Hamza Ali Abbasi is a rare man among today’s breed of actors. Driven by passion, his latest directorial venture, Kambakht, is Abbasi’s own Joseph Gordon-Levitt Don Jon moment. While he has already established a burgeoning career for himself as a leading man, he is looking to make his mark on cinema from the director’s chair.
“I am better known for my acting, so a lot of people told me ‘focus on that’ or ‘wait before you make a film’, but I felt I had to do it. It’s kind of like getting married, you can wait five years or do it now,” Abbasi tells The Express Tribune.
Abbasi has paid no heed to these suggestions and is currently in the process of directing what is being hyped as a vitriol comedy that should be released by mid-2014.There are many positive things about Abbasi, but one thing is certain, he is always talking about bringing people together and supporting each other for the betterment of the industry. The actor-director has kept his indie-film roots intact with this endeavour by casting and running the production through people he feels comfortable with.
“The passion aspect has overshadowed professionalism. We’re all people who are doing this for the first time, so I think that’s what made the project so interesting,” says Abbasi.
His production team is a cultivation of minds he has brought together or scouted over the years. More importantly, they are people he trusts. For instance, the script is a collaborative effort between Abbasi and two theatre veterans, Atif Siddiqui and Jawad Rana. His production team includes two relatively new figures — Shayan Latif, who was his DOP in Mudhouse and newcomer Sharmeen Khan.
“My first priority was to work with people I already knew and thought I had a comfort level with, so we would stay together at work, so that helped me,” says Abbasi. The hype surrounding the film has been apparent since its inception due to the originality of the piece, and the star ensemble assembled by Abbasi. Ahsan Khan was initially going to star in the lead role, which is now being played by Abbasi himself.
Kambakht has quite the all-star cast, including Abbasi, Shafqat Cheema, Humayun Saeed, Shehryar Munawar, Sohai Ali Aabru, Fizza Zehra and Gohar Rasheed, amongst others. A comedy with an original storyline, Kambakht is about two people, one middle-aged man from the backward areas of the frontier, played by Shafqat Cheema, and a young urban city-slicker played by Abbasi himself, who strike an unlikely and accidental friendship.
“I think it’s going to feel like a combination of both Hera Pheri and The Hangover mixed together. It’s pure comedy and entertainment, in which I think the film’s strength is going to be the story and the characters,” says Abbasi.
Gohar Rasheed, who helped with production and is playing the role of a policeman, is quite excited about Kambakht, due to the hilarity surrounding its characters. He says that the out-of-the-box and non-conventional approach has provided something really different.
“It’s really a roller-coaster ride; it has one turn after another, one twist after another, and one event after another. Personally I am against comparisons, because I feel it’s just that original. This film will leave its own mark,” says Rasheed.
Comedy aside, he says there is a broader change coming, in light of the fact that type-casted actors such as Shafqat Cheema, who has only been known for his roles as a villain, will be seen in a completely different light. Another person to look out for will be Humayun Saeed, also known for dark-harrowing characters, playing against his type.
The film is going to be distributed by ARY Films, and will be releasing its teaser trailers in the coming months. We can’t wait to see what Hamza Ali Abbasi has in store for us this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2014.