Khuda Kay Liye in 2007, Waar in 2013, and now on July 14, 2017; with Project Ghazi – country’s first superhero film releasing in cinemas countrywide, Pakistan film industry shifts its gear the third time, towards progress, in this new millennium.
Led by the extremely talented and rising Shehryar Munawar and Syra Shehroz, alongside Humayun Saeed, Talat Hussain, Adnan Jaffar, and Amir Qureshi of course, and directed by Nadir Shah, a first timer at feature filmmaking, Project Ghazi definitely carries with itself a fresh feel.
To explore further about exactly that, and lot more, we sat down with Shehryar and Syra and had some interesting discussion. Although Humayun was supposed to be part of this discussion too, but unfortunately couldn’t make it for some other commitments. Anyway, here is how it went:
GL: Pakistan making its super-hero debut, a project of its own kind. How much of a challenge it was to prepare for such a project, such a role?
Syra: It was challenging because I think the way we shot it was very different, and the role too was a lot different from what I had done in past. For a lot of things we only had our imagination, that were going to be there and all. For me, it was pretty challenging. Probably one of the most challenging roles that I’ve done and what’s different about it? You can see in the movie!
Sheheryar: Same! It was a completely different genre that I had always only seen but never thought of doing it myself and these guys, the producer and director and my amazing cast helped me achieve that because we all needed to believe in each other and there was a constant support system! I think, a lot of times when we were shooting and things got tough in terms of the shoot, the conversations with each other really helped. A lot of research and hard work had gone into it but I think it was all of us together that pulled it off.
GL: Superheroes for us till now obviously mean all the Marvel and DC ones. Who has been your favorite most among those? Any inspiration taken from any of those personal favorites?
Syra: Wonder Woman, but I did look at Black Widow as well because Wonder Woman is in a different league altogether.
Sheheryar: For me it was Jason Bourne. I don’t know why people don’t call him a superhero. I think he is a superhero!
To Shehryar: You were part of the 42 day challenge sometime back, and I am a personal witness of it. Was it all in the preparation of this film? If yes, how much did it help?
Sheheryar: Umm, how do you know that? (laughs)
‘I was there with you,’ I reply.
Sheheryar : Oh wow (laughs), then you probably know how much I slacked! Hahaha, I can’t even lie about that now! I think that was post shooting. We were like back benchers. To be honest, Nusrat’s been a really old friend as well, and Masha Allah, she’s doing really well and if you want to stay fit, you need to keep trying different things to stop you from getting bored and I think the 42 Day Challenge is also something to quickly get you into the mood to start working out. I always use that as a starting point. I go for 10-15 days and then I’ll go back to my own routine.
To Syra: How was working on the sets of Project Ghazi different from what you usually do?
Syra: Well, the fact that the genre was very different, it required us to execute everything very differently. Like half the time, things we were looking at weren’t exactly there and we were just given marks to look at and that’s where the green screen came in. A lot of times we would be improvising on set, like we read the scenes ourselves and we keep changing it around till we all (Nadir and the actors) felt like “Ok, this fits now”. If Nadir felt that something isn’t gelling well, then we would have to change the tone, the emotion and all of that, so I think that was very different.
To Shehryar: How was the atmosphere on sets for you, and how much of an excitement did the fact that Humayun and Syra would be part of the film, add?
Sheheryar: It was a lot of fun, working with Syra and Humayun and Aamir, everyone really. I had a great time on set and it was very different and exciting.
To Syra: How crazy was it working with an almost all boys cast, how did you carve out your own space at sets and among them? Did you ever feel intimidated by the likes of Humayun and Talat Hussain’s presence on sets, or was it a smooth sail for you?
Syra: (laughs) I never felt intimidated, even though I thought I would be intimidated by Talat Sir, but since I was the only girl, I got special treatment on set and everyone was very sweet and I had fun working with everyone. They helped me and it was a good experience.
- If offered to play a Hollywood superhero character, which one would you like to play?
Sheheryar: Jason Bourne!
Syra: Wonder Woman.
- That Pakistani actress who would rock the role of Wonder Woman?
Sheheryar: Syra of course
- That Pakistani actor who would rock as next Batman.
Sheheryar and Syra: Humayun Saeed!! Hands down, he’d be perfect!
- Ten years down the lane, Your predictions for the Project Ghazi franchise.
Sheheryar and Syra: Insha Allah there might be a sequel. Let’s hope!
GL: Your plans post- Project Ghazi, professional and personal ones.
Syra: I’m going to Malta for a friend’s destination wedding so that’s one vacation for now.
On this, Sheheryar comments, ‘oh wow Malta! Malta mein maltay khana. (Laughs)’
Shehryar: Ah, I’ve been really busy between projects, so I’m really looking forward to a 10-12 day vacation. Could be 6-7 days depending on the time I get off. I’m going to London for my brother’s graduation this month then coming back before the premiere.
That’s all people. Hope you enjoyed.