police,” said Yousuf. One of the sequences shown in the film is inspired by an actual event whereby the Police Academy in Lahore was attacked in 2009.

About the debate on social media regarding the kind of involvement the Pakistani army had in the project, Yousuf believes that Waar has played a key role in highlighting the losses of the police. “It’s true that operations in the conflicted area are carried out by Pakistan army but the Police haven’t suffered any less,” said Yousuf. “Media has deliberately ignored the huge sacrifices made by the police in the war on terror but after watching this film the layman would recognise it.”

“Usually it’s the unprofessional people who deal with on-screen portrayal of the security forces which is why a lot of Indian films get it wrong. But I personally made sure that accuracy is not sacrificed at any cost,” he says.

It took an entire year for the crew to cast the right weapons for the film. “Most of the weapons that you shall see in the film are currently in service and are the mainstay of our security forces and likewise for terrorists,” explains Rana.

“I am pretty sure that all the viewers shall be mighty proud to see their Cobra Gunship and Mi-17 helicopters in action,” said Rana. The weapons change with the types of battle scenarios in the film such as CQB (Close Quarter Battle) to HRT (Hostage Rescue Tactics) to all out battles complete with Air support.

The pilots who flew the aircrafts couldn’t be contacted as they were busy transporting relief goods to the quake affected areas of Balochistan.

Waaring with weapons

The weapons shown being used in the film by the armed forces and terrorists are accurate and reflect the weapons actually used by both the sides.

The good guys use

AI AS .50 calibre

RPA 12.7x99mm range master

Armalite

AR-10 with Bushnell range finder

The Smith & Wesson M4 carbine with precision sighting and range finding systems, the H&K G3 with precision sighting setups.

Colt M4 carbine

Pakistan Ordnance Factory’s SMG with EOTECH precision night visioning and Target Acquisition systems

H&K MP5 submachine gun

Ordnance Factory’s assault rifles

Side arms

Glock 17, Beretta 92FS, SIG-Sauer P226 Tac Ops.

The Terrorists use

Dragunov sniper rifles

Dshk 12.7 heavy machine guns

AK-47

Handgun

Taurus P 24/7 9mm.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (24)

  • Ghostrider
    Oct 23, 2013 - 8:57AM

    Attention to detail is what set this film apart…Kudos to the crew who gave so much time sorting the details, indeed the weapons used are the authentic ones.

    Recommend

  • Hamza
    Oct 23, 2013 - 10:12AM

    An excellent movie. Long live Pakistan Armed Forces, Police. Long live Pakistan, inshaAllah

    Recommend

  • Anonym
    Oct 23, 2013 - 10:13AM

    great film

    Recommend

  • Babar Saif
    Oct 23, 2013 - 10:53AM

    @Ghostrider:
    Flashlight on Shan’s rifle is mounted backwards. In other words, it would blind the shooter rather than the target. Ooops, so much for attention to detail.

    Recommend

  • ahmed
    Oct 23, 2013 - 12:04PM

    @Babar Saif lol, better get an eye, its not a flash light.

    Recommend

  • Marshwin-UK
    Oct 23, 2013 - 12:36PM

    I am proud of this movie just as any tru-blu Pakistani would but sorry to say that it only goes to show that Pakistanis are so uncomfortable in their skins that they had use a foreign language and a foreign accent. tot make the movie appealing. I fail to relate to this movie at all and the characters badly need a lesson in acting except Shaan. Just wondering, if we are as good at eliminating terrorist threats, would our country be in the state it is. Also, the slick army personnel shown in the movie do not represent the soldiers on the ground who die for the country everyday.

    Recommend

  • rizkhan
    Oct 23, 2013 - 1:11PM

    Mesmerizing movie. Changed the whole Cinema direction of Pakistani moviesRecommend

  • Nadir
    Oct 23, 2013 - 1:18PM

    How about spending the money on jawans rather than on the movie?

    Recommend

  • RM
    Oct 23, 2013 - 1:37PM

    The movie is very good production but has the usual mistakes at places. For instance, when the politician Aijaz was murdered he was stabbed in the liver by a special knife. But the blood stains were on his left side.

    Recommend

  • yash
    Oct 23, 2013 - 2:08PM

    I like the performance of Shamoon Abbasi as an Indian RAW Agent, The master mind behind the huge terrorist attack in this movie

    Recommend

  • saloo bhai
    Oct 23, 2013 - 3:03PM

    Zabardst movie in long time….

    Recommend

  • Oct 23, 2013 - 6:12PM

    I am a secular and i hate this movie from the depth of my heart .Anything that will give hope to Pakistanis Pakistan army and ISI i will always protest on it Even knowing that i live on this land but still i will always defame and call our thing bad because its in fashion . For me i firmly believe that formation of a Pakistan was a biggest mistake . Pakistan should be throw in the pocket of India . Khan abdul ghffar khan and GM syed like people are heroes of mine and Islam is against my atheistic intellect .

    (Dont believe me)Recommend

  • Saad
    Oct 23, 2013 - 6:44PM

    @Usama Qayyum:

    Keep on ranting. Your opinions will not make things a reality…and thankfully so!

    Recommend

  • Zain
    Oct 23, 2013 - 6:49PM

    The script seems to be written by Syed Zaid Hamid. :P

    Recommend

  • LitCrit
    Oct 23, 2013 - 6:58PM

    The worst movie of the year, start listening to reason rather than your nationalistic sentimentalism and penchant for guns and helicopters. Dialogue was childish, action choreography was horrible, the shamoon and meesha shafi dance was ridiculously absurd, terrible music, too many close up shots. Just a horrible, horrible film. And it was so expensive to make! Chambaili was a way better film and itself was below par so Waar is definitely quite quite bad a film, probably as bad as Main Hoon Shahid Afridi,maybe worse. Zinda Bhaag is a much superior film, no comparison actually. Jaami’s upcoming films look great too and will be more intelligently written it seems.

    Waar: 2/10
    MHSA: 2.5/10
    Zinda Bhaag: 7/10
    Lamha: 4/10
    Chambaili: 5/10

    Recommend

  • vaticancity
    Oct 23, 2013 - 9:12PM

    @Usama, it is quite ironic to me that you are named Usama which is similar to you know who but okay be secular but you cannot expect any country including Pakistan Not to have security forces. So should the country protect itself with flowers. I sometimes think yes there should never have been Partition but then again sometimes I do, double minded due to reading alot about societal problems in both sides/countries. Still think the movie is good as it shows the reality and the silent achievers who have risked or died trying to protect others. Actually everyone in the world should be grateful they are alive as other people have died, fought for their freedoms, sacrificed themselves so that they can live. We are all to some extent alive because of brave men/women who have fought in wars.

    Recommend

  • Sherif
    Oct 23, 2013 - 10:24PM

    This movie is not nice as there is no professionalism.There are lot of mistakes shot by shot if you watch carefully.Story some what ok but not up to the mark.

    Recommend

  • choclet
    Oct 23, 2013 - 10:36PM

    having the father in high places to the extent of running the capital along with the backing of ispr a film like waar is indeed possible! how much would the real producers (the army) get out of the crores it is minting?

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 25, 2013 - 11:03PM

    Believe me this movie is the best. It even a whole lot matter than all Indian movies made to-date!

    Recommend

  • Zaneera
    Oct 26, 2013 - 8:20PM

    Come on everybody Usama’s comment was a satire ..on liberals ;p

    Recommend

  • Ajay
    Oct 27, 2013 - 10:08AM

    How about making arrangement for this movie to be seen in India and US?
    Pakistanis love fighting & killing and all things connected with it- Army, terrorism, action movies, LOC skirmishes, Eid sacrificials, bombs, etc.
    We Indians wont mind if it satisfies your ego showing India in bad light. We want to enjoy the movie too.

    Recommend

  • Wisdom Chase
    Oct 29, 2013 - 12:29AM

    @Ajay – just watch it online and share the link with your friends ;)

    Recommend

  • Rashid
    Oct 30, 2013 - 10:47AM

    @Ajay Name of india is not mentioned anywhere in this movie. Only in one scene name of RAW is mentioned. The name of main terrorist is ‘Ramal’ which is an arabic name. When there is no direct link to india is shown in this film, they why so much negativity from india media on this film.

    Recommend

  • IMRAN TAHIR
    Oct 30, 2013 - 6:34PM

    The worst movie of the year, start listening to reason rather than your nationalistic sentimentalism and penchant for guns and helicopters. Dialogue was childish, action choreography was horrible, the shamoon and meesha shafi dance was ridiculously absurd, terrible music, too many close up shots. Just a horrible, horrible film. And it was so expensive to make! Chambaili was a way better film and itself was below par so Waar is definitely quite quite bad a film, probably as bad as Main Hoon Shahid Afridi,maybe worse. Zinda Bhaag is a much superior film, no comparison actually. Jaami’s upcoming films look great too and will be more intelligently written it seems.Recommend

More in Film