So what has Dr. Hassan Waqas Rana (Doc) established in Pakistan film industry so far? Big budgets, hype, helicopters and quality deliverance. That’s right, Waar proved it when it became Pakistan’s biggest film ever in terms of everything it had in the offering, and now it’s Doc’s upcoming projects showing the same magic. Sold already! No need to make sense about them to distributors, exhibitors and to a good extent, the audience. They already have carved their particular space.
Yalgaar – alternatively known as Delta.Echo.Foxtrot in some circles- is Hassan Waqas Rana’s next genie. Why do I call it a genie? Well, because a film with a budget of over fifty crores, one fifty written characters, Shaan, Humayun Saeed, Ayub Khoso and Adnan Siddiqui in prominent screen space, and new film identities like Ayesha Omer, Bilal Ashraf, Sana Bucha, Umair Jaswal and Armeena Khan all there together to leave you wonderstruck, simply cannot be under-served with a title of inferior meaning.
But this genie is not under any subservience to star value, flash, budget or anything that may give it a mere materialistic portrayal. No, this one instead has a true story to tell. A story of war, an operation, a battle fought in the Peochar Valley of Swat; which I found out in a little self-research, took place in the Month of May in the turbulent year of 2009 in Pakistan army’s successful offensive against militants in Swat. The operation as per The News Sunday (TNS)’s piece on the film today, lasted for seventy-six intense hours.
Away from a defined popular genre of the film, Bilal Ashraf, who besides his acting job is also spearheading the film’s Visual Affects department, maintained that Yalgaar explores the young, passionate lives of those wheeling the events of such significance.
Talking further on the same aspect in the TNS interview, Bilal said, “It is not just another war film, it explores what happens in the lives of those involved, including the militants and how all of them are affected at a personal level because of the ongoing operation. The film is very comprehensive in the sense that it touches upon the human element apart from bringing the whole war-based action to life on screen. Living in the cities we are exposed to the side effects that ripple all the way here and we may openly discuss it but we really don’t know what war is and what it does to people.”
Bilal, further talking about the whopping fifty-crore budget of the film said, “There are not only vast numbers of choppers and guns and ammunition being used but a huge man-made cave system was also built in Karachi, replicating that of North Waziristan. It looked so real that it managed to fool nature – bats started living in it out of nowhere…Apart from logistics, there are over 150 written characters in the film, played by an extensive cast. Hence, one can only imagine the magnitude of costs involved.”
What! Did he say a huge ‘man-made cave?’ Wow! Now that takes the film to a whole new level in terms of set settings for Pakistani films.
While as per the revelations of Bilal, there are no particular leads in the film, but Shaan and Adnan Siddiqui play two vital roles in the film, of army Colonel and Lt. Colonel respectively. Shaan commenting on his role in the film said, “Yalghaar was a complicated decision as an actor because the writer Dr Hassan wrote it with a different feel.” How was it like to prepare for this role? “This time around I wanted the character to look much sharper, as he is currently serving, so that adds a whole new dimension to the details, I have always loved shopping for new characters as you get to pick the DNA, the traits and create a new being for screen that will live in it for years to come. These are characters that come from you but aren’t you.”
Well there maybe no particular lead, but the negative shade in Yalgaar will be provided by our very own Humayun Saeed, that of an antagonist militant. Not only that, everything has been detailed out so much that Humayun actually had to spend time with real life captured/reformed militants to learn their mannerisms in order to perfect his role. Additionally, many other actors were also arranged to meet the actual life inspirations of their characters in the film and train accordingly.
In another interesting revelation about the film, Sana Bucha – the journalist as we know her, portrays her real life character in the film, of a journalist, this time probably a ‘war reporter’. “I am playing a reporter which is something I have already done so it’s not really acting at my end, and that is why I chose to do the role. It is very close to who I am for real. Audiences will see Sana Bucha in it and not a different person altogether,” Bucha said talking specifically about her role.
The film has also been shot in the Swat region where all the action took place in real life a few years back, the crew also visited the operation-affected area in the same regard.
It is expected that Yalgaar will hit cinemas somewhere at the end of this year. We hope it does just that and stays on its defined course, so we soon get to enjoy this mammoth Hassan Waqas Rana is creating.