By Isbah Khalid: Taazi sat down with the mastermind behind ‘Waar’ and the upcoming ‘Yalghaar’, Hassan Waqas Rana, loving called Doc by his many admirers to get a peek inside his furnished mind and the films too of course!
We were welcomed graciously to their home by his beautiful wife with their German Shepherd Jag waggling his tail behind her and led into a comfy drawing room adorned by paintings made by her of course! What else were we to expect from Doc’s wife. They are without a doubt a family of many talents, and as beautiful and humble as any.
Mr.Rana walked in and greeted us in a very pleasant and friendly manner. Laid back, casual, at ease but still in command of everything- these were the words that crossed the mind. And let me spill the beans, Doc is as human as any of us- I repeat he is as human as any of us, although a tad bit more genius.
The conversation started with how he got into the industry and what inspired him to make WAAR. He started the story saying there’s a very cliché sort of an answer for that and he took us back to 2008 when he was working on a research on Political Economics and came to realise that our film industry had made negligible contribution to the economy. In his words, “Cinemas give sort of a face to a country. Television can’t define culture or aspirations.” In his research he came to know that in 1976 and onwards the film industry got really dusty and was in a bad shape, only 4-5 films were released every year which is quite a sad fact and while the cinemas were declining in quality and number, the economy followed that. He identified a huge gap that needed to be filled and thus came the shove he needed to bless us with his genius ambitions. He spoke to different people in the industry and except a few nobody was actually interested in what he had to offer. But with the support of the few he had on his side, he took a bold step and boy did it pay off!
A double PhD; one in Business one in Operations Management a thorough research based on Political Economy, a former faculty member of National Defense University, we were to expect some pearls of wisdom from him and sure enough he added another thing, “One day back in 2008, I happened to see my bank statement and there was a lot of money and I kept wondering what to do with it. You see, money on its own is of no consequence, money has to serve a higher purpose.” Thank God he chose that purpose to bless this industry with not only his wisdom and will but his courage, foresight and immense talent as well. A bank statement and a research is how it all came about, but most importantly it was the thought and the film industry was set for revival.
After recovering ourselves from that deep, thoughtful journey we took a walk through his brainchild WAAR. He confessed that although initially he wanted to make an epic which is now Yalghaar but WAAR will surely hold a special place since this was his first. But why so much epicness, Doc? “One thing I hate is being average; you either succeed spectacularly or fail spectacularly, human beings are not supposed to be average.” Wallah! I for one am keeping this in my diary.
We were then led into his work station/ studio in the basement. A snooker table was set in a corner for some leisure time and on the left was a huge table with all his equipment. There were comfy sofa chairs for us to sit on and a mattress could be seen in a corner with a pillow and a blanket which his wife said was for all those times when it was impossible for any of them to get him out of the room. We got an exclusive peek into the upcoming epic and trust us if you thought WAAR was something great it is nowhere near to what Yaghaar is going to be! With a 50 crore investment this film is set to make new records and talking to Doc made us realise that this man will not stop until he has had his name written in history with golden words as the man behind the rebirth of Pakistani cinema.
One thing we have noticed about his work is that he is too detailed, and he confessed that it was indeed the case. We can see that very well Doc in the Spartan look alike you have created for the film. We saw Bilal Ashraf pumping in pictures on his Facebook account and Umair Jaswal’s was the most admirable transformation and why not he worked for weeks on that. This was yet another example of Doc getting into the details; he wanted his SSG Commandos to look the part.
When asked about the people he had loved working with and would love to work with again he had names ready; Shaan- he adores him and is one of his best mates, Humayun Saeed and Adnan Siddiqui, “They are hardworking and brilliant people.”
Let’s get to the fun part now- music! He has written and composed the songs himself- whoa! Doc just keeps impressing us more, if that is even possible. The soundtrack is a mixture of old and new. Xulfi, the magical musician was given charge to create magic like he always does. Doc himself is a Xulfi fan, need we say more? On board there’s Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the legendary Abida Parveen, Shafqat Amanat Ali, as promised some new talent Azfar and Rizwan Butt. A dream team for sure! You wouldn’t want to skip any of the songs, they are well written and composed, beautiful words and brilliant music!
When asked about how he responds to criticism, this is what he had to say, “Very positively! When WAAR was coming out there were about 128 articles written on it, and out of them 126 were anti-Waar. Some criticism was valid but some was extremely invalid, I am after all a mortal being with flaws so I don’t completely shun criticism and I am my own biggest critic. You shouldn’t say or think you are perfect, 99%of the people I meet are convinced they are perfect. Yes, there are flaws in all of us but don’t be convinced you are perfect; we all need improvement and need to make changes in ourselves.”
Doc, you are perfect! And we are all dragging our friends and family to watch Yalghaar even if they say they are not “into” cinema. This ladies and gentleman will for sure be that moment in history that all the coming generations will look back to, talk about and hopefully study too, because this marks the rebirth of our film industry. We applaud Doc and his team for creating magic once again!