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How director of Pakistani cinema’s ‘epic failure’ came to terms with it

KARACHI  : Rafay Rashdi’s debut film Thora Jee Le, the first local release of 2017, bombed critically as well as commercially in January. It perhaps even set the tone for the rest of the six months as so far, there hasn’t been a single success on the box office in 2017. Speaking with The Express Tribune, Rashdi shed light on where he went wrong with his debut film and his life after.

‘Thora Jee Lay’ is a film for the youth: Rafay Rashidi

“When I had written Thora Jee Le, it was a serious film as I had experienced the complexities of the youth. We were going through a time when the youth needed a direction. I have already said before I’m inspired by Farhan Akhtar’s films,” shared Rashdi. “So, the idea of friendship is very close to me and I wanted to make a film about friends. Secondly, our country faces a huge problem of drug addiction and I wanted to address that in a realistic way of friends helping out their addict friend.”

Rashdi revealed it was tough for him to get his head around the workings of the industry and the film-making process. He said he wrote the script in high hopes and his mother Mahtab Rashdi suggested to get feedback on it. “It’s not that I didn’t try to get feedback on my script. I went to the right people, I went to writers but I didn’t get any constructive feedback. All I was told was that ‘something’s missing’.” Without any proper film education, he found it difficult to take that advice and implement it.

The director admitted that he made mistakes due to his lack of experience. “The fact is that the industry is reviving and there will be problems and it’s acceptable to criticise a bad film because otherwise, a critic is misleading the audience and the film-maker, who will end up thinking ‘hey, I made a pretty good film’ and won’t improve his craft,” said Rashdi. “I made bad choices and I went through the process and I have come out learning from all of that. I admit that I rushed through the film and I should have taken more time.”

Thora Jee Le may crush your will to live

While Rashdi accepted the criticism on his film, what bugged him was when bloggers got too personal. “I read all the reviews and blogs and people slowly started getting personal, saying the Rashdi family has a parchi system. What they don’t know is that I wasn’t handed anything. Yes, my mother supported me but I was a huge film fanatic and I wanted to make a film and I made it. I invested all my life savings in Thora Jee Le.”

He continued, “Despite the criticism and film’s failure, I must admit I am quite glad the actors I worked with came to the fore and are working in TV dramas now.” After the film, Rashdi has partnered with Moomal Productions so he can “stay in the industry loop, help produce quality content and interact with writers and learn so that I can come back with a better film.”

With his next film project, he hopes to build the audience as well as his peers’ trust and prove himself a capable film-maker. “I need to make a good film to gain audience’s trust and the way to do it is with a good cast. And to gain the cast’s trust to work in my film after Thora Jee Le’s failure, I have to have a top-notch script. So all my focus right now is getting the script right.”

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The post How director of Pakistani cinema’s ‘epic failure’ came to terms with it appeared first on The Express Tribune.

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