Adnan Siddiqui’s character in upcoming short film Jamun Ka Darakht is a ‘commentary on society’s complexities’
After a three-year acting hiatus, Adnan Siddiqui will be next seen in a short film, Jamun Ka Darakht, directed by Thora Jee Le’s Rafay Rashdi.
The movie is “an independent perspective of neutral subjugation of consensuality between a man and a woman,” according to the director.
Siddiqui told Images that he plays a character named Kareem, who is “a commentary on the intricacies and complexities of our society where all of us are wearing multiple masks so much so that it’s difficult to know what truly lies beneath.”
He added that it’s a reflection of the hypocritical world we are living in — “Society has become morally bankrupt and our value system is rapidly declining. No one blinks twice before making unreasonable demands, before acting morally corrupt. And also the fact is that society is unfair to those who don’t have deep pockets or connections. They are, unfortunately, exploited because of their lack of privilege.”
The actor was last seen in Yeh Dil Mera in 2020, after which he hosted reality show Tamasha and produced feature film Dum Mastam. Jamun Ka Darakht marks his return to the screen. The film has been penned by Raqeeb Se writer Bee Gul and produced by Rafay Rashdi Productions, Syed Murad Ali Presentations and Faisal Kapadia.
“As an artist and actor, I strongly believe that I have a social and moral responsibility to play characters that convey a message,” said Siddiqui. “I recognise that my work has the power to influence and inspire my audience, and that with this power comes a great responsibility to use it wisely. Some characters can serve as powerful vehicles for empathy, understanding, and education, allowing audiences to see the world from different perspectives and to reflect on their own beliefs and biases.”
The cast includes models Maha Tahirani and Fouzia Aman as well as actor Saman Ansari, along with Irfan Motiwala, Yogesh Karera, Ahad Touqeer, Churails’ Zara Usman and Syeda Ramesha Nawal. Director Rashdi revealed that Kapadia brought Siddiqui on board, while Ansari, Usman, Tahirani and Aman were chosen “based on the essence of the character requirements as per screenplay and profiling through auditions and screen tests.”
“Lengthy auditions were conducted at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) [through which] Yogeshwar Karera, Syeda Ramesha Nawal and Ahad Touqeer were casted. We are grateful to NAPA for their support to bring on supporting cast members,” he explained.
“Post-casting, we conducted daily rehearsals and script reading sessions in pre-production. By the time we commenced production cast members were in sync with their characters, dialogues and requirements,” Rashdi said.
“This issue [explored in the film] is relatable and rife in many of our industries not just one but we find it unworthy and uncomfortable to discuss. We also feel that by discussing these issues we are casting ourselves in a bad light but the road to recovery starts with the acknowledgement of an issue not the sweeping of it under the carpet of nationalism,” he explained.
The creators are aiming for an international release and the movie will not be screened in Pakistan. The Badshah Begum producer said, “There’s no harm in thinking globally. We must push the extra mile beyond our comfort zone and the limitations which restrict us. As an independent producer and director, it is critical to compete or at least try to internationally with the adequate space we have and pave the way for all essential members involved within our industry.”
We hope the short film will eventually be screened in Pakistan as it explores a topic that hasn’t been touched in the Pakistani entertainment industry yet.