Na Band Na Baraati would mark your debut in local cinema. Tell us a bit about how it all happened.
MZ: Well, I’ve been thinking about doing a film for a while now and one is always very choosy with their first. There were lots of projects being offered but nothing was really materializing. So I stopped being stubborn about what I initially had in mind about the kind of film I wanted to do. That’s not to say that the projects I took up weren’t interesting, but I went ahead with what felt right and finally made the jump with Na Band Na Baraati.
What intrigued me the most about the film was that it had a good family-comedy script and a very unique and fresh cast. The fact that it was being shot entirely in Canada promised a very different look and feel to the film.
Na Band Na Baraati’s cast and crew are mostly newcomers. Was that ever a concern?
MZ: There was a little hesitation initially, but one of the interesting things about this business is that you never know what’s going to do well. They’re a number of projects that have had such big names associated with it but have failed so there’s no set formula of making a hit film. And even though I have debutants Nayab Khan and Anzhelika Tahir opposite me, the film is backed by a strong cast of Azra Mohiuddin, Qavi Khan, Atiqa Odho and Mehmood Aslam and Ali Kazmi.
There’s also a new approach towards filmmaking since its being made by a bunch of new filmmakers, and in a way, it was my way of supporting people outside of Pakistan who are willing to invest into our film industry.