Filmmaker Kamal Khan has launched the trailer of his forthcoming film Laal Kabootar on Monday amidst much fanfare at Nueplex Cinema in Karachi. A certain kind of hype surrounded the movie since last year when its teaser was released which was lauded and appreciated by all and sundry.
Featuring Ahmed Ali Akbar, Mansha Pasha and Rashid Farooqi and Ali Kazmi, the film shows Karachi in its true essence while exploring the city like never before. Before the cast and crew opened the floor for a Q&A session at the launch, they touched upon the details of the film.
Director Kamal Khan, who claims to have worked on this project for a decade, said that he was told that he cannot make a film like this in Pakistan.
“I was told that I need to make commercials for at least 10 years, make a name for myself and then maybe I can make a commercial film.”
Owing to the fact that this is Kamal’s debut film, he was told time and again that a film like this can never be materialized. Thanking the producers of the film, Hania and Kamil Chima, he said, “literally they took the risk and provided me with the resources; together we all made it possible. It’s a big deal that we have reached this stage and the actors have been amazing.”
Hania Chima added that they are delighted to have given life to Kamal’s vision as the entire team has worked really hard for the film.
“Just now you [Kamal] said that a lot of people say that this cannot be done which reminds me of a very interesting line, ‘the fool didn’t know she couldn’t, so she did’. So, I guess we didn’t know that we could not do it and we thought ‘yeah, let’s do it’ and it happened. When we spoke to Kamal for the first time, we thought there’s magic here and we want to bring that magic out and we are getting the opportunity to do this together. I think it was just so much fun to spend these two years together, hitting our heads against the wall trying to figure out how to make a movie in Pakistan. But we managed,” Hania chimed in.
One interesting revelation was that the lead actors of the film auditioned for their characters, which is a rarity in Pakistani cinema. So, how was the process of auditioning for Mansha and Ahmed?
“I remember being on set when I spoke to Kamal for the first time and he told me that the film is gritty and it’s being shot in Karachi. At that point, I had seen one of his music videos and I thought immediately, ‘yaar, I want to work with this director, why haven’t I worked with him?’ Lo and behold, about a year later, I got a call and we did an audition and thankfully I got selected for the role,” Mansha remarked.
Having met Kamal a few years ago, Ahmed had a slightly different route that led up to his audition.
“I met Kamal about 3 or 4 years ago. I was talking to a friend and he walks in and my friend said that you have to work with him. He had seen me in theatre and wanted to work with me and after I watched his video, I told him that you have to audition me whenever you make a film,” Ahmed shared.
The writer of the film, Ali Abbas Naqvi, revealed that he was looking for an opportunity to materialize his vision and Laal Kabootar gave him the chance to do so. When asked about the inspiration behind the title of the film, the director said that although he has three metaphorical explanations for it, he does not want to give away the details and wants the audience to explore it as they watch the film.
The trailer encapsulates the grit, grim and depth that embroils the cosmopolitan city of Karachi. Ahmed who dons the character of Adeel is shown as a middle-class man with dreams that he wants to accomplish through any means. Mansha (as Alia) will be seeking redemption for something or perhaps someone she has lost. Exploring the city like never before, cinematographer Mo Azmi has beautifully captured the aesthetic and fast pace of the city, giving it that rustic feel which makes it relatable. The power-packed trailer puts forth a drama filled with lust, greed and revenge; all the traits that have represented megacities for the longest time.
Slated for a countrywide release on March 22, the trailer lives up to the hype and we sure hope the film will too.