The first local film of the year 2019, Gumm, released yesterday, and while the reviews and opening numbers are still pouring in, our eyes are fixated somewhere else related to the film.
Yesterday, when the movie was still a couple of shows old and the first reactions had just started coming in, the actor of the film, Shamoon Abbasi took to social media and burst out at the makers of Gumm and the industry at large.
He called the makers “narcissistic egoists” and accused them of using his name and craft to shine, only to end up ruining his hard work. Furthermore, he said it wasn’t just about one film and hinted at the industry’s injustice to him.
We were shocked by the actor’s post and naturally gave him a call for details. In a series of shocking revelations, Shamoon remained unabashed and brought to the table many issues we never saw coming.
We present everything unedited and in the words of Shamoon himself, so brace yourselves as a lot of this would be jaw-dropping for you.
Gumm: A Rip-Off of Wrecked
The entire ordeal started when the makers of Gumm narrated me the script. I wasn’t convinced about it as I felt it was a complete replica of a Hollywood film Wrecked, featuring Adrien Brody.
But since they went like “no no, it’s only a sequence that might give you such impression, otherwise, the rest of the story is entirely ours” and had come through a major reference, I said yes. They even availed a major discount due to that reference.
But I remained unsatisfied even on sets as I could see they were shooting exactly the same Hollywood film. I told them to change the narrative and tried to instill some sense in them as a big brother so that it doesn’t look the same on screen, but they were quite unprofessional about it.
The Unprofessionalism of Ammar and Kanza (Directors)
They responded to me with a cold attitude as they felt very confident about whatever they were doing. Due to my objections to their process, their behavior turned very unethical towards me on sets and they started boycotting me. I would especially like to mention here that Kanza, one of the directors, is a very arrogant lady.
Being an experienced actor and director, I expressed my discomfort to Ammar’s father, Shakeel Anjum (Chairman, Press Club Islamabad) who had invested in the film and noticed my discomfort. He eventually gave me a nepotistic reply to cooperate with them.
They shot the entire film on 14mm Wide-angle lens (The copycats, I guess were obsessed with Hollywood film; The Revenant). In the digital age, it’s important that a director is well versed with the technological aspects of filmmaking. I even spoke to Sami Khan about it, but as actors, we are professionals and so we did our best to complete the film as per the contract.
But I knew from the beginning that it would be a major flop. Post-shooting, I met its editor who was pissed off since the entire film was shot on the single lens and was clueless about what to do. Adding more to my horror, the trailer was literally a copy paste of Wrecked’s.
My suspicion and disgust over their foul play grew when I started hearing the news that they are receiving awards internationally. How is it possible that being such a rip-off, the international film jurors would be awarding the film without any incentive?
More interestingly, these awards were being given away to Sami Khan, Shameen Khan, and the screenplay of the film, while I was being entirely ignored due to the grudge they were carrying from the sets. I don’t have anything against both. In fact, I respect Sami as an actor and especially the hard work he puts in in his projects. But Shameen is a newcomer and has just started off her career. How many credible projects she has at her portfolio?
Similarly, Sami Khan did a film after 14 years, many wouldn’t even be aware of his last work on big screen.
They promoted the film at various platforms including HUM TV and Talat Hussain and Ruaf Klasra shows, etc. They gave various interviews as If they had won an Oscar. Not for a second these narcissist people thought about the consequences of when I address these issues and people come to know about the entire fake process.
Biased marketing campaign
Moreover, I was sidelined from the film’s marketing campaigns as well. By then I wasn’t on talking terms with them and coordinated through a middle man on WhatsApp. In spite of all this behavior, I pushed the envelope and promoted the film. I was worried that I have got Durj and other big films lined up next and their recklessness will ruin it all for me. But I wasn’t able to understand their strategy as they would upload a poster on social media, and it would have five likes to it in four days.
PTV and AAJ TV became media partners, and they requested shout-outs from famous celebrities like Faisal Qureshi, Fahad Mustafa, and Ahsan Khan. Around 98% of the shout-outs congratulated Shameen Khan, Sami Khan, Aammar Lasani and Kanza Zia, whereas I was completely ignored.
I was highly disappointed with the industry for such partial behavior. I kept my calm on all this; I was monitoring the public reactions and pre-release tickets that they were offering at half the rate on ‘bookitnow.com’.
As per the early shows at Nueplex Cinema (Rashid Minhas Road) yesterday, the occupancy was around 5 people in a show. At Capri Cinema, tickets were sold at 1/4th of the actual price. The reviews aren’t any favorable either.
I don’t want to support Ammar and Kanza as filmmakers in Pakistan. They should be ashamed of themselves by deteriorating my name and career. In the entire process, my effort and endurance all went in vain. I am worried as I have four films lined up this year and this would eventually affect my image. Why should I be adding flops to my credit by tolerating such filmmakers?
Declaration of War Against Industry
I really felt disappointed on account of the industry. I have ignored many things in the past but now the limits have crossed and therefore I have decided to expose not only Ammar and Kanza, but all the black sheep of the industry. I will expose all those who damaged my career in the last five years through a live video. Anyone who wishes to challenge me is open to respond.
I will expose this mafia starting off with Jami Mehmood and O21, Sahir Lohdi and Raasta, Jamshed Jan Muhammad and Sawal 700 Crore Dollar Ka, Iqbal Kashmiri and his film and then this one. I will expose all.
Shaan and Jami sidelined me in O21. I requested them to save the film from sinking; I stood by these people and worked for them with a discounted fee as they were not in a position to cast a megastar like Fawad Khan or Ali Zafar. But they [Shaan and Jami] played a big game with me in O21 and significantly messed with my part.
I am a true patriot and work only for Pakistan. I had offers from India to work with Vishal Bhardwaj, Priyanka Chopra, and Ram Gopal Verma in the past which I rejected as I wanted to work for my industry. I am sick and tired of being treated like an object; it’s time to declare war.
From now onwards, I will be working only in films under my own production house. The industry doesn’t deserve a devoted actor like me. It’s been ten years since I am fighting with such mafia, I am getting work by the grace of Allah, otherwise, these insecure people have stopped casting me in dramas since most of these production houses are owned by actors. They are insecure that I will grab more limelight even if cast as a villain.
We are a developing industry, unlike Bollywood that has films releasing in bulk and where it doesn’t matter if a few of them flop. At this point in my career, I have realized that we as a country are lagging behind due to extensive leg pulling. In fact, Ahsan Rahim made a statement last year where he said that the industry wouldn’t survive long due to unprofessional attitude of filmmakers towards the industry.