For 23-year-old Hassam Khan, the realm of film is neither a hobby nor a passion, but is a lifestyle he’s always wanted to live, he confesses.
Khan has thus far performed in a couple of stage plays, such as Pawnay 14 August, where he played the lead role of Quaid e Azam, and Come Again!, where he played the character of Daddy Don.
For his latest project, Azaad Khan has donned not only the hat of actor, but also that of script writer and director.
“The initiative was to make a revival [of cinema]. However, while we were in the process of making this film, we did not know there were others making films like Zinda Bhaag!” He says.
Hassam Khan’s film Azaad is a psychological thriller which might, as he says, “Give the audience goose-bumps and emotional overtures.” He insists that his work is a largely researched-based script, and that he has even talked to police offers who handled the Javed Iqbal Mughal case. Mughal, as many may remember, was a Pakistani serial killer, who was found guilty of the sexual abuse and murder of 100 children. He committed suicide in October 2001.
Khan has also studied the case of Ed Gein in depth, who was a murderer who exhumed corpses from local graveyards, and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Khan asserts that, “The film is not all about the criminals, I wanted to grip on the roots [of crime], rather than the criminals themselves. I believe debuts like this work for a debut film-maker like myself.”
Khan gives The Express Tribune the story-line of his film Azaad, saying that the plot revolves around the case of serial killer Talha Zulfiqar, who has killed nine people.
The cast includes Hassam Khan, Hammad Siddiqui, Natasha Baig, Maddi Murtaza and Shahmeen Khan. Basir Ahmed, one of the youngest score artistes of Pakistan, is composing the music for the film. The soundtrack of the film includes three songs, including one title track.
Khan says the film was shot in Karachi and is based in the city as well. Shooting started in January 2013 and went on for the better part of the entire year. Currently, the film is in the phase of post-production, and clocks in at two hours long.
This Urdu scripted work, Khan says, is, “not fully scary. You have to be immersed in the film so as to understand it.”
Khan, who is currently doing his Bachelors from IVS in Communication Design, says that, “films have really changed my life. Like every average school-going kid in second grade, I wanted to be an actor.”
“I really wanted to adopt this lifestyle. Visual story-telling in Pakistan is the need of the hour. People need entertainment. I will pursue this neither as a passion nor as a hobby, but as a lifestyle. I am in love with this.”
Without giving an exact release date, he cites that by middle of next year, June, they will be able to release the movie in Pakistan, and also hints on the possibility of an international release, if all goes well.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2013.