Pakistani cinema may be suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic – as are all industries – but filmmakers and actors are optimistically waiting for the panic to subside and to begin work again.
And in these worrisome times, one movie that is in the pipeline is ironically titled Ghabrana Nahi Hai. The movie will mark actor Zahid Ahmed’s cinematic debut and will feature him alongside Saba Qamar, Syed Jibran, Nayar Ejaz, Sohail Ahmed and Afzal Khan.
Hassan Zia will be co-producing the film with Jamil Baig of Nueplex Cinemas.
The movie is going to be a comedy, a genre that Zahid hasn’t dabbled with for a while now. His last project was Hum TV Network’s Ishq Zahenaseeb, a drama where he was particularly applauded for enacting a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder.
In another upcoming drama, he will be portraying a man struggling to earn a living. Ghabrana Nahi Hai’s lighthearted script will be in sharp contrast to these projects.
“I haven’t worked in a comedy for a while but I have a background in theatre and comedy just used to come naturally on stage,” recalls Zahid.
“I have also worked in comic TV plays but I have often felt that the comedy that is written today for TV is often not of the caliber that it used to be many years ago. For my cinematic debut, this movie made a lot of sense because the script is very well-written. It is a full-on entertainer which I think works well for what Pakistani audiences want to see – commercial comic scripts are generally doing better at the box office.”
It is interesting that despite successful TV careers and the fluctuating fortunes of local cinema, actors continue to gravitate towards the cinematic screen.
What lures Zahid particularly towards cinema?
“I used to love the free-flowing performance that is required in theatre, without retakes, connecting directly with the audience. On TV, this flow of movement gets somewhat restricted but cinema, I feel, allows more body language. The camera angles are more dynamic and you need to have good footwork. And Ghabrana Nahi Hai with its fast-paced action script will allow of a lot of free-flow.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Zahid will be starring opposite Saba Qamar. Both actors have worked on TV together in the past. “Ghabrana Nahi Hai is very well-written and there’s a lot of focus on the female protagonist, played by me,” describes Saba. “It’s snappy, fun and the jokes are all situational.”
The movie had only commenced with two days of shooting before production was halted due to the Corona virus pandemic. Filming will continue once the hazards due to the virus have subsided.