The year 2019 has suddenly gotten more exciting in terms of Pakistani film releases. A couple of discrete pictures, released yesterday (Sunday) by Sarmad Khoosat, got us intrigued. Sarmad has spoken about working on two new projects in several interviews, and these pictures – the first one titled ‘Bismillah’ – indicated that he has started working on his first.
Naturally, I gave him a call for details.
“It’s just a very heartfelt story,” Sarmad said, as if anything he does isn’t from the heart. “It’s a story very close to my heart, about our little universe called Pakistan.”
This artsy film – and I’m calling it artsy because I don’t expect anything coming from Sarmad Khoosat being anything less that artistic – is being shot in Lahore, in which the director is trying to portray Lahore “as a character”. While most films characterize Lahore in terms of humour and colour, Sarmad’s film will portray the city through winter, when misty mornings and foggy evenings cast the city in a completely new light.
Although Sarmad has acted and directed in the critically acclaimed and brave Manto, this untitled film will be the first production under Khoosat Films. It will feature Arif Hasan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleiman and Ali Kureishi in the lead and is being shot in Punjabi.
“It’s only in Punjabi because Punjabi would be authentic for a film shot in Lahore,” Sarmad says. “People think of Punjab as humourous and colourful but I’m a native of Lahore and I see it as something accessible and real. I understand it. I wouldn’t do a Pushto film for the same reason.”
For this film Sarmad has reconnected with people he has worked with on previous projects. He’s brought Khizer Idrees onboard as DOP. Khizer was DOP on Manto, and later also worked on Verna and has also worked on upcoming play Aangan. Sarmad has written the story while Nirmal Bano, an NCA graduate, has developed the screenplay. The film is being produced by his sister Kanwal Khoosat, who also worked with Sarmad on the fantastic 24-hour live performance No Time To Sleep. You can’t have a film without music and thinking out of the box, as always, Sarmad has brought on board a band from Islamabad called Sakin, who are just one track old but extremely promising.