After appearing as the hoarse-voiced father in Sadqay Tumhare, Rehan Sheikh will soon be known as the director behind the upcoming film Azad.
With its teaser out, the short clip shows a man and a woman meeting each other after three years and conversing about a contract as the sun sets behind their silhouettes. The film's tentative release is slated for February next year.
Speaking to Images about the film, Rehan says: "Azad is a lighthearted exploration of the idea of freedom of an individual— how one is not free of one's own past, let alone anything else. The genre is comedy-drama with a light satirical angle on media and is set in the world of radio. It's a small Independent film and somewhat offbeat."
Despite its indie nature, the film does boast a strong cast.
"The film stars Salman Shahid, Sanam Saaed, Sabreen Hisbani and myself. Plus there are two exciting young actors from Islamabad's theater scene, Ajlal Shah and Jawad Rana," revealed Rehan.
He added that there would also be guest appearances, which he wants to be a surprise.
Directing is not an alien concept for me: Rehan Sheikh
Rehan, who has been associated with the drama industry since the good old PTV days, may be famous as an actor only, but it turns out that he ran a small theatre group in his London days: "Although I have been known as an actor, I actually started off by running a small theater group in London where we used to write, direct and perform our own stuff. Later I directed for theatre as a drama student in UK and also when I taught at NAPA Karachi."
"I have directed one film Mohabat Ki Pehli Kahani which premiered at Kara Film Festival in 2003 and then ran on Geo TV. Even then I was asked to direct more stuff, but I got busy with acting so did not pursue it," he added.
Giving details about the film's script, Rehan said that his theatre experience gave him a lot of exposure:
"I have always written since childhood, stories, poetry, humor and also plays (for our theatre group) so storytelling comes somewhat naturally to me. Being an actor in 25-30 serials and countless TV films does help as you understand how a set is run or should be run. Years of working in theater in England helped in understanding actors, performances, script development, the rehearsal process and the casting process," he explained.
"So directing was not an alien concept to me. The challenge was the more technical aspects of filmmaking — which one had to learn pretty quickly and luckily we had a very good professional team who all contributed massively in key roles," he assured.
Lauding his executive and co-producer Hasan Naeem, Rehan said that the technical aspects of the film were in good hands as Naeem himself is a film buff.
After Dekh Magar Pyar Se and Jalaibee, Abbas Ali Khan seems to be on a roll as he will also be looking after the background score of Azad. He has also lent his vocals for two of the tracks.
"Music has been done by Taimoor Mirza and there are songs by vocalists like Arieb Azhar, Shumaila Hussain and Masooma. Music is integral part of the film and a lot of thought, discussion and work went into it," Rehan emphasised.