You have watched in bewilderment as he melted women’s hearts with his charm and wit on live television, and even on the radio, but it is now time to witness Sahir Lodhi’s flamboyance on the silver screen. The talk show host has recently completed scripting his first feature film, titled Mausam, and will be officially launching it by month’s end.
Lodhi has always had a penchant for acting and was offered a number of opportunities outside of Lahore, but his business commitments restricted him take up any project. “I always wanted to do films. In fact, television was more or less an accident. Nevertheless it was a blessing; it came at a time when I became a trendsetter and everybody then followed. Eventually, I got tired of all of that and wanted to do something bigger,” says Lodhi.
Lodhi has since then taken a break from the small screen and focused completely on his film. “If you do a show for five to six months regularly, who would want to come and watch you in cinemas? So, I wanted to take this break,” says Lodhi, who spends most of his time at the Lahore Hockey Stadium, where he works as the youth ambassador and media organiser for the Punjab Youth Festival.
Lodhi is not only acting in the project, but also producing it, under his and partner Irfan Rafique’s banner called Red Ocean. Rafique, who has worked closely with the delightful host, says that Lodhi has a great sense of creativity and is business-savvy. Hence, film-making seems logical for him to pursue and the originality of this script was apt.
“We thought the story is very powerful and he had been trying to work on the story for two to three years. When we discussed the idea with potential sponsors, even their response was positive because they found the subject to be very interesting and original,” says Rafique. “That’s why, when we formed the company, we decided to put everything else on the backburner and work on the feature film as our first major production.”
With Mausam, Lodhi hopes to add to the diversity of film-making, now prevalent in Pakistani cinema. The film which is about a father-son relationship will be directed by veteran screenwriter and director Pervaiz Kaleem. The project also includes new talents like fresh art directors from the National College of Arts in Lahore and an undisclosed London-trained film-maker who has the experience of working with Indian directors.
Lodhi emphasises he is serious about quality film-making and therefore, he is maintained a balance of experienced and fresh people on his production team. “This isn’t a run-of-the-mill, typical Lollywood or even Bollywood project. Instead its aesthetics can be related to Hollywood films because while it is a romantic film, the emotional concept behind it is very different from usual,” asserts Lodhi.
It is apparent that with this film, Lodhi has been able to follow his life-long dream of entering commercial cinema. “People don’t know this but even when I was doing television, I was trying really hard to do films, but it just never happened. Now I feel it’s the right time, and hopefully it will pay off,” he says.
The team is currently looking for a female lead, which will likely be from India. However, there have been rumours that they have signed British model Puja Panchkoty. The film will go on the floors in the coming few months, while the official press announcement will be made by the end of this month.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2014.