Undeterred by the ban on his first film in Pakistan, award-winning director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan is preparing to shoot his second film with a Pakistani model in a starring role
It was a dream come true for world renowned Indian filmmaker Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan when his debut film ‘Lahore’ won many international accolades including two awards at the 57th National Film Award in 2010 including the Indira Gandhi Award for best debut film by a director.
However, in spite of the respect he has garnered internationally and in India, Sanjay is disheartened since his film has been banned in Pakistan despite being shot there and showcasing Pakistan positively.
Now, all set to begin shooting his next film in September, Sanjay is undeterred by such a reaction to ‘Lahore.’
“The film is a story of hatred. It is the saga of anger and terror. It is a tale of souls, who want to traverse the Elysian Fields. It is the story of connivance, a ballad of betrayal, a dictionary of deception, and a tale of greed,” Sanjay says about his latest film.
The buzz is that Sanjay will cast some prominent personalities from the Pakistani TV and film industry including super model Mehreen Saeed who has been chased by many Indian filmmakers before Sanjay managed to sign her for his yet-to-be-titled film, which is believed to have Pakistan as one of its important backdrops.
“I have had many offers before from Bollywood for the past many years during my stint as a super model in Pakistan. But then, I hadn’t found the right script. Sanjay wanted to work with me earlier too and he has been a friend for over seven years.
“The current subject is a stupendous one and I am happy to make my debut in Bollywood with this film,” says Mehreen.
Sanjay’s ‘Lahore’ came as a shocker with its climax, which showed India losing to Pakistan in a kickboxing final match.
Ultimately, it was not about winning the match but the hearts of people in the film within and across the border which Sanjay wanted to portray and even in real life, Sanjay gathered the same respect when he received high honors at the hands of the President of India for his first film.
However, despite all the admiration and taking a severe risk with the climax where Pakistan defeats India in a match, Pakistan still banned the film.
Not only this, even when he was to shoot the film in Pakistan, he was not permitted to go and only his team managed to visit the location and Sanjay directed those portions of the film on the phone and on Skype from India.
Sanjay’s eagerness to cast Pakistani actors and set yet another story against Pakistani backdrop seems an indication of his efforts in improving the relations of both the countries, even if it is through entertainment only.
Sanjay’s next film is in the pre-production stage and if sources are to be believed, he starts shooting in September 2012.