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    Saturday, 19 May 2012

    Tamanna is an interesting story with many twists - Steven Moore

    By Schayan Riaz

    There is, however small, a definite change happening in the Pakistani film industry. Young, dynamic filmmakers are now trying to leave a mark with their fresh ideas and concepts and there is a general sense of positivity and hope around; a sentiment which has been absent for the longest time now.

    One project which has been attracting attention on a global scale is feature film 'Tamanna'. Produced by Sarah Tareen, who is one of the first film graduates from Pakistan and now CEO of Concordia Productions, this is surely a project to look out for in the future for the simple reason that the people associated with it not only have talent, as can be seen by the early promos, but experience too. Director Steven Moore has specialised in image making for the last 30 years as a photojournalist, cinematographer and director; he clearly seems to be a knowledgeable man with a clear vision for 'Tamanna'.

    Q: Congratulations for Rahat Fateh Ali Khan winning the award for Best Music Talent at the London Asian Film Festival. Do pre-release accolades provide positive energy or do they mount pressure?
    A: A film is made up of the sum total of all the decisions and milestones along its life, which for any decent effort, will be measured in years not months. Historically, independent low, budget movies are much more reliant on the festival circuit as part of their route to existence. So, yes it's a positive milestone, relatively early in the process.

    Q: While not much is known yet about the plot, other than its principal star cast and main themes, 'Tamanna' gives off a very 'film noir' kind-of feel. What is the exact genre and how does that co-relate to the narrative of 'Tamanna'?
    A: It's an interesting story that has many twists, and we have spent a lot of time with other writers trying to twist it more. Also it is the kind of plot that can be made into a campy melodrama or made to be very creepy. We have practiced quite a bit of misdirection with the songs, video material released and cast changes and will continue with this to try to make it as interesting as possible. It would be a shame if due to marketing demands we have to give too much of the actual film away, like they do with so many others. I hate that 10-minute promo that has like 200 of the best shots from the movie, it's a shame they feel they have to do that.

    Q: Language is another evident theme in your film. How important is language as a medium, seeing that you're not a native speaker of Urdu and English is not the first language of Pakistan?
    A: It's not a film that relies on action, rather on near perfect dialogue well-acted. The function of dialogue is to flesh out both the character and the story. You first have to understand how the characters think. All the dialogues are carefully translated back and forth between English and Urdu. It just takes more time.

    Q: Having an academic background always helps. You have taught Film at Beacon House School System and SAFMA. How important is solid background knowledge in film for young Pakistanis trying break into the film industry?
    A: It's a huge topic, because it is difficult enough to answer that in any country. Just as many people do well with no 'formal' or academic training. Basically education is good, but it doesn't actually propel you in any film industry. It certainly isn't banking; you may as well be asking how does someone become an artist? The answer is - sell paintings! Getting yourself in the right position is always the first test. A person's drive gets them into the position to learn and then the skill picked up along the way determines how far you will go.

    Q: Does it bother you that you are first and foremost considered to be 'a British director' in Pakistan, or do people treat you like another director? Do you think people can see beyond the fact that you aren't 'from here' or are you treated differently regardless?
    A: It doesn't really matter because my work here is only with key players. In the end what people like you say about the film when it's released, in the papers, on the Internet and on TV, will decide if people want to see it or not.

    Q: In relation to that, how important is professionalism in Pakistan and how have your experiences been in that regard?
    A: I hate to generalize. It's too easy to play the blame game and I have made negative comments before, but in the end I love it. A system relies on every part of it working; it's difficult for everybody when you don't have electricity and other factors like the extreme weather. In the end, Pakistan is a unique place and has unique qualities and difficulties, but I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else.

    Q: Please tell us something about the films you like and films that have inspired you, specifically in terms of 'Tamanna'.
    A: It's the first time I've been asked this question. We looked at all Guru Dutt's movies, like 'Kaagaz Ke Phool' (1959), Deepa Mehta's 'Earth' (1998), Shehkhar Kapur's 'Masoom' (1983), Shyam Benegal's 'Zubeidaa' (2001) and Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se' (1998) for characters and dialogue, but I looked at 1001 Nights, the book, for its narrative form in trying to work in the frame story device. Personally I like a range of films but as you astutely noticed I am very keen on working the film noir genre in to almost anything!

    Q: What does the word 'Tamanna' mean to you? What is it that 'man' desires?
    A: Well generally and in the context of the film I think belonging is the key desire, belonging, or your place in the world through which you achieve a sense of peace.

    Article from : Daily Times


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