Projected as an Eid-ul-Azha release in a star-studded press conference earlier this year, Ho Mann Jahan will now make it to cinemas by the end of November, at the earliest. Producer/Director Asim Raza explains his reasons…
Why has the release of Ho Mann Jahan been postponed?
Asim Raza:Jawani Phir Nahi Aani is releasing on Eid-ul-Azha and it’s a big Pakistani film that we don’t want to go head to head with. We’d happily go up against any Indian film but I feel there needs to be harmony within the Pakistani film industry. We’ll wait for Moharram to pass by peacefully and decide upon an ideal date, which will be November 27 or December 4. We saw what happened with Bin Roye and Wrong Number over Eid-ul-Fitr and then with Moor and Shah on 14th August weekend. The film industry is growing right now and has limited screens; now is not the time to compete amongst one another.
We are looking forward to the film but hope there won’t be a display of corporate branding in the narrative. You’re originally an ad filmmaker too (like Asad ul Haq). What do you say about peddling brands in films?
AR: Since the Pakistan film industry has recently begun to find its feet again, in a day and age where our counterparts have already managed to create a successful business model around film making, we as producers are still in the process of getting enough trust from investors to put money into films that justify the caliber to which films, with comparatively higher production values, can be made. Keeping that in mind, sponsors, for now, are a very important element in the financial make-up of a film.
Having said that, it is then the responsibility of both the filmmakers and sponsors to ensure that the partnering brands are reflected in a tasteful manner and that is what we have tried to achieve in Ho Mann Jahan as well.
Do you plan to release the soundtrack sooner, given it does have some incredible names like Atif Aslam, Zaibunissa Bangash, Mai Dhai band, Asrar, Zoheb Hasan, Tina Sani and Farid Ayaz (amongst others) on it?
AR: The soundtrack of a film is a great way of generating an interest in the film building to the run up before release. We too will leverage our songs in a fashion that audience will build recall and association with our songs before they come to watch our film in theatres. So the film songs will be released before the film in time to generate a good buzz for the film.
Out of all the recent Pakistani releases, which movie have you enjoyed most and why?
AR: The regained faith in the Pakistani film industry is a very heartwarming experience for all filmmakers including myself, and at this point drawing comparisons would become an apples and oranges situation. All the recent films that have released are of different genres and all have done well in their own capacities.
I feel that the for now the key is to have more people come to the foray of film making to rebuild an industry that has been ignored for too long.
There is a divide between our current pool of films and what a successful feature film should be. What do you think that bridge is and how will be we cross it?
AR: Again it is too early to say, especially because I see everyone putting in their best effort behind whatever film is being made.
Leave alone Pakistan, not even anywhere else in the world has there been identified a sure shot success formula for a film, yes there are genres that get popular for a while but then people want to see something different, and that is why we are pleasantly surprised every so often when an offbeat film does well.
The next couple of years will give us a very clear indication of what our viewers’ palette is and what a successful film is.