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    Wednesday, 30 November 2011

    Seedlings: Taking root

    This year has proved to be a good year for Pakistani cinema; from Bol to Bhai Log, viewers had the chance to experience different genres. A number of other films such as Rafina, Waar and Kaptaan are underway and one film that has a lot of expectation attached to it is Seedlings. The film is an initiative of the makers of Kolachi; a sci-fi film that shows Karachi’s state after an apocalypse-like disaster hits the city.

    “Our focus is on Seedlings these days, but Kolachi is also underdevelopment,” state Summer Nicks and Meher Jaffri , who are the co-producers of the film along with Craig Peter Jones. “Kolachi will hopefully enter the pre-production phase in early 2012.”

    The team works under the banner of Bodhicitta Film Works and has been associated with many small-scale to medium-scale ventures.

    Seedlings may come as a surprise to many, because unlike the team’s previous project Kolachi, the film is an everyday human interest story told in a unique way. Seedlings is an Urdu film (its Urdu title yet to be confirmed) starring Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza and Gohar Rasheed in the lead roles and has Hira Tareen, Mehreen Rafi and Tara Mahmood in supporting roles. It has been directed by Mansoor Mujahid and shot by Faraz Iqbal, the same young duo who was behind the promotion video of Kolachi.

    “The story is a about a couple and the rush of emotions they experience when tragedy strikes,” says Nicks, who has also written the film. “The thing that I most liked about the film is that it’s not about political corruption, terrorism, socio-economic constraints or any other tragedy that we read in the paper and see on television every day,” says Mujahid. “To be precise, Seedlings  is very real.”

    The young film-maker has high hopes from his first feature-length directorial. “The challenge was to present a cliched topic in a different manner,” says Mujahid who is ready to handle the criticism which Seedlings may face. “There will be people who like it and there will be those who dislike it, but everyone would agree that it is a different film.”

    On the other hand, Jaffri, who is the co-producer of the project, has bigger issues to tackle, one of which is the distribution of the film in Pakistan and abroad. She is confident about the quality of Seedlings, but is still skeptical about the distribution of the film because of the depreciating economic conditions. “If everything goes according to the plan then it will definitely screen in cinemas in India and in Europe. The films is good and the success of films like Bol show that Pakistanis abroad are very supportive of Pakistani films,” says an optimistic Jaffri.

    Seedlings also features 21-year-old musician Usman Riaz, who has written the score of the film. Having Riaz on board makes Seedlings a project to look forward to by both cinema and music enthusiasts.
    Even though Nicks, Jaffri and Mujahid have different responsibilities in the company, the entire creative team as a whole, was full of praise for the acting capability, and more importantly, the professional attitude of Aamina Sheikh and Mohib Mirza.

    “They were more passionate than us and always acted like actors and not celebrities,” says the Seedlings team. “When we were planning to turn the rough cuts into a telefilm, they were the ones who pushed us to go for the big screen. All in all, we are spellbound by the acting and the professionalism of the couple.”

    Bodhicitta Works has just wrapped up production and have entered into the post-production stage. The team is looking for local media partnerships, sponsorships and distribution channel within Pakistan. So far, Australian company, Onion Films has shown interest in buying the rights of distribution internationally.

    Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2011.

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