Before shooting for Waar began, or Hamyun Saeed had started work on Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi and Hamza Ali Abbasi was simply a theatre-talent trying to make it as an independent film director, Shamoon Abbasi had started working on Gidh; his latest film which is set to begin shooting in February.
Shamoon Abbasi has never been one to take a back seat, or take a break. Any time he completes a project, he is already looking forward and thinking about how he can make an impact. One main aspect of his multi-dimensional career has been his desire to direct.
“I have never wanted to just be a stagnant actor, directing has always been my plan. I’ve always felt it was my responsibility to stand-up, produce and deliver,” says Abbasi. The actor has come a long way since he first entered the industry. While the success of Waar may have made him a famous face, he has always made sure to have control over the types of projects he works on.
“When I started out I had to struggle. I didn’t have money or projects, I was trying to survive. That is what my journey has mainly been about,” says Abbasi.
His directorial debut is something that he wants to undertake on a large scale. Gidh (which mean vultures in Urdu) is an attempt at making a commercial Pakistani film that maintains the sub-continent aesthetic of glamour, music and scale. The film will be produced by Six Sigma productions, which also produced Mein Hoon Shahid Afridi.
“The idea is to make a commercial film, not necessarily in the monetary sense but visually. We have a lot of action films which have touched upon issues of war and fundamentalism. The idea with Gidh is to tackle a serious subject and replace that desire to produce Bollywood-style films,” says Abbasi. “This will be totally Pakistani, and have a commercial look with its glamorised feel.”
Gidh has been described as a film about a well-known celebrity, who struggles with society at-large, through the media, police and public. The theme will explore how one man is tested by the challenges aiming to drag him down.
“I can’t really discuss the plot in detail, but it’s about vultures in our society, and how a superstar is brought down by people whose intents are dangerous,” says Abbasi.
Following the success of Waar, Gidh has expanded its budget and will look to begin production by February. “I think it’s a good thing that the release has been pushed because it has allowed us to get an idea of what this new market is like, and gauge the reaction of the people,” says Abbasi.
Shamoon has assembled an outstanding cast for the project, including Mumbai-based actor Sara Loren, Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, himself, and two new female actors Sadia Khan and Kiran Tanveer. While the film had originally been slated for an earlier release, it was delayed as Abbasi and Humayun Saeed got caught up with other projects. Shamoon had also interestingly tabbed Hamza Ali Abbasi to write the film before he became famous, by complete chance.
The film will have an array of songs by different directors such as Kamran Akhtar, who is known for his work with Mahesh Bhatt in Bollywood. The film will be shot in Islamabad and Lahore, with songs being shot in various scenic locations all over Pakistan. The background score will be done by Amir Munawar and Hasil Qureshi, who also have Waar in their repertoire.
Gidh will not have a lengthy production process; the plan is to release the film by August 2014, meaning that the film will be complete, from beginning to end, in eight months. Abbasi said he felt it was important that film productions did not lag because of the hindered output of the overall industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2013.