In the wake of criticism, it was recently clarified that Reham Khan will neither contest elections on a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ticket nor will she attend any party gathering. But despite cutting back on her political contribution, it seems she still won’t have any free time on her hands. This is so because Reham and IRK Films’ upcoming film Janaan is expected to go on the floors on August 21, with the first production spell scheduled for Islamabad.
No stranger to the craft of filmmaking, Imran Raza Kazmi, who previously produced the horror film Siyaah, spoke to The Express Tribune about his latest venture. Describing Janaan as a romantic-comedy in the vein of Jab We Met, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kazmi said the prime aim of the movie is to promote Pashtun culture in the country. “We want to project Pashtun culture and tradition through our movie, and show that they’re just as normal as us,” he shared.
The movie, to be shot in Islamabad and Swat, tells the story of three brothers based there and in Canada. It further focuses on their children, all of whom gather for a family wedding in the northern areas of Pakistan. According to Kazmi, Reham has been involved in the entire filmmaking process. “From the story to casting, Reham was involved in every aspect of the process. She even helped in developing the story for Janaan, which was later adapted into a screenplay by Osman Khalid Butt.” He added that since Reham hails from Swat, she was able to incorporate unique elements about the area into the story.
Janaan features young actors, such as Armeena Khan, Bilal Ashraf and Ali Rehman Khan, who were all casted following interviews and screen tests. Without divulging details about their roles, Kazmi shared that Armeena would depict the role of a Canadian girl of Pakistani origin in the film. Interestingly, the film reunites the team behind Siyaah, with Kazmi returning as producer, Azfar Jafri as director and Butt as writer.
For Kazmi, this was an easy decision, not only because of the chemistry the trio shares but also because of the success Siyaah proved to be. “We made Siyaah with a small budget and limited resources, and the way [Jafri and Butt] capitalised on them was remarkable. Imagine what they can do with a greater budget and resources.”
The soundtrack for the movie will feature a string of local artists, such as Ataullah Khan, with the filmmakers also attempting to rope in Bollywood musicians for the project. Kazmi is hopeful that the movie will do well no matter when it releases and may also benefit from Reham’s growing popularity. “This will be a major factor because a lot of people know Reham, but the reason why she’s doing this movie is to promote our local culture.” The film is so far slated for a 2016 release.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2015.