The future of films & filmmaking

August 2, 2020

Ace director Nabeel Qureshi talks about the release of Quaid e Azam Zindabad, putting Fatman’s shoot on hold and working on an upcoming web series on Lyari gang wars.

Director-producer duo Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza with Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa, who will be headlining Quaid e Azam Zindabad.

The year 2020 has been a very tough one for almost everyone, be it individuals, organizations or businesses across the globe. The entertainment industry is no exception, with shoots coming to a halt while movie releases and other events have been pushed to next year. Film industries all over the world are facing huge losses and speaking of Pakistan, in particular, the situation is even worse. At a time when recovering from the loss the industry faced in 2019 was a challenge, the onset of Covid-19 brought a bigger challenge for local cinema!

Amidst filmmakers whose contribution to the industry with quality films brought it this far post revival, Nabeel Qureshi had announced two films – Quaid e Azam Zindabad and Fatman – for release this year. However, given the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmaker is not sure if he would be able to push a cinematic release for even one of the two.

“Since the last four months, we have been busy with post production of Quaid e Azam as the shoot was already completed,” director Nabeel Qureshi shared in this interview with Instep, adding that they are currently busy with the dubbing and the film is almost complete.

Nabeel refrained from revealing much about the film that stars Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa in lead roles, given the uncertainty around its release. However, he asserted that a digital release for this particular film is not an option.

“Restaurants are opening in mid-August and I am hoping cinemas will reopen in a couple of months too,” he furthered. “We want to release Quaid e Azam Zindabad in cinemas because it is made for cinema and it is a big budget film so just releasing it on a digital platform will not make sense. It has to be a theatrical release.”

As far as Ahmed Ali Butt-starrer Fatman is concerned, the shoot is on hold for now and Nabeel is not sure when they will be able to resume filming. Meanwhile, the filmmaking duo that comprises producer Fizza Ali Meerza in addition to Nabeel, has been working on a few scripts including an upcoming web series. The series will be based on Lyari gang wars.

“We have been working on the web series for long but it picked up pace during the lockdown as we got more time on our hands,” Nabeel shared, informing that it is in the pre-production stage presently. “We are planning to start shooting it soon while we will also finalize casting in the coming days. We are quite excited about it; given that it is for web, one has a lot of liberty in terms of showing something and saying something which we otherwise can’t.”

One wonders if the upcoming web series was supposed to be a film had Covid-19 not hit us. When asked about it, Nabeel observed that they have been thinking to create a web series for long – particularly on Lyari. “The kind of story it is, it requires a lot of time so we have been doing our research and a lot of other planning,” he explained, adding, “Lyari has a lot to say so I don’t think we would have ever wanted to convey that through a film. There is a lot to tell and we would be better able to present it in the form of a web series.”

Besides, Nabeel Qureshi recently collaborated with Shani Arshad for visuals of the latter’s music video ‘Ki Jana’ featuring Sonya Hussyn and Mohsin Abbas Haider. It was shot in Balochistan last year after which Nabeel got busy with his film; he resumed post production of the music video and finished it during the lockdown. “It was a lot of fun doing the music video with Shani however, I don’t plan to do more music videos in the future unless there is something intriguing. I have done a few in the past but now there are a lot of things on my plate.”

Reflecting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on various sectors, Nabeel shared on a parting note, “It is not just cinema that has been affected due to Covid-19; many businesses have suffered and I think it will take some good years to recover fully. The virus is not going away anytime soon unless we have a vaccine. Only then, everything will be able to get back to normal,” he concluded.

The future of films & filmmaking