After creating history with his film ‘Zinda Bhaag’, starring Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah in the lead, Pakistani film producer Mazhar Zaidi is keen to release the Oscar-nominated film in India.
The film is Pakistan’s first entry to the Oscars after a five-decade absence from the prestigious film awards. “The dates have not been finalised but the distributors are very excited. Indians would be seeing the real Pakistan like what is seen on the news,” said Zaidi.
Directed and written by his wife Meenu Gaur, an Indian filmmaker and Farjad Nabi, the film features Shah and a number of Indian technical experts who worked behind the scenes.
The editor of the film is Shan Mohammad, cinematographer Satya Rai Nagpaul and sound designer Vipin Bhatti, all from Mumbai.
“The whole idea of sharing expertise between India and Pakistan is excellent. The crew could have been from anywhere but with Indians, it was different. We are historically the same and understand each other’s language and culture. There was no problem working together,” Zaidi told PTI here.
The film has already bagged four awards in three categories at the Mosaic MISAFF festival held in August this year in Toronto.
A comedy thriller about three young men trying to escape the reality of their everyday lives through unconventional methods, this film shows the journey an average Pakistani’s life and their desire to be free.
“I feel excited. It (nomination) is good for Pakistani film industry. The spotlight will be back on Pakistani films,” Zaidi said.
While Pakistan had once a flourishing film industry, it has taken a beating but is slowly coming back. Bollywood films continue to remain a craze.
Asked if both Bollywood and the Pakistani film industry can co-exist here in Pakistan, he said, “Of course they can. Indian films are very popular and very commercial. The new Pakistani films have a different feel.”
Asked who his favourite Indian filmmakers were, he said there were many including Anurag Kashyap. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Chair of Pakistan’s Academy Awards selection committee, had said, “Pakistan will finally have a film in contention this year at the Academy Awards and I feel proud that today we are taking a small step towards recognizing our own filmmakers.
“‘Zinda Bhaag’ is proof of the fact that sheer will, passion and talent can achieve incredible feats, and I would like to congratulate the team behind the film on a compelling and cinematic film.”