With ISPR support, debut film-maker hopes to revive national pride

Published: October 27, 2013
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Dr Tauseef Razzaq’s film project is about national and military heroes. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Dr Tauseef Razzaq’s film project is about national and military heroes. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

LAHORE: 

If we consider themes of the mainstream feature films of 2013 — cricketing story Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, counter-terrorism inspired Waar and political Chambaili — it becomes clear that film-makers are adamant on telling some version of a feel-good ‘patriotic’ story.

Pakistani nationalism is trending and if Waar’s success is anything to go by, cinema halls and box office stats are at an all-time peak.

Another person to join the pride-wagon is former doctor of the Pakistani cricket team, Dr Tauseef Razzaq. In his debut project, Razzaq is all set to bring his own version of a patriotic film to the big screen.

The idea, he says, is to “recreate a spirit of national pride.” In an interview with The Express Tribune, he says, “When a generation loses the ‘spirit of this nation’, the country’s soul passes away.”

Like many, Razzaq feels Indian content on TV is a threat to Pakistani culture. For this reason, he feels that advertisements, films and songs should remind the current generations of Pakistan’s history and values. “My film will have a trickle-down effect. Kids today, who are watching Indian advertisements, do not have the same spirit as our generation,” says Razzaq.

Titled Saya-e-Khuda-e-Zuljalal (Protection of Magnificent God) — the last line of Pakistan’s national anthem — the film is more or less a timeline of the country’s historical moments, such as partition and the 1965 war, narrated through national figures and heroes. The cast includes Umair Sultan, Nayyer Ijaz, Arbaaz Khan, Nauman Ijaz, Shaan, Shafqat Cheema, Rambo and many more. The film is written and produced by Razzaq himself and directed by Umair Fazli.

Currently in the production stage, the film has been supported by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Air Force — an endorsement, film-makers are often reluctant to publicly admit to. Razzaq is quite frank about his film’s association with the ISPR.

“I told them I had a script that focused on our national heroes, especially those who fought in war. I went to the headquarters and read my script to them. They were happy with what I had done,” shares Razzaq. “However, they did want to make a few changes and after that the script was approved,” he says.

“Parts of the script, which were army-related have been looked over by ISPR. All the events have been verified first and then shot,” he adds.

As far as funding is concerned, Razzaq says the ISPR had, at the time, allocated its production budget to Samjhota Express but they still managed to help him by granting access to certain areas in terms of shooting locations. For example, a scene that shows Shaheed Major Aziz Bhatti’s battle has been shot only a kilometer away from where he was actually killed — an area near the Indian border. The teaser trailer of the film also highlights extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI), which means that the film is likely to have high visual effects.

Razzaq hopes to refresh the image of national and military heroes such as fighter-pilot MM Alam. He says he contacted MM Alam before he passed away to get his opinion on the script. “I sent him a copy. He was one of those who really supported and encouraged me to make this film,” he says.

At the end, Razzaq asserts that he is a patriot, who wants the film to be a reflection of how Pakistanis, and not Indians or the world, see history.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Nadir
    Oct 27, 2013 - 9:09PM

    Is our national pride so fickle it needs tax payer funded films to keep it afloat?

    Recommend

  • Striver
    Oct 27, 2013 - 9:10PM

    The tone of this article suggests ET is not comfortable with Pakistani patriotism.

    And if ISPR is providing the facilities to shoots parts of the film, why is that a problem. It’s all I. your tone ET. Things are changing for the better and you need to keep or be left behind. Joins us in our patriotism you are a Pakistani paper after all. Are you not?

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  • optimist
    Oct 27, 2013 - 9:30PM

    Though it is not an ideal situation, any money from ISPR will help train animators and a whole team of trained people. It is a media wing and they have their own budget to promote media productions (as far tax payers money, I would rather see this money being spent on films and technical training than bullets and guns).
    .
    With time, the theme of films will turn to light heated comedy (people will get fed up with same kind of films) and those making films with glamour etc will have a huge talent pool to get benefit from.
    .
    Bilal Lashari was Shoib Mansoor’s assistant in Khuda Ke Liye (2007) and after a few years he has given us a film that we are truly proud of. Imagine guys workinng on Waar and other films. In a few years’ time, they will be collaborating with industries like Hollywood!

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  • S
    Oct 27, 2013 - 10:14PM

    Tax payer money? Do we pay any tax?

    Everywhere in the world armies support movies, do you think Hollywood movies with massive scenes of air craft carriers and jets r without army support?

    And yes our economy is very weak, point is ispr didn’t ask anyone to mske this movie. The director had an idea and he needed money and this was one of the source. As our economy will progress InshAllah, people will get funding from other places.

    But the point is absolutely correct. Every country portrays history in its own version, Indians to Americans to everyone and we should not be any exception.

    Please try to understand we need such movies to instil patriotism in our current generation. All our current generation see is Indian adverts and their version of history

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  • Taimoor
    Oct 27, 2013 - 10:28PM

    I’m all for patriotic cinema but a little more cultural accuracy (less American accents etc) this time around would be much appreciated.

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  • Schrodinger
    Oct 27, 2013 - 10:30PM

    Americans had no problem with that “Behind the army lines” movie.They didn’t say its our tax money which is being spent and in Pakistan where these elite class guys who don’t even pay taxes,come out with such comments.Recommend

  • yash
    Oct 27, 2013 - 10:32PM

    grow up guys, how can you make war movies without the support of military???? which film industry has its own tanks helicopters or fighter jets??

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  • Parvez
    Oct 27, 2013 - 11:00PM

    If patriotism is to be promoted it would be of help if the truth is told. To have a feel good moment in the cinema and then come outside and face harsh reality can be counter-productive.

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  • Syed Arsalan Ali
    Oct 27, 2013 - 11:12PM

    I’d endorse this movie, as well as ISPR whether it is technical or financial. We all must support it for the sake of awakening the national spirit among us which is the need of time.
    People need to understand that as soon as our film industry rises as soon as we can get rid of indian cultural influence which is surely damaging us and our coming generations.
    It has been already explained that the socio-political subjects are opted just because it has been always a resource of national response, and as the time will pass we will surely see movies on other genres too. In this regard, we only have to do 2 things and that are to stay calm and support what’s right.

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  • Sidster
    Oct 27, 2013 - 11:20PM

    In India., Movies with Patriotic messages are given tax exemption by the government. There should not be any worry regards to propaganda. Everything we look on TV or in Movies are made for the purpose to convince other to follow their lead.

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  • Citizen Kane
    Oct 27, 2013 - 11:37PM

    Will national heroes such as Bachaa Khan and GM Syed be shown or will it be the usual bunch?

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  • ashish
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:04AM

    @Striver:

    do not attach everything with patriotism. movies are meant for entertainment and freedom of expression. ispr funding makes it a propaganda.

    your country has already made education as a propaganda tool to instil anti-indian and islamist narratives. and now you can see the result in your society.

    it will revive movie industry but these type of movies will create more hatred and cause more confusion among masses.

    Recommend

  • ds
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:09AM

    As the 2014 approaches and afghan taliban’s regime is about to be back in power, some people are worrying sick Indians, ET included.

    So are you prepared to face what you must face ET guys?

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:35AM

    Isn’t soldiers and civilian getting killed everyday by the TTP thugs while the army is unable to anything except for giving empty rhetoric enough. That now the ISPR has to make propaganda movies to show their great fighting power? How does spreading lies and myth help the population that is really in need of severe truthful soul searching.
    Didn’t all these propaganda and narrative spread by the ISPR through PTV, media and education, since the inception this country got us into this mess? How long this next lies are going to last before it blows up in our face?

    Recommend

  • Qasim Khan
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:35AM

    @Nadir:
    Its such a shame to read such comments. RAW literally sponsors their media. Not only theirs but ours as well. When our army does the same we criticise it

    Recommend

  • S
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:39AM

    And to add, people get over this, every country makes feel good movies, why should we be an exception

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  • S
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:40AM

    And it seems like ET is very uncomfortable with patriotic movies.please Et have a shred of shame

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  • hasan
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:58AM

    Our history book is full of lies and deceit, as propagated by our agencies… now these same agencies are funding these below grade directors with money just to propagate their agenda… once again we are on the wrong side and ashamed to part of this blatant interference in our society by our establishment

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 28, 2013 - 2:40AM

    @Parvez:
    yes just like bollywood movies who are always telling harsh reality to their viewers

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  • BABAR
    Oct 28, 2013 - 3:02AM

    This nation NEEDS army funded patriotic movies!! because GEO has made us pro-Indian!!

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  • BABAR
    Oct 28, 2013 - 3:03AM

    What about RAW funded media ?? If “Saya-e-Khuda-e-Zuljalal” is ISPR funded. I am proud of it. Pak Army Zinbabad

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  • Saad
    Oct 28, 2013 - 4:04AM

    Let me state that I’m extreme liberal myself, Hypocrisy amongst Pakistani liberals is that they can’t see anything patriotic. It irks them a lot. Its a fact.

    American liberals love their troops despite their record of war crimes. And here our Pakistani liberals love to demonize Pakistan’s armed forces who by the way are the only ones fighting taliban and terrorist miscreants.

    Recommend

  • water bottle
    Oct 28, 2013 - 6:29AM

    Pakistan is like the man who runs a tea stall nearby my home. He opens it anytime he pleases, closes it whenever he pleases, entertains certain customers and doesn’t entertain the others, he takes loans and gets into fights…

    My point is, Pakistan has no law, rules, regulations or even a constitution.

    Is it an army’s job to fun a film? What rubbish!

    India has many state institutions that fund films. They act independently. They fund films based on the artistic quality and not on the basis of the message it sends out.

    Besides, doesn’t ISI/ISPR has a set of guidelines for functioning? Does it say, ISI can fund feature films?

    What kind of an anarchy do you guys run?Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Oct 28, 2013 - 7:18AM

    ”…a feel-good ‘patriotic’ story…” — Again !

    1960’s entire generation (particularly post-65 and 1971) was fooled by the Military nonsense propaganda stories (through Radio/ Newspapers/ TV/ Novels etc). Almost all my school friends, including me, believed that Yahya Khan was the best General Pakistan Army ever produced!

    Reality like 16 December 1971 public mega Surrender of Pakistan Army then felt like bitter hemlock by the fooled people.

    Recommend

  • phonix
    Oct 28, 2013 - 8:50AM

    so army needs to brainwash its own population through a propaganda film. can the patriotism survive without roti? army needs money to buy toys and trucks and poor need to be emotionally hitched so that they are made to think that it is for their good!

    Recommend

  • Gingo
    Oct 28, 2013 - 9:48AM

    @Striver:
    No one has a problem Patriotism alone, however if you associate with one particular religion then it no longer is patriotism but propaganda

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  • Rumormonger
    Oct 28, 2013 - 10:43AM

    When the army is not ruling Pakistan, it is trying to incite Pakistanism in Pakistanis. What is wrong with us. It is surely the onslaught of foreign media that is making us totally directionless.

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 28, 2013 - 12:59PM

    @water bottle:
    Largest Indian institution to finance movies is UNDER WORLD, according to one study, film business is too risky for Indian banks and other financial institutions to invest in. Besides this it is very difficult to forecast the revenue. Hence financial institutions prefer not to invest. So where does all the funding comes from? Indian movies have sky high budgets and if not all then 90% are financed to convert black into white.

    IPL is another fixture which has gained under world’s interest. The multi billion dollar betting industry is being run by the under world.

    Recommend

  • Wajeeh
    Oct 28, 2013 - 1:55PM

    Make movies with any one’s support but please tell the truth but no one here will do this ever. As they need an ignorant people to save their interests. So another tactic to keep things in their favor first there were PTV dramas and now movies. All lies.

    Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 28, 2013 - 2:48PM

    @Ali: Let’s be fair………..most Bollywood movies don’t hide the fact that they are over-the-top fairy tales and the viewing public is treated to a few hours of simple escapism allowing them to dream. Yes, their pictures with political themes are no different from stuff like Waar but at the end of the day all this should be seen as entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Doing otherwise would be fooling ourselves.

    Recommend

  • Asad K Shaikh
    Oct 28, 2013 - 4:05PM

    Mr Nadir

    Im happy to pay my tax money for patriotic films rather than be stored in a Swiss bank.

    Recommend

  • water bottle
    Oct 28, 2013 - 4:31PM

    @Imran:

    You are 100% correct.

    Also the extremely corrupt realty sector invests in films.

    But that’s utterly besides the point, isn’t it?

    Recommend

  • FS
    Oct 28, 2013 - 5:32PM

    The US Army has released movies like Acts of Valor but there has been no controversy. What’s the big deal if ISPR supports some movies that market the Pak Army. At the end of the day it’s just a movie, don’t watch it if the theme doesn’t interest you.

    Recommend

  • john
    Oct 28, 2013 - 7:40PM

    ET is backed by either India or liberal facists. Need to dig research to expose where ET gets its funding from.

    Recommend

  • Salman Ahmed
    Oct 28, 2013 - 10:00PM

    Damn! who supported the making of this Movie. Just enjoyed it.

    It is an Indian propaganda to drag ISPR & PAK Army in this successful Film. They can’t stand the reality.

    Recommend

  • Salma
    Oct 31, 2013 - 4:20PM

    @ashish:

    Mind you own business. Recommend

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