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The System (2014) - Teaser 1

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Waar’s music took two years to make

Amir Munawar talks about working with a perfectionist, says musical score works like a character in a movie. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Amir Munawar entered the world of entertainment with Ali Azmat’s band Jupiters. He has composed music for pop artists like Hadiqa Kiyani and has also emerged as a strong music composer in Lollywood during the early ‘90s. He composed tracks alongside music maestros such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Robin Ghosh before he vanished from the scene.
Following a long hiatus in his music career, he is set to make the perfect comeback with the much-awaited movie of the year, Waar. He has provided his musical expertise to the action-thriller’s musical score (which took two years) and sound effects (which took seven months) and required orchestra instruments to be commissioned from abroad.
Film music is used to enhance [the script]. It works like a character in a movie,” says Munawar. “Music is always there — it goes out and comes in whenever it’s required. [Through music] you are not seen, but you’re heard.” In Waar, the sound effects and musical score will not be aligned with orthodox sound techniques and dramatic thuds, such as thunder and hysterical drumming, to illustrate climatic scenes.
The film’s director Bilal Lashari, who has won awards in the music category at the Lux Style Awards as well as the MTV Pakistan Music Video Awards, knows his music and has a clear vision of what he expects from Munawar. “Working with Bilal is not an easy task. It’s like committing suicide because he is never satisfied,” Munawar explains. “He will not sleep for two days and stay in the studio if he is working on a single shot. I hope you don’t have to work for him, ever,” he jokes.
“Unlike Bilal, most directors and producers just think that music should be there and that’s all,” he continues, adding that in this project, appropriate sound effects were imperative as they were required in almost every scene. “People in Pakistan don’t realise that music is very important and after watching Waar, they will understand how it plays a huge role,” he adds.
There has been a spate of movie releases in the past few years, and this highlights the resurgence of the film industry, he says. “It’s a great sign that art is coming back to Pakistan,” he smiles. “All of a sudden, the film industry has started to pick up; people from Karachi, Lahore and other place have started making movies.”
Waar is an action-thriller, so undoubtedly the action scenes need to be up-to-the-mark. Hasil Qureshi, who has been in the sound engineering industry for almost 14 years, was brought aboard to help the team. “We put in a lot of effort in making sure these details come out, and we are expecting that the audience will see that this is going to supercede the standards set by our neighbouring countries,” says Qureshi, adding that a film’s sound represents 30% of the movie in entirety, and it is what ultimately separates a great film from an average film.
“We had a learning curve, but we knew we had to do it,” he continues. “It’s definitely a step up and I think it’s commendable that we found a producer [Hassan Waqar Rana] and director who were brave enough to focus on these details.” For the audience, he feels it will be about being a part of the movie as compared to just watching it.
The movie, which is set for release this fall, has a star-studded cast which includes Shaan, Shamoon Abbasi, Meesha Shafi, Ayesha Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Ali Azmat, along with others.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2013.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Film-maker hopes to change Lollywood clichés with The System

With BolKhuda Kay Liye and the recent Josh, our audience has seen an array of films on the injustice, corruption and moral conundrums that prevail in our society. These storylines have struck a chord with movie buffs as well as ordinary peopleas we can all relate to these issues on some level. In a similar vein, Norway-based Shehzad Ghafoor hopes to bring action-thriller The System — a movie that portrays how corruption affects the common man. The film’s shooting commenced about a week ago.
“A lot of films have been made in Lahore, so we are hoping to give these spaces different treatment,” says director Ghafoor, explaining how a scene was shot on top of the famed Panorama parking plaza on Mall Road along with other locations in order to provide a different viewpoint of the city. The System will be Ghafoor’s debut in feature films.
The first scene of the movie illustrates the film’s lead actor Shiraz Ghafoor (director’s brother) on the roof of the plaza, conducting a meet-up with the city’s mafia bosses. The huddle has been arranged by a corrupt senior police official played by Shafqat Cheema. “This location is unexposed and from the top of the plaza, you are able to get some top-shots — you get a feeling that you’re sitting on top of Lahore,” Ghafoor explains.
The System is all about changing the norms and clichés of the film industry — it’s what Lollywood stalwarts say will change the stigma around the dying business. The film gained attention as veteran director-cinematographer Syed Faisal Bukhari signed on as director of photography. Two songs have already been filmed in Norway and the team hopes to bring on set the expertise of Bollywood technicians.
Apart from Shiraz and Cheema, the cast also includes Nadeem Baig, Kashaf Ali (female lead) and a relatively less known actor Raees Patan. The latter has been a part of around 15 films but with the slight resurgence in the film industry, he admits his work has doubled. “It’s a nice change,” says Patan, who has normally been associated with regional films. “I think it’s the first time we have had the chance to work with the best technology and different storylines and ideas.”
“The time is of digital films now — we are talking about making films which have global relevance,” says Cheema, who has also been a part of  films like BolChambaili and Main Hoon Shahid Afridi amongst other upcoming projects. “The time for small films is over. It’s now time for new talent to be given space. I think people will like Shiraz as a hero.”
Speaking about his role in the film, Cheema says the film allows him to explore a different type of character — one that is both negative and positive at the same time. “One who can leave his own spirit and get into a character that has been thought out for him — that is the sign of a good artist,” he explains.  “I am playing the role of a Station House Officer [SHO] who has a strong hold on the whole system. And through this control, he changes the system.”
Like his previous performances, Cheema feels the audience will appreciate the kind of role he is playing in The System, too.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2013.