Fahim Burney and his muse Sohai Ali Abro are teaming up yet again -- however, this time around, for a film.
Fahim Burney made his way to the cinema long before the rebirth of local films. With the release of Pyaar Hi Pyaar Mein in 2003, Burney introduced us to fresh faces, while Meera (on top of her game back then) also featured in an item song.
While the film received mostly mixed reviews, Burney blamed distributors for not having been able to break-even, despite the film running in theaters for over three months.
While Fahim wasn’t able to strike a chord with the cinema-going public, he has truly been successful in establishing himself as an acclaimed television director. His on and off-screen camaraderie with the ever-so peppy Sohai Ali Abro is powerful and the two have collaborated on multiple hit projects together, from Tanhai and Khoya Khoya Chand to Tumhari Natasha and the forthcoming Aadhi Gawai.
Taking it a notch further, Sohai has signed onto Fahim’s second cinematic directorial titled Love, London, Sialkot.
“It’s a light-hearted film. I feel we don’t yet have stars that have enough cinematic pull, hence we can’t experiment with serious genres at this stage,” Burney says.
“For the time being at least, we need entertaining films that appeal to a maximum number of people. I feel venturing into other subjects is not workable for now; people wouldn’t want to have the same stories on the big screens as the ones they watch at their homes. If one needs to create awareness or educate, television is the perfect medium for that.”
Produced under the banner of MD Productions, Love, London, Sialkot mainly focuses on a wedding that takes place in Sialkot. Pakistanis living in Britain fly in to attend the affair and have to deal with day-to-day household crises.
Sohai, who plays the bride’s sister in the film, will be seen as an ambitious Punjabi girl who aspires to achieve her dreams in a society that expects her to do otherwise.
The concept being Fahim’s own, scriptwriter Faiza Iftikhar has taken it forward in developing the conventional plot outline into an intriguing and promising script.
“I feel we’ve mastered the art of writing scripts for television, we’ve proved ourselves worldwide, but since we don't have many experienced screenplay writers for films, I wanted to work extensively on that very aspect and not rush into things,” he maintains. “I feel our industry needs new, educated and skilled writers.”
As far as direction goes, Fahim feels he’s learnt from his first cinematic outing and has decided to give cinema a shot once again only after having complete faith in what he’s signed up for.
“There were directorial flaws in my first film and that’s why it wasn’t able to leave a lasting impact,” he observes. “We have a lot of policies and limitations in Pakistan and we don’t get enough room to practice. However, I know I’ve always wanted to make films for as long as I can recall. In fact, even my serials are treated commercially and cinematically.”
Sohai, who made her silver screen debut with Wrong No. has since starred in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani and will soon begin shooting for Adnan Sarwar’s independent biopic that narrates the inspirational journey of Pakistan’s first female biker, Zenith Irfan, who made a solo journey across the northern region of Pakistan.
Love, London, Sialkot will be mainly be shot in Sialkot and London and is tentatively set to release next summer.