Mazhar Zaidi, Farjad Nabi and Meenu Gaur with the rest of the crew members.

Zinda Bhaag (Escape Alive) revolves around the youth and their urge to find short cuts to life abroad. Farjad Nabi, Meenu Gaur and Mazhar Zaidi are the people behind the latest venture which is in its post-production phase. Dawn.com talks to the trio to know more about activities of Zinda Bhaag.

Give us a little background of the film, how did the idea come about?

Zinda Bhaag (Escape Alive) is a story about 'escaping' from the realities of everyday survival in Pakistan ...  into love, drugs, money, power and much more...

We started work on the script of Zinda Bhaag in April 2011 and the film went into production in March 2012. Having said that the story of the film has evolved over the last couple of years

What should an average movie fan expect from Zinda Bhaag?

The story is set in Lahore and about the everyday lives of young people in the city and therefore we believe that people will relate to it and enjoy the film immensely. The story of the film is accesible, entertaining and set against themes that are relevant and significant to people living in Pakistan and South Asia.

How did you go about “casting”/finding people for the film?

We conducted auditions in which about 200 young people turned up. Most of the cast was chosen from these auditions. While they had no previous acting experience, we conducted rehearsals and workshops with them for two months. One week long acting workshop was also conducted by Naseeruddin Shah, who plays one of the central characters in the film.

Farjad Nabi and Meenu Gaur with other team members.

With a lot of young people coming up, telling stories and having a sense of direction, making films seems like the new “in” thing. How do you think it can be invested upon further to make it a better professional endeavor?

More state sponsored/subsidized film courses in universities. More scholarships for film students. The film courses in private colleges and universities are too expensive and exclusive to generate a genuine film making culture.

Do you think the new breed of filmmakers are recreating our long lost cinema or following Bollywood?

It is the other way around, the industry which is called ‘Bollywood’ has at its heart a style and form of filmmaking that is shared by the entire region of South Asia.

Filmmakers are influenced by many different sources – it could be Russian literature, Iranian cinema or Japanese theatre- the point is how they transform that inspiration into their own unique style of story telling.

When you look at the rough cuts of the film, how do you feel about the compilation process of it?

We have just entered the post-production phase. We are looking at the rushes nowadays and we like what we see.

What must a film have in order to captivate a mass audience?

Its difficult to delineate the elements of a good film as there are many but what is common to the films we have enjoyed as viewers is quite simply a well-told story which offers us a unique insight into the lives, events and circumstances of its characters.

What challenges does one have to face while filming?

Lack of human resources and technical infrastructure. Most filmmakers have to go abroad for post facilities which adds substantially to the overall cost of production.

How can the country invest further in this industry?

I think at the governmental or non-governmental level a state-of-the-art post facility, with digital intermediate, and colour grading facility will go a long way in encouraging filmmaking.

The writer is an Interactive Producer at Dawn.com

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