Love from the sets of Parchi
Instep visited the set of the upcoming film and exclusively spoke to Hareem Farooq,
Imran Kazmi and Usman Mukhtar on the art of filmmaking.
It’s a peculiar sight when an entourage of people is gathered outside a factory in the outskirts of Islamabad near midnight. The place initially looked haunted and no one can blame us for assuming that; there’s nothing else that one can expect from the industrial zone of the capital in the wee hours of the night. Upon entering, we were greeted by an overwhelming waft of carbon and other gases in the air – it looked like a scene from one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s nineties classics.
Produced under the banner of IRK Productions, Imran Kazmi, Hareem Farooq and Arif Lakhani bring us Parchi, a situational gangster comedy. Helmed by Janaan’s director, Azfar Jafri, the film has an ensemble star cast of Ali Rehman Khan, Usman Mukhtar, Ahmed Ali and co-producer, Hareem Farooq. For those who don’t know, the film revolves around a group of friends who land in deep trouble and seek help from an influential woman (played by Farooq). Luckily, we had the opportunity to visit the sets on the very last day of the shooting spell in Islamabad.
As water was poured onto burnt coal, the smolder made the inside of the factory foggy. Excess garbage was brought to the sets in order to make it look authentic. Everyone on set was swamped with work; from the technicians to the actors, everyone worked diligently. Such is the process of filmmaking. It is never sunshine and rainbows; what we see on-screen isn’t even a portion of all the hard work that takes place on the other side of the lens.
Amid the chaos, one could see Usman Mukhtar, who also plays one of the three male leads in the film. The director-actor is also the cinematographer for Parchi. “It’s a first for me to be handling the DOP’s position along with acting, let alone try it with a feature,” he told Instep, while revealing that even though he doesn’t wish to continue cinematography in the long-run, he’s been enjoying it so far.
“It can get very stressful to say the least; the Islamabad spell has been extremely hectic, yet so much fun. I usually get to learn so much more about the process of filmmaking through every project that I do, but with Parchi, I got to work with such talented artists. I’ve known Azfar and Imran for quite some time now and that again is one of the major reasons I decided to take this up. I trust them not only as friends but as filmmakers,” Mukhtar added, sharing that his references for the film’s visuals have been Delhi Belly and Hangover 3.
Dressed in a green military shirt, Farooq looked drained from a grueling day on the set. We wondered what it was like tackling production while being the female lead to which she responded, “It’s not as easy as I had thought it would be. It gets very distracting when I’m acting; I have so much going on in my mind all the time. I was telling Imran the other day that I’m soon going to develop a split personality,” she chuckled. “At the end of the day, I’m relieved to know that Imran’s always there.”
However, does this distraction affect Farooq’s performance? Kazmi thinks otherwise. “It doesn’t affect her performance but she is truly diverted. Her mind is always elsewhere and whenever she’s shooting her scenes, one has to remind her that the production matters are being looked after. It’s very difficult to produce and act at the same time, but I quite honestly feel that Hareem has done complete justice wearing both hats simultaneously,” he explained.
Apart from the young protagonists, the film also introduces eleven debutants with mostly theatre backgrounds who have been selected through auditions. “I think that’s one of the major differences between us and other production houses. The two of us (Kazmi and Farooq) are always there on set ourselves so that quality isn’t compromised. IRK will also soon be known for introducing new talent as it gives a platform to newcomers,” the Dobara Phir Se actress maintained.
Shedding light on the realities of shooting a film, Kazmi observed, “From the fifth day onwards, the energy starts decreasing. You get annoyed and irritated very easily but then have to make sure that there aren’t any politics going on and above it all, you have to get things done the right way in a limited time period.”
During our visit, we had a chance to meet the seasoned antagonist, Shafqat Cheema. “Imran offered me the part of a villain and I really pray and hope that Parchi does well,” he commented. “I think the new blood needs to come forward and the veterans must lend their full support to them. I am not one of those artists who would sabotage the upcoming generation’s careers for my own selfish purposes. Not only do I think it’s my responsibility to plant new seeds, but also to water them.”
A gangster comedy, Parchi is set in a fictional city of Pakistan and all of its characters are related to local mafia. What all happens when bribery conquers all? Dealt in a comical way, the film promises to have multiple subliminal messages for the viewers. From our visit to the set we’ve concluded that there can be no replacement for zeal and avidity, something that is evidently present in the young and exuberant atmosphere on the sets of Parchi.