After the success of Waar, the film’s producer, Dr Hassan Waqas Rana, is busy pulling together his next big venture.
Rana’s upcoming film, Yalghaar, is highly anticipated – not only for it’s star-studded cast, but also because it’s said to be Pakistan’s most expensive film to date.
Rana, who will be directing, writing and producing the film, talks to Dawn.com about what makes Yalghaar so expensive, his team, and the people behind the success of Pakistan’s film Industry.
It's all about equipment, crew
“The funds are going to equipment, equipment, and then some more equipment," says Rana.
"There is a technical revolution happening at the moment and I intend to make full use of it. I want to make my film a cinematic experience for my audience and something that all of you can love to call your own. Making a closer to life cave system is just one of the things we did, you cannot give the audience anything substandard, they will literally tear you apart and my team is extremely aware of that,” Rana added.
|Left to right: Hasan Waqas Rana, Adnan Siddiqui and Bilal Ashraf. – Publicity photo|
Rana also believes that social media is the best platform to connect with your fans.
"Social media is going to play a major part in our plan [for promotions]", says Rana. “It is the only medium where you can directly speak to your fans.”
Yalghaar’s promotion is expected to start in November, and the film will also be ready for release early November.
"The movie has not been delayed at all... my stars, my most wonderful team are extremely dedicated to the project and are totally committed to it."
Rana says that sheer size of production and the number of people involved with the project is the only major obstacle in making this film.
“The number of people is exceeding 5,000, so the production management takes most of our valuable time.”
The main sequences of the film were shot in Swat, Gilgit, and Chitral.
“It was a logistical challenge but, our team, including our stars are the ones who revel in the challenging environment, sometimes I think they really don’t like normal easy shooting conditions!” Rana adds, jokingly.
Yalghaar won't be 'preachy'
So what does Rana envision for Yalghaar, after the success of Waar?
"I am so proud of the fact that Waar is considered the genesis of this revolution. That is worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox. As a producer I would want a bigger and better response than Waar, but the reality of things in this business is that one cannot predict anything. One can always end up with the most expensive “Home Movie” ever made instead of the most successful one.”
He further adds, "I consider 021, Namaloom Afraad and every other movie coming out as my own projects. I want them to do exceedingly well, because if they succeed, I succeed with them, so my fingers are always crossed."
Responding to what makes Yalgaar different, Rana says, “This is not just another action “war” film, it’s more about the life and times of the people involved in a horrible situation, and it’s not preachy at all. I have been extremely careful this time – both as a director and as a writer – to make sure that the story drives the action and not the other way around.”
Rana also hopes to change the image of Pakistan that is portrayed in films.
"All of us know what the world thinks of us, anyone who has traveled abroad knows this first hand. I want to show the world a resilient and wonderful country, a country, which chooses hope over fear. Cinema is the only medium which can bring about change, you pay money to go and sit in a dark room, undisturbed, ready to listen to whatever I have to say. So, I choose the words I use in that period of time very carefully.”
The Shaan factor
|Hassan Rana and Shaan|
Rana gives great credit to his team that consists of actors from diverse working backgrounds, and he is particularly proud of Shaan.
“There are stars, but Shaan is the sun; he lends his light to other stars for them to shine brighter."
“I cannot imagine making any film without his involvement, whether it’s behind the camera or in front of it. He is my friend, a brother; most importantly he is my intellectual partner, who pushes me to be better. He brings so much to the project that I cannot really quantify it. I have casted him in Yalghaar, for he embodies every facet of the character plus, he has already done an amazing amount of weapons and tactics training during Waar, which added to how he fitted the character like a glove. For me, working with him is pure joy. We trust each other implicitly.”
|Left to right – Bilal Ashraf, Sana Bucha, Shaan Shahid, Uzma Khan and Armeena Khan. – Publicity photo|
“I am so fortunate to have Shaan, Humayun, Adnan Siddiqui and Asher Azeem Gill (who previously ruled our hearts with the TV serial, Dhuan), in the film. They collectively represent the best talent we have in this country, and boy, have they made us proud!”
Rana promises that the cast members of Yalghaar will make the fans fall in love with them all over again.
“Humanyun has just amazed me with the way he embodied the character and made it his own, and above all, these guys have an attitude of gold, which is a dream come true for any director and producer. If you are making a film in Pakistan and you don’t have these guys on board, then believe me you are missing out."
On Sana and Ayesha
|Yalgaar team at film's shooting. – Photo courtesy galaxylollywood.wordpress.com|
The film also stars former TV news anchor Sana Bucha and actor/singer Ayesha Omar.
“Sana, we all know as an anchor par excellence, but the girl can act. She brings the screen to life, she stunned all of us with her sheer presence and acting ability; she came, she saw and she conquered... Ayesha probably has the toughest job at hand – she has an image and is a household name. The role she is doing is very anti-her, but she stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park from day one.”
|Humayun Saeed and Ayesha Omer on Yalgaar’s set. – Photo courtesy galaxylollywood.wordpress.com|
Rana also shares an anecdote about one of the debutantes, Aleeze Nasser.
Trained at the NYFA for acting, Aleeze astonished the team by actually dropping her heart rate at will for a scene where she was hooked to a heart monitor.
“We thought of that scene as a special effects scene because we had to show her heart rate dropping rapidly, but guess what, she actually dropped her heart rate dramatically at will, which was astonishing to watch,” shares Rana.
"If Shaan, Humanyun and Adnan are the pioneers of the new Pakistani cinema, then for me Bilal Ashraf, Umair Jaswal, Ahmed Taha Ghani, Gohar Rasheed, and Naeem Haq are brilliant torch bearers. These guys are definitely the brightest possible prospects of the new Pakistani cinema right now,” says Rana
"Everyone involved in this industry has to work cleverly and in collaboration with each other. If we do, only then I can see our industry being right up there with the best of them, Inshallah."