Kamaal Khan made quite a name for himself since winning the Lux Style Award for the best music video director for his “Desert Journey” video. He has also worked for MTV and with Rohail Hyatt on Coke Studio, besides directing a few advertisements.
Kamal is clearly buzzed about his upcoming film “Laal Kabootar,” which will hit the screens on March 22. We got in touch with Kamaal to learn more about him and his upcoming project which according to him is an edge of the seat crime-thriller, something which the audiences would not want to miss and is proud of the fantastic performances of his cast.
How did you come up with the idea for Laal Kabootar?
Actually, the producers Hania and Kamil Cheema approached me with the idea. The current idea has nothing to do with that one, but we started with that. In my initial discussions with the producers, I mentioned that I wanted to make a genre film, and they were pretty excited too as my pitch to them was to do something different. I believe in trying different things, and they were great and very supportive.
Eventually we started working with writers, which further modified the idea. Getting Ali Abbas (the writer) on board further changed the idea quite a bit. It went through quite a few transformations before ending in its current shape.
Why did you choose an unconventional project to start with? Was it not a risk, say compared to directing a commercial project?
Definitely, I would like Laal Kabootar to do well so I can do more work. I don’t have the intention or desire to become a super big director, but I would want to do it to be successful enough to be considered by the next investor. Making a commercial film is no easy task, a lot of effort goes in. If you look at my style of film making from the advertisements and music videos I have shot, you will notice that it is rather unique. I wanted to use my strengths which might not be the best suited to a commercial project. On whether the project is a risk, yes it is a big risk, but my entire life has been filled with risky decisions. However, I would definitely like to continue making films irrespective of the commercial outcome.
The trailer was the first red band trailer, which is for mature audiences and is being edited for television promotions. Given this, how would you release the film in theaters?
I think we have foul language in the film at 5 or 6 places, which is not forced. Our writer stayed true to the characters, and the characters shown in the film use this kind of language. We might have to beep or mute (foul language) at certain points but the audience would be able to make out. Eventually I would like the audience to get the emotions, which I am sure they would.
Laal Kabootar releases with 2 other films. How do you feel about the competition?
It’s not ideal, and neither film has selected the day with the intent to compete. I hope all the 3 films do well, the advantage will be that people will venture towards the cinemas (due to variety of content). Films might benefit from overflow business, too. This is not an ideal situation, and I am leaving it up to God and am hopeful for the best. And with the current restrictions on Bollywood, this might be a good thing as all the films will get screen space till Ramadan.
Why do you think people should come out to watch it?
I would market it as an edge of the seat film, a crime thriller unlike anything else you have seen in Pakistan. The audience should come for fantastic performances from Ahmed Ali Akbar, Mansha Pasha, Rashid Farooqi and a whole number of NAPA students we have in the film. The actors have worked really hard, the music is fantastic, it is done by Taha Malik. You will see a new breed of cinema in Pakistan, and will be thrilled and rewarded with fantastic performances.
You have completely changed Ahmad Ali Akbar’s look for the movie. How did you decide to cast him?
I love to cast actors in non-typical roles. An actor like John Travolta was completely transformed by Pulp Fiction, I wanted to do something like that. I saw Ahmed Ali in theater, and I was extremely impressed with him and his talent. When I auditioned him, I was convinced that only he can perform this role. So we have taken him out of the chocolate boy roles and put him in a darker avatar. I hope the audience feel the same way, and I have to add that in my opinion he is the best actor in Pakistan.
What’s next after Laal Kabootar?
I am working on a few scripts, and have a quite a few lined up as I have been working on scripts since I got back from college. InShaAllah as soon as I get done with this I will start planning for the next.
We wish Kamaal and Laal Kabootar all the best and look forward to watching the film in the theater!