Shehzad Rafique who last time brought us ‘Salute’ (2016), the biopic of the martyr Aitzaz Hassan, is now gearing up for ‘Heer Ranjha’. The epic spiritual folk tale by Waris Shah has influenced culture and music for hundreds of years and has become a symbol of not just romance, but spiritual love of God.
No cast announcements yet, but the film is being produced by Khalil Rana who previously produced Shahzad’s ‘Salakhain’ and ‘Mohabbatan Sachiyan’.
Shehzad Rafique revealed his plans for the adaptation of the folk tale in a Facebook post. We at Pakistani Cinema contacted the filmmaker to know if it’s a remake. “It’s not a remake. This will be my take to Waris Shah’s Heer Ranjha. I am eager for people to see Waris Shah’s Punjab through my eyes”, says Shehzad.
Surely so. The folk tale has been adapted by so many people into plays and films that calling this one a remake would just be silly. It’s a beloved folk story that has lived in people’s hearts and minds for generations.
Of the adaptations that are worth mentioning, there is the Firdous and Ejaz starrer Heer Ranjha (1970). The film was a huge hit at the box office and became a golden jubilee.
In India, a film called ‘Heer Ranjha’ was also released in 1970, starring Raaj Kumar and Priya Raajvansh. It was a hit at the box office, but isn’t considered very influential in the history of Bollywood. However, the soundtrack, which includes Mohammad Rafi’s “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” is remembered.
‘Heer Ranjha’ matches Shehzad Rafique’s signature of directing stories about faraway places and love that goes beyond the physical. Other filmmakers should follow his direction and pick stories which are rooted in Pakistani history and culture.
The stories of Moriro Shah, Sassi Punnu, Mai Kolachi, Shahzada Saiful Mulook, Sohni Mahewal, etc. are all right there for someone to adapt them faithfully and appeal to the huge numbers of people in rural Pakistan who identify with these stories.
Nearly 10 years ago, Reham Khan said she wanted to make a film on Sachal Sarmast, but that never materialized. Earlier this year, Fayyaz Adrees also announced plans to direct a film about Rumi.
We hope that the project undergoes completion quickly and brings people to the cinemas in hordes.