Veteran filmmaker Shahzad Rafique is gearing up for his upcoming film Salute. He has begun shooting for the film which will highlight the on-going war against terror that has affected 180 million Pakistanis..
Salute pays homage to the heroes who sacrificed their lives to eliminate this curse from the country. Rafique will particularly narrate Aitzaz Ahsan’s courageous story in this film. Ahsan, a student of grade nine, lost his life while preventing a suicide bomber from entering his school of 2,000 students in a village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in January 2014.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Rafique revealed that the shooting of his upcoming film has started. The major parts of the film were shot in Mirpur and Kotli (Azad Kashmir), during the last few days.
Rafique talked about the purpose of this film saying, “Terrorists want to threaten children and parents of Pakistan, but in my film the countrymen reject these threats and mutually take a stand for peace in Pakistan”. It will be a first biographical film of the country to focus on terrorism and it will not include any songs.
“This film will be an effort to encounter and eliminate the threat of terrorism from the society. We should take pride in Aitzaz Ahsan being our hero, as he without caring for his life, secured many others. It will ignite a similar spirit among the whole nation,” he added.
To gain in-depth insight on Ahsan’s life, Rafique had to do thorough research. “I met the family and parents of Aitzaz just to understand the circumstances and feelings of the family and accordingly chose Ajab Gul and Saima to play the roles of his parents.”
Veteran actor Ajab Gul will play Aitzaz’s father in the film.
Considering the sensitivity of the topic, he had to face certain limitations in terms of locations for the film’s shoot. He said, “We did not shoot this film in tribal areas due to various threats. So, the film was shot in the areas of Azad Kashmir.” He hesitated to disclose the further locations due to security reasons. He did not even reveal the child’s name, who will be essaying the role of Ahsan due to the same reason.
He also spoke about the technology that will be involved in the making of this film. He said, “Modern technology will be used for pre-and-post-production. The post production will be completed abroad. Besides this, all modern techniques are being employed to make this film aesthetically appealing.”
Although, this film can be counted on as one of the anticipated films, Rafique is uncertain about its release date. He said, “I cannot disclose when this film will be released but it will be a good addition to the film industry.”
Till last year, the plot of Salute revolved around the journey of a young man and the challenges he faces on his way to becoming an army officer. But after Aitzaz Ahsan’s sad demise, the producers decided to honour the contributions of this young boy.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2015.
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