The director broke into the mainstream media through his music videos for prominent acts such as Atif Aslam, Overload, Mekaal Hasan Band, Entity Paradigm etc. They carry his signature inclination towards fantastical storytelling with a prominent dramatic flair prompting him to become the director-of-choice for those in the industry. His last body of work, Entity Paradigm’s Shor Macha, was shot in over five locations all over Pakistan and had an accompanying documentary on the making of the ‘epic’ video itself.
At the moment, however, Bilal Lashari is engrossed in shooting, in the hills of Islamabad, his full-length feature film called Waar (to strike). “We’re in production right now and we’ve shot about 25 per cent of the film,” says Bilal. The storyline has been inspired by terrorist attacks in Pakistan. “But with a very stylised interpretation of it,” he adds.
Why Islamabad? “The entire production is based in Islamabad, the producer (Hassan Waqas Rana) is based here and he calls the shots. Most of the scenes and script are based around locations in Islamabad… maybe just a few scenes are based in Lahore and Istanbul.” He adds that Hassan has several film projects up his sleeves and has “big plans of restarting the film scene in Pakistan.” The production company for Waar is Mindworks Media.
Lashari has also managed to get iconic actor, Shaan, on board and describes working with the actor as “the best experience yet. He was just so professional. And because he knows what you are talking about, it’s easy to communicate with him.”
“A director knows what he wants from an actor, Shaan gives you that and more. Things you wouldn’t expect that lie in the subtleties of his work,” enthused Bilal adding that, “I was very excited about working with him. In fact I changed my facebook status the same day I was supposed to work with him. I wasn’t intimidated because I’ve known him from before. He’s also a sellable artist.”
“Besides Shaan, there is Shamoon Abbasi in the film, otherwise the rest of the cast are brand new actors,” added Bilal, “we’re also working with a newer crew.” He also mentions that film doesn’t carry any ‘song and dance’ sequences. So far, we can expect Waar to have a summer release.
Does he have plans of working on any more music videos? “I’m putting them on hold for now. I love music videos and I don’t think I am ever going to quit that. The budgets have gone down and the returns are not as rewarding as the work that is put in.” One has also heard he takes a long, long time to work on a video, what does he have to say about that? “If you give a great budget I’ll do it in half the time!” laughs Lashari.