• 01 Sep - 07 Sep, 2018
  • Attiya Abbass
  • Interview

It was in 2014 that Nabeel Qureshi stole the show and mounted the Pakistani cinema to a brilliant vantage point with his directorial debut, Na Maloom Afraad. Followed by high grossing ventures in its wake with NMA2 and Actor In Law, the raving success of his films have rendered a stunning credence to the virtuoso director. Nabeel adds another feather to his director’s cap, with the burgeoning success of his film Load Wedding; which is a remarkable cinematic amalgamation of romance and pressing social commentary. In the weeks prior to the release of his latest film, MAG managed to catch the man of the hour for a tête-à-tête. Here is how it went.

At what moment in your life you realised that you wanted to be a director?

I was 18 or 19 when I realised my passion to be a storyteller. I had this growing penchant for storytelling. At that time, I didn’t have it planned that I would pursue filmmaking; that aspect of my life came much later. In my early days before venturing into filmmaking, I was fascinated with graphics and started off as a graphic artist. It all really built up from there.

What is the most important aspect of Load Wedding?

Load Wedding is basically a family social drama. It has a love story which also relays a moving social message in it. The story is very new and original; it’s something the masses have never seen before on the screen. There are a lot of subplots within the plots, which largely contribute to the overall impact of the film. I believe that Load Wedding is slightly different from my previous films. I feel the masses would relate to the story, because it revolves around an aspect of life, most have either underwent themselves or saw it happening around them. My previous films were mostly male-oriented films. LW revolves around a family. So I feel, the whole family who sits together to watch it, can relate to it. Similarly our desi weddings too carry this ‘load’ which no one talks about. They are either not aware of this ‘load’ or even if they do realise it, they don't have the guts to raise their voice against it, like many other things. The film's plot brings the ‘load’ in the wedding to light.

As a director you stick to similar genres of comedy thrillers and socio-comedy. Would we be seeing you experimenting with different genres?

As a film director and even as a person you evolve with time. So I am sure in the span of the next two years or less, I might explore another genre. Perhaps, I would garner profound inspiration to work on projects I haven’t done before, in some time. It's not that I will remain immersed in a particular genre, I would surely experiment. But my staple genre is to make films which encapsulate a social message. This is an aspect, a cornerstone which I aim to keep constant throughout my future films. And I don't do this because I feel pressured with a semblance of social obligation. As a Pakistani, it’s our way of channeling the angst against the draconian system and things we feel are wrong in our country.

This is going to be your fourth collaboration with Fahad Mustafa and the third with Mehwish. It’s easy to say, they are very special to you. Would you tell us why?

Fahad and Mehwish are basically like a team now. I enjoy working with them. They both are very professional and amiable to work with. They are hardworking, which is something I admire greatly. And we have become very good friends with time.

What was the most difficult part to shoot in Load Wedding?

When you sign up for a humongous task of creating a film, there is no consideration of difficulty and ease. Jo karna hai, who tau karna hai. There was a lot of travelling involved where we were shooting in five or six different cities and villages in Punjab. A lot of people came out to catch a glimpse of Fahad and Mehwish since they have a huge fan following there. So yeah, you can say the crowd management had been a task.

Out of all movies that you made, which one is closest to your heart and why?

To take a single pick from all my movies is very difficult. I would always have a special inclination towards Na Maloom Afraad, because it was my first film. No matter how good of a movie I make now, or in years later, the first movie will remain special to me. There is very less work of mine which I admire and I have this unusual admiration for the work we did in Actor In Law. Every film has its unique aspect, that a director cherishes the most. I also enjoyed making LW, and currently the excitement of it is engulfing me.

Every director has its magnum opus. His best work, his masterpiece. Do you think Load Wedding is “the one” for you or do we have to wait for your best?

I am of the opinion that the masses who actually watch your films, single out the magnum opus from the heap of your work themselves. As a director, no matter how big or great a film I make, if the people don’t enjoy or accept it and it doesn’t fare well at the box office, it can’t be well. It is a mutual based thing. Any of the films which fare best at the box office and the audience love it, would be my magnum opus. •