I wait for them in an office which is filled with colour and memorabilia. There is a wall dedicated to Quentin Tarantino, the famed director frowning down in a black and white image with his quotes written underneath: “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, “No, I went to films.’ and ‘I steal from every film ever made’. Both these quotes, as I discover, also ring true for Nabeel and Fizza.
I sit next to a table that is clustered with awards; the bald-headed Lux Style Awards statuettes nudging shoulders with the Hum Awards – reminders of the impressive lineup of hit movies the two have helmed together under the banner ‘Filmwala Entertainment’. The door is littered completely with post-it notes with characters and dialogues scrawled upon them – I am told that they were part of the process of the making of the trailer of ‘Load Wedding’, the duo’s upcoming movie, slotted for an Eid-ul-Adha release.
Nabeel and Fizza walk in a few moments later. They have been up all through the previous night, fine-tuning the post-production details of their movie. Load Wedding’s release is two odd weeks away and their schedule is breakneck.
Fahad Mustafa, who plays the male lead, is currently abroad promoting his other Eid release – Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 (JPNA2) – but he is going to be joining them the following day as they initiate a countrywide pre-release promotional tour.
“We are going to be going to all the major cities; the malls, the cinemas, the expos,” outlines Fizza. “It’s going to be followed up by three premieres in Lahore, Karachi and Dubai.”
With two other major local productions also vying for an Eid release, local cinemas are about to get very busy with red carpets and premieres. It is on this note that we start our interview…
Images: Does it make you worried that two other major movies are releasing at the same time as Load Wedding?
Fizza: We were mentally prepared that Humayun’s movie would be releasing at the same time as Load Wedding. This has happened in the past also and it’s something that we’ve gotten used to. Honestly, we actually enjoy the rivalry.
It’s unfortunate though that at the eleventh hour another major movie also set its sight on Eid-ul-Azha. Parwaaz Hai Junoon was originally meant to release some time ago on Eid-ul-Fitr. If the producers decided to postpone the release, they should have opted for a window that wasn’t already taken up by two other movies. Internationally, there are associations that exercise checks and balances over such last-minute changes. In Pakistan, though, there are no such measures.
Nabeel: Generally, there is just a two week span in which a movie earns as much as it can. Business is definitely going to get affected for all three movies. And then, for the rest of the year, there will be very few other major releases. That’s just unfortunate for the industry overall.
“It’s unfortunate that Parwaaz Hai Junoon also set its sight on Eid-ul-Azha at the eleventh hour. If the producers decided to postpone the release, they should have opted for a window that wasn’t already taken up by two other movies.” — Fizza Ali Meerza
Images: There’s a clash of another sort also that your movie faces: your hero, Fahad Mustafa, will also be seen in JPNA2. Do you think that this could be detrimental for your movie?
Nabeel: We’ll only find out if it’s detrimental once the movies release but Load Wedding is Fahad’s solo project while in JPNA 2 he is part of an ensemble cast.
Fizza: Also, both movies are very different and Fahad has worked really hard on keeping both his characters distinctive. We scheduled our shoots in such a way that he could change his appearance accordingly. For Load Wedding he grew a moustache and gained weight while in JPNA 2 he is leaner. The characters that he plays in both movies are poles apart.
Images: So far, Fahad has been part of every movie helmed by the two of you. Don’t you think that it’s about time that you try out other heroes?
Fizza: We’re always open to working with other actors but it’s just that Fahad is a very good actor, extremely hard-working and most importantly, we share a very good equation with him.
Nabeel: It’s not unusual for a director to work more frequently with a certain actor. Hasn’t Karan Johar worked a lot with Shahrukh Khan or Tarantino cast Samuel L. Jackson in many of his movies?