The director of a movie is like a captain of the ship — the fate of a movie largely lies in the hands of this person. With his vision, he can craft a masterpiece out of a good script. When it comes to commercial cinema, making a profitable film is a dream for any debut director. The most recent to join the list is Sohail Javed. He enjoys a diversified portfolio of creating numerous music videos and TV commercials. Javed spoke to Galaxy Lollywood about his debut film Sorry, why it took him so long to make his cinematic debut, his partnership with Faysal Qureshi, Sonya Hussain’s sudden exit from the production and much more.
Cinema is always the ultimate medium for a director. What took you so long in making your cinematic debut?
I’ve been waiting to tell the kind of story I had envisioned. Keeping in view the present business scenario of cinema; making a film in Pakistan is quite difficult. Especially when you are not signed up with a brand or it’s your debut film or you want to make something on your own terms; it’s a very long, painful and lonely road.
Faysal Qureshi is returning to films after 18 years with your first film. It couldn’t get better than that, could it?
I had written three scripts based on different genres i.e. action, comedy, and romance. I met Faysal and he was instantly hooked with this one. I had already spent two years writing it, so it was natural that Sorry had to be done first. I and Faysal go back a long way and have worked on some interesting projects. I really enjoy working with him; he doesn’t stress out the director in fact becomes a partner and that is an interesting trait.
Correct me if I am wrong. Is Sorry a remake or inspired by any other film?
Sorry is not a remake nor inspired by any other film. It’s inspired by real-life and real events.
Is Sorry a commercial potboiler with complete ‘baara masalay’? Tell us about the plot?
Yes! It’s a commercial film, a love story with seven songs. The movie belongs to the family-oriented love story genre we had back in the day. It’s about four people in love with each other; going through their own journeys, facing their painful problems and finding a resolved closure to the issue.
A good film is soulless without a good script. How important is it to tell a good story?
The story and script are everything; having said that, a great story can be badly written or executed. I believe it’s a collaborative effort; you need a good story backed up by a great cast followed by a great DOP. Usually, people don’t focus on having a good DOP on board. I believe DOP is the director’s wife who makes it easier to paint a particular emotion or the story. They aren’t two individuals; the director and DOP are one unit.
Were Amnah Sheikh and Zahid Ahmed the first choices?
Amnah and Zahid were not the first choices. As far as the cast is concerned, you may expect a few more surprises in the months to come.
Was Tich Button the actual reason behind Sonya Hussain’s exit?
Sonya is a good person and a good friend too. She was busy with Tich Button and I was demanding a certain type of procedure since it’s my first film. In the time she had, and the time I required, it was becoming a bit difficult to carry on. Therefore we shook hands, hugged each other and wished best of luck. I have high hopes for Tich Button. With no offense to press and media, this issue was blown out of proportion. I read four different statements of Sonya within a span of just two days. I want to give my final statement through Galaxy Lollywood’s platform ‘Sonya and I decided that we will not be able to do Sorry the way I wanted. She respected that, I respected her timeline and that’s about it’.
How did Faryal Mehmood come on board?
I had worked with Faryal earlier on a project and we didn’t get along. In fact, we had a fight on social media, but later she apologized. However, during the first spell of Sorry, I fell in love with her professionally. She was so organized, prepared and available for a particular sequence. Everything she did on screen was value addition. I am really looking forward to working with her in the final spell. She’s a sweet and dedicated person. Her energy is infectious, it’s all positive and she just wants to work.
Tell us about the music album?
I am working with seven music producers; we’ve got seven songs; out of which I have written five. Abbas Ali Khan, Ahmed Jahanzeb and Shani Arshad are part of the project. The music palette is designed commercially that offers a shaadi number, a bhangra track, emotional, romantic and tragic songs.
What’s the shooting update?
We will begin filming for the second spell early next year; it’s the biggest chunk of the film and will be shot outside Pakistan. By then the film will be ninety percent complete.
How important are box office numbers for you?
In today’s scenario when cinema is surviving on whatever we produce; box office numbers are everything. Faysal and I approached it with a business point of view yet creatively, making sure that the audience would get to see a good story, dialogues, and music. Box office numbers are important, but you must tell a story as well.
When do you plan to release it? What’s your take on films simultaneously releasing on Eid?
We are aiming for a release next year. We aren’t sure about the Eid release, it will be Faysal’s (the lead producer) and the distributor’s call. Being the director I want to stay away from the festive release period.
Tell us about your endeavors for 2020.
You can’t really get on with other things if you are in the middle of a film; it becomes very difficult as the focus may shift and affect the process of storytelling. However, I am writing two projects and working on some other stuff in the pipeline. I am also making something interesting for the digital platform.