Driving into the night

British director of upcoming Pakistani film ‘Driven’ talks about writing a more universal story set in Pakistan

Mehek Saeed July 15, 2015
Actor-model Amna Ilyas along with the key crew members of Driven. PHOTO: FILE


As more and more Pakistani films continue to grace the cinemas, foreign technicians have started taking keen interest in the local film industry. A testimony for that is the upcoming film Driven, that features a  British director, Russian sound designer and a Polish cinematographer  all working together with a  noteworthy cast from Pakistan. The local names include Kamran Faiq, Amna Ilyas, Javed Sheikh, Adnan Shah Tipu, Rehan Sheikh, Omair Rana, Najia Baig and Wahab Shah.

Interestingly, the entire film has been shot within a vintage Mercedes W126 S-Class 1978 and depicts the story of one night “It’s a crime-drama-action thriller, when it started out it was meant to be an artsy film but that changed along the way,” Kamran Faiq , who is co-producing the film with Naveed Shaikh told The Express Tribune. “Now it has turned into a purely commercial film but we did not compromise on the core values of the story, only certain dynamics were altered to fit a different audience.” The film was initially meant to be bilingual albeit mainly in English but that has been changed as well. “The film will be released worldwide but our main audience is Pakistan. We are showing the elite class in Pakistan and they mainly speak English”

Director Michael Hudson became interested in making a film in Pakistan when he was directing his debut feature in Lithuania. “Kamran and I discussed it and he set out some guidelines for me about what the film could be about. I began writing the script which was difficult at the time as I had not been to Pakistan so I tried to make a film with a theme that’s commercial and universal.”

Faiq and Hudson decided to go with a crime thriller theme because they felt that the genre transcends geographical boundaries and they both share an affinity for darker concepts. “All my future films will be shot at night just like Driven because this is the theme we like working with,”says Faiq.

From what we know, Driven is a film about a family and the how far one is willing to protect that bond. The films tagline reads, “You’ll do anything you can to survive, but then comes living with it.”

Working with different nationalities helps the creative process as it allows one to view scenarios and elements through different eyes and perspectives. It can be a profound learning experience but it has its drawbacks. Hudson shares, “The belief systems where I am from (UK), where I live now (Russia) and Pakistan are all fundamentally different from each other. In terms of moralities and personal values, what may appear logical to me, may not be to another so each element must be checked for realism”.

He says that in terms of actual filming the work ethics of Europeans and Pakistanis differ, the west works faster mainly because it costs more to make a film there.

The cast includes upcoming actors as well as veteran actors like Javed Sheikh, who is excited to be a part of the project, “When I met this talented man (Hudson) with an exciting script, I was convinced to be a part of the film. I have not begun shooting with them yet but know from their teaser that it will be something to look out for.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th,  2015.

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