Pakistani cinema is currently soaring through the skies with blockbusters followed by blockbusters. But do crowded cinemas and an eager audience prove the worth of the content that goes up on the silver screens? Some might call it a hit formula: A girl plus a boy is equal to instant success. Addressing just that, and the lack of versatility, Fawad Khan introduces ‘The Next Big Story.’
The much sought-after Pakistani heartthrob was joined by some of the major players in the entertainment industry to bridge the gap between young writers and those creators already on a higher pedestal, away from the reach of revolutionary stories brewing in the gifted hands of those tucked away from the spotlight.
“The most overlooked aspect in the film and television industry, is the script,” tells Fawad Khan to a packed auditorium on Wednesday, adding that a great story is the flesh and bones behind a great film.
The Humsafar actor was joined by Mahira Khan, Vasay Chaudhry, Ahmed Ali Butt, Humayun Saeed, Asim Raza and Navid Shahzad who went into discourse about how a script is evaluated.
“The first thing I ask myself is that do I want to be a part of this? Do I want this character? Do I want to be part of this story? As the years have gone by, I have started to understand stories. What I have also realized is that a script alone, what is on paper can never translate without the captain of the ship,” says Mahira Khan.
Navid Shahzad, academic and writer, believes the script alone isn’t the most important driving force: “I believe that you actually create a film on the editing table. That’s where all the shooting comes in and that is where the vision of the director tells it. Sometimes some of your finest scenes they are just not there because they are not valid as far as the narrative is concerned.”
Countering the argument, Fawad states: “Editing is a different interpretation to what the writer is presenting. When the scene goes on the editing table, it is the editor or the director’s interpretation which may be of a different quality.”
Butt, on the other hand, had an entirely dissimilar and upfront take on how he evaluates a script or a role, that left the audience in hysterics: “Money.”
Humayun Saeed, who is presently soaring through the skies with the success of his ongoing serial Mere Pass Tum Ho keeps his focus solely on keeping the audience hooked.
On the importance of script and dialogue and the very significant correlation it shares with the way it’s channeled, Mahira Khan shared an example of a contentious dialogue from the Humayun Saeed and Ayeza Khan-starrer Mere Pass Tum Ho: “Tum ghar say nikal kay bazaar main beth gai. When you read it you think, ‘what is this dialogue, what is he trying to say?’ But it is up to the director and the actor, but then the director and the writer at that point collaborate to decide how will this man say it?”
“The more experienced writer always has a particular actor in mind,” says Shahzad. Vasay chipped in here and shared his experience with the audience. Pointing towards Mahira he said: “I have never worked with her. I worked on a drama years ago, Annie Ki Aaigi Baraat, I had offered the role of Annie to Mahira but she refused. After that when we were making Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, we had approached Mahira Khan but she refused. And then for Punjab Nahi Jaungi, I had thought of Mahira Khan again but she refused again. And then even after for Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2, she refused again. I had thought of an actor four times and she said no four times.”
Asim begged to differ as he stressed on tractability and the skill of young writers to produce content that is just as astonishing with new faces. “India is a prime example of this, young writers are coming out with new actors and are becoming quite successful,” he said.
The Pakistani cinema is undeniably more welcoming to timeworn tales of love, leaving little to no room for any untried or diverse concepts to breed and surge.
Addressing this dilemma, Chaudhry said: “This is because it is for now supposedly a hit formula. Four years back I was working somewhere and I used to receive a lot of scripts from youngsters. Every script that I got was filled with cuss words and expletives. I was very confused but then I realized that all those kids were wanting to recreate Gangs of Wasseypur. It was the influence of that hit thing at that time.”
“So this is a trend. It happens everywhere in the world,” he adds. “Now the idea is that you stick to what you think is right. This is a big risk and that is what brings the thrill. The unexpected thing is the biggest thrill.”
Fawad chimes in saying: “You have to decide the purpose of why you are writing the story. Are you just doing it for the money, or the popularity or the passion of it?”
On the contrary, Asim believes: “Love stories are being made not just because it’s a hit thing but because they come from the heart. Regardless of how many times a love story is made, if it’s coming from your heart it will reach others too.”
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