Director's cut: 'Waar' is more pro-Pakistan, than anti-India
The tension on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan is always simmering, with each blaming the other for extremist elements within their territory.
Amidst political tensions a new film that insinuates an Indian hand behind terrorist violence, has set the box office on fire in Pakistan.
'Waar' is Pakistan's biggest film to date which has crossed approx $ 2 million at the box office till date.
Some news agencies and Indian media see the film as an anti-India movie.
But speaking exclusively to Emirates 24|7 debutant director Bilal Lashari says, "Waar is a pro-Pakistani film, more than anti-India."
"This was just one film and honestly it's not heavily based on the rivalry at all.
"In fact it only mentions RAW (Indian intelligence agency) ones in the entire film, it's not the same kind of film (to mint money of rival of both nations).
"It focuses more on Pakistan and things happening in Pakistan than the rivalry. It's approached in a very different way."
Indian filmmakers have been playing the rivalry card (between India and Pakistan) since long and with 'Waar' it looks like the Pakistani industry is also cashing on it.
But Bilal clarifies, "As far as playing on the rivalry card is concerned I think that doesn't necessarily mean all the films will be successful. Even playing on romantic comedy or having an item number is considered to be safe but films still fail and film made on India Pakistan rival also have failed. So there is no safe formula in terms of making money, a film will always be tricky."
In the movie two agents of India's external intelligence agency R&AW Ramal (Shamoon Abassi) and Laxmi (Meesha Shafi) are shown as instigators behind political murders, suicide bombings and kidnapping.
In one scene from the 130-minute movie, militants overrun a Pakistani police academy and kill 100 officers. The Indian agents waltz in a glitzy flat in Islamabad to celebrate the success of their mission.
Even in Pakistan itself, 'Waar' is seen by some liberals wary of what they see as fiery nationalistic rhetoric and scenes demonising India.
There are some who believes that the movie is based on true events.
Zaid Hamid, a security analyst tweeted his approval for the film: "The entire patriotic narrative that RAW is backing Khawarij, political traitors and terrorists in Pakistan has been depicted well. #WAAR."
Bilal along with the producers are now planning for its international release. But they haven't approached any Indian distributors yet.
The director says, "We want the movie to be released in India. But instead of approaching individual distributors in India what we want to give worldwide rights to a distributor. That makes it more manageable and easier for us.
"That's the main reason. But honestly I don't know if the Indian censor will pass the film, I hope they will, because the RAW connection is just for the sake of the plot. It's not an anti-Indian film as such, the tone and spirit is more pro-Pakistan than anti-Indian."
Bilal is also ready to re-edit his film for the Indian audience.
"Not in terms of changing or cutting out scenes but maybe like very very minor tweaks but than again that will really come down to what exactly is being asked to change.
"If it doesn't change the spirit of the film, which is the fact that it's a pro-Pakistani film, if it doesn't hurt that (sentiment) than we can always consider. It's difficult to say at this point, it really comes down to what is being asked to change."
Sources within ARY films told Emirates 24|7 that 'Waar' might be released in the second week of December but the director is treading cautiously.
He said, "It's possible but again it's not confirmed so I don't want to give away dates until it's confirmed. We are still discussing and as soon as I find out the final date I can let you know."
In the UAE, fans have been eagerly waiting for the theater release and the director is also looking forward to bring his film to the Pakistani expatriates here.
During our telephonic conversation the young director was excited and said, "We are looking forward, in fact can't wait to, honestly. Now more than ever because we get all these messages everyday inquiring about its release, especially the UAE and in Dubai there seems to be a big market there."
Follow Emirates 24|7 on Google News.