"The time is of digital films now — we are talking about making films which have global relevance."
Newcomer to Lollywood, director Shahzad Ghufoor’s The System centres on how the common man is effected by corruption within society. Set in a town in Lahore, the film depicts the lives of a middle class family affected by the legal system.
The director’s brother, Shehraz stars as the protagonist. The premise of this movie is that ‘one man make can make a difference’.
Shehraz plays the hero who fights against a corrupt legal system which has negative impacts on society. His character holds the belief that you can either give the legal system your all or nothing and he attempts to change this.
Co-starring veteran actor, Nadeem Baig, the film has no shortage of talent. Keen newcomer, Kashaf Ali plays the female lead. The rival of the protagonist is corrupt police officer played by Shafqat Cheema:
“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,” Cheema explains.
Hailing from Norway, director Shahzad, has enjoyed a western upbringing and it is unusual to see him debuting with a heavily Pakistani-orientated film:
“My family migrated from Pakistan when I was only six months old but I belong to Pakistan and will always remain a Proud Pakistani. By making a film on the social issues of my country, I have tried to show my love for my motherland.”
In the South Asian movie industry, it is Bollywood movies that dominate the Box Office. Until now, Pakistan has been struggling to revive its once lively film industry:
“Our country’s film industry was on its way down. Last year when I visited, I came across a script which I liked and I thought why wait until times improve. We should start now,” Shahzad explains.
“Yes. Bollywood movies can divert attention from our movies. We don’t have many screens so we have to share the space with Bollywood movies. I think we cannot compete with Bollywood movies at the moment because they have hefty budgets.”
Some of the scenes shot in the movie were filmed in Norway, a pleasant change in Pakistani movies. It seems like a positive step for this industry, which is seeing film makers attempting to broaden their horizons when it comes to the future of cinema.
The movie also is filmed with digital effects, in a clear attempt to keep up with today’s era of special effects so that Pakistani audiences can enjoy the digital experience.
Actor Cheema feels: “The time is of digital films now — we are talking about making films which have global relevance. The time for small films is over. It’s now time for new talent to be given space. I think people will like Shehraz as a hero.”
Interestingly director Shahzad’s father, Ghufoor Butt is funding the movie. A true family affair, producer Ghufoor notably refused to accept funding from anywhere else, and has shouldered the expenses himself:
“Last year, we saw the success of a film Waar. This film is made in the same pattern, same technology and will be of the same calibre.”
Additionally, Ghufoor also expressed some guilt upon the music being very similar to Bollywood’s style. He fears that critics and audiences might label this movie as a Bollywood rip off but his son thinks otherwise:
“We aren’t trying to compete with other films; at this stage we just need more high quality films. It was great working with Shahzad because he has a passion for Pakistani film industry and cinema,” Shehraz explains.
The director of this movie’s soundtrack is Shailesh Suvarna. Many of the songs are composed by Indian artists. Shahzad explains: “We are doing something unique, because we have hired a lot of the technical team from India.”
Four songs on the soundtrack will be produced in India, and will be directed by Shalesh Suwarma, with poetry from Bollywood’s lyricist Irfan Siddiqui. The tracks will include several leading singers such as Javed Ali, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Komal Rizvi, Palak Muchal, Mohit Pathak. Two of the film’s song videos will be shot in Norway.
Bollywood lyricist Mohit Pathak wrote the melodious song ‘Aa Re Aa’ which is sung by Komal Rizvi and Indian singer Javed Ali: “I recorded Aa Re Aa in Mumbai at Salaish’s studio and working with Javed Ali is always fun. I fell in love with the song right from the start. It’s catchy, sensual and right up my alley,” says singer Komal Rizvi.
The System only has four songs which are distinguished from each other. One includes the energetic dance number called ‘Naughty Saiyyan’ which is sung by Supriya Ramalingam and Mohit Pathak. ‘Lutt Gaya’ sung by Krishna Beura is another pleasant romantic song. Indian songwriters Irfan Siddiqui and Mohit Pathak had written the lyrics for all songs in this movie.
Zorraiz Lashari, the president of the Film Cinema Owners Association feels that this movie has the potential to be a box office hit.
With a lot of hype surrounding the film, The System will be screened across 59 cinemas in Pakistan. It is the first biggest release in Pakistan for 2014 from May 30. The film is also set to release in Norway on June 13.