Madaari 2022

Seraj-us-Salikin Says ‘Madaari’ Carries a Universal Message


‘Madaari’ was first announced back in 2020 by director Seraj us Salikin. You can read about our initial coverage here. The trailer showed a Karachi-centric premise and a tale of revenge. However, unlike other films about Karachi like ‘Laal Kabootar’, ‘Na Maloom Afraad’, or ‘Actor in Law’, this was to be much more concentrated, serious, sombre, and dark.

Then the pandemic happened, and like every other film, ‘Madaari’ was put on hold. The trailer has also been taken off the web. Only recently director Seraj us Salikin’s Instagram was updated with a new poster for the film. We reached out to him about the new developments.

Mr. Salikin maintains that though shooting was disrupted during the pandemic, they managed to reschedule soon enough. In fact, the gap between shoots gave him more time to rework the script.

During the pandemic, he, and his co-writer Ali Rizvi spent more time on the screenplay doing rewrites and making the script tighter. They managed to get in the changes they wanted and thus didn’t need to do re-shoots.

Madaari reminds one of films in the vein of noir, mystery, and macabre at first glance. Pakistani filmmakers have recently experimented with such subjects like Shamoon Abbasi with ‘Durj’ or Abu Aleeha’s upcoming ‘Javed Iqbal’. However, Mr. Salikin insists Madaari is different from any of those films and has a thematic argument which separates it from all others.

The setting of the film, Karachi in 2008, paints a picture of a time when Karachi was slowly descending into darkness. Target killings, shootings, and bomb blasts were slowly becoming the norm. However, the thematic argument he mentioned, is universal. Hence, even though only Karachiites may recognize the nuances and the subtext, the overall message of the film won’t be lost on anyone.

We couldn’t help but ask Mr. Salikin about that one shot in the original trailer which featured his protagonist dancing alongside a monkey. It reminded us of the verse by Iqbal: “Tamasha Dikha Kar Madaari Gaya” from Saqi Nama.

Is the scene hinting at Karachi being the “Madaari” for its citizens? Is the city ultimately a puppetmaster for the chaos the city has been defined by for so long? Mr. Salikin obviously won’t give that away. And so, it should be. The meaning of it all should hit us when we’re all transfixed by the magic of cinema.

A new trailer for the film will be released soon enough, with a concrete release date. Currently, Mr. Salikin is developing the best strategy to get the film to the largest audience possible.

Keep reading this space for more on ‘Madaari’ and other upcoming Pakistani films.

Written by Yousuf Mehmood


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