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Rafay Rashdi: A new generation of director

 

I have learnt a lot from criticism and the idea is to make yourself better because there is nothing you can call “perfect”.

Tell us how you started your career?

I have had a very diverse & versatile career, started with IT consultancy and during that time I also jumped into politics, but I soon realized my love for film making which has always been in my blood and I decided to pursue it. I launched my own company which is called “Influence” and we started making short films, I also produced American documentaries from my hometown Larkana. Soon after, I decided to make a feature film and that is how “Thora Jee Le” came into being which was released earlier this year and that’s where my career stands right now.

 

So what came to your mind while launching this movie because you had no prior mainstream cinema experience and you directly jumped head first with a movie in the field?

Pakistani cinema is in its revival phase and we were coming up with loads of new directors so I felt it was the right time to make a mark. Loads of people in the industry do not have any experience, they don’t come from the same background even. Similarly, I did not have any experience of film making but the learnings from my short films; editing techniques, the art of writing, etc. all came in handy. Even though I don’t have a degree in film making, all I have is the passion.

To make a film and to write you need to know the craft. I did make it a point to learned aesthetics, for example, my film had tory boarding and I am not even sure if film makers in Pakistan do story boarding right now. 

 

Where did you study from?

I did my bachelors from Ryerson University in IT Management and then I went to pursue my masters from City University London in Business System Analysis & Design. However,  film making was my personal passion and that’s exactly what my company does.

 

So you haven’t been a part of media or anything related to the field?

The only advantage I had was that my mum had always been a part of the media industry so I have grown up looking to be a part of studios and television. Not many people know but I have done music production as well.

Film

 

I made a long journey to get where I am today by coming from IT consultancy to politics and then finally to film,

Who is your favorite director?

I am inspired by Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg, and many other international directors. In Pakistan, I feel Shoaib Mansoor’s films are dark and people like this. He portrays the hidden reality of Pakistani culture as you can see in “Bol” and “Khuda Ke Liye”.

 

What are the things you feel are still lacking in our film industry?

The only thing we lack is quality sound production. Hence, sound is something which we should go abroad for. We have so many professionals coming our way to help us out and I think it’s good for the struggling industry.

 

Which local film would you like to watch?

I watched “Actor In Law”, “Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai”, “Lahore se agay”, I watch all local films, and I still want to see “Yalghaar” and I’m looking forward to watching “Punjab Nahi Jaungi” as well.

 

 

What made you launch the seven new faces in your film “Thora Jee Le”?

I believe that film stars are of other caliber and TV stars are completely different, loads of people are sick and tired of watching the television actors in films and I wanted to create my own league. They were very young and my film did not get exposure because nobody had really seen them before, but now Bilal is doing wonders, Ramsha Khan is doing wonders. They have succeeded already, so I contributed in some way or the other way to the fraternity and I am proud of them.

 

What did making a film teach you about movies?

Making a film actually teaches you everything about movies. My next movie is going to be natural, it really deals with social issues which our society is going through, I also want to show the beauty of our country and would travel up north if possible.

 

Tell us about your new projects that are launching or going on air now?

I have partnered with “Moomal Entertainment” and we have many ongoing projects such as “Gustakh Ishq”, we also have “Ik Pal” playing right now and we have quite some projects in the pipeline. These projects will not only be catering to Hum TV but also to TVOne Global and Urdu1. I believe that television is a different ball game and to be a film director and drama director are two different things. I am also working on a few short films right now which include “Adla Badly”, “Roti Kapda Shaitaan” and “Shahvaar” out of which Shahvaar would also be produced by me.

 

Do you think a TV commercial director can also be a film director?

In the past we have seen that films like “Dekh Magar Pyaar Se” and “Ho Mann Jahan” are not what on expects from cinema.  You can’t transform a television commercial into a film.

 

 

You have been doing so much on your own, so who is your biggest pillar of support in all of this?

I did it myself, because not a single writer out there supported me with my story. I believe there is a lot of negativity out there in our media industry. No one gave me any genuine feedback – sometimes you have to do everything on your own.

 

 

Will you continue your participation in politics?

Yes, I will because I have experience in politics, so I plan to continue it. If you ever get to travel to rural areas, you feel it from within your heart that there is so much that you can do.

 

What are your upcoming plans, what kind of work do you plan to do?

Right now I am focusing on television production, within one month I will launch four new projects. I’m also working on the script of my second film, I did have plans to launch my film this year, but looking at the current situation of the Pakistani industry, I have taken a little step back. You may not get to know what’s happening, but us film makers need to observe the market carefully, probably by the end of 2018 my film will be ready for release.

 

What do you think about social media ?

Social media is the most powerful platform right now. If one does not realize its potential then they will be left behind. You will be seeing loads of stuff on social media from my end as I’m also planning something for a web-series, you see Netflix has become so popular that it makes me wonder why can’t Pakistan come up with such content, so something is cooking along those lines as well.

 

Do you accept criticism?

Yes, I do! I accept it with all my heart, “Thora Jee Le” received the harshest comments and feedback ever, the theme of the movie was drug addiction and women empowerment but nobody focused on its social message. I believe that criticism and critics teach you so much, they actually want you to learn and this was my first film out of nowhere, to make my second film I can’t repeat the same mistakes. I have learnt a lot from this criticism and the idea is to make yourself better because there is nothing you can call “perfect”. There are many film makers that have done their movies after gaining so much experience, I believe I am nothing in front of them.

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