Back in 2009, when the need for a ‘revival’ was deeply felt by industry veterans, Lollywood actor and director Shaan revealed that he will be working on a series of short rom-coms. However, despite much hype, the film Chup has been delayed for quite some time now like many others. The ambitious project, which will consist of three films scripted by screenwriter and film-maker Mashal Peerzada, has been ready for shooting for several months but hasn’t gone on floors due to a variety of reasons, including funding, script adjustments and Shaan’s busy schedule.
Chup, which will be produced and directed by Shaan himself, aims to give way to a different aesthetic of film-making. While they are all meant to be commercial films, they will be shorter in length than usual.
Previously, Shaan had said that it was necessary to cut films short and move beyond the traditional Lollywood style. These claims, however, seem to be in vain as little is known about when the film will finally commence shooting.
Mashal Peerzada, daughter of famed actor-director Salmaan Peerzada and a graduate of the New York Film Academy at Universal Studios, highlights that the film has faced a lot of phases with the script being re-written time and again.
Nevertheless, despite several delays, the film’s storyboard, script and some of the music, has already been composed. “We are looking at tight, short and slightly thought-provoking rom-coms,” says Peerzada.
“They are three independent films, which we hope will set a new aesthetic standard. These will be commercial films, but we are focusing on the 90-minute format.”
The series, that involves a story based on relationships, was scripted with Juggan Kazim as the lead artist. Peerzada says that the story will start with a fairy-tale like feel and will then move on to tackling some major grown-up issues.
“I can’t think of anyone else right now in the industry that can do the part – someone who has the charm, and yet is old enough for such as role,” she says.
“It’s not a teeny-boppy romance. It starts from something whimsical but then gets real and addresses grown-up problems.”
Peerzada emphasises that the delay was mostly because the film, though written with a small-budget in mind, required significant funds for marketing. Several companies were supposed to be funding the film and were even catered to with various product placements.
“There were quite large sections of the film, written to accommodate that type of branding and aesthetic. However, when that did not happen, we had to re-write the script which put us back a bit,” she claims.
“I think it is a shame that in a country, which is re-awakening with increasing interest in Pakistani cinema and a growing audience and market, there is still no one who has the vision to fund a project like this.”
While there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the fate of the film, Juggan confirms that the film will eventually be made, admitting that delays had taken place due to a variety of reasons.
She said that the film was ready to go on set and that she was hoping to start shooting as early as Fall. Regarding the story, Kazim adds, “This is not going to be a run-of-the-mill, issue-based film, rather it is going to be a commercial film with an artsy feel to it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2013.