An Uncensored And Candid Interview With Rafay Rashdi – The Smart Boy!

Moomal Entertainment has always come up with interesting and entertaining dramas. It’s not surprising that the production is all set to plan some great tele-films for this Eid. Our team decided to interview the Managing Partner of Moomal Entertainment, Mr. Rafay Rashdi, about his upcoming ventures and his experience in films, tele-films and dramas.

Shafiq Siddiqui: Moomal Entertainment is coming up with 2 telefilms this Eid. Wow! That’s quite a load of entertainment. How does it feel to be an integral part of these telefilms? Plus, what are the names of these telefilms and whom are we seeing in each?

Rafay Rashdi: Moomal Entertainment is coming out with 2 tele-films, one is called Band Toh Bajayga and the other is called Breakup Kay Baad. It feels amazing to be a part of the telefilms because you’re supposed to shoot it at such a short pace of time with minimal resources, with hectic artist schedules and managing all of that and of course this time the blessing of Ramazan was upon us and it was very hot as well so we had to manage everything in the same timeframe; so, it was a test for everyone however the best experience one gets is under difficult situations. And I hope that whatever Moomal Entertainment has done it shines out in the form of telefilms which will be seen on screen this Eid on Hum TV.

Breakup Kay Baad features Shahzad Sheikh, Ushana Shah, Saifi Hasan, Ayesha Gul, Saleem Mairaj in integral roles and its been written by Mohsin Ali,directed by Ahmed Bhatti.

And in Band Toh Bajayga, we have Yasir Hussain, Hania Amir, Zainab Qayyum, Nouman Masoud, Nazli Nasr, Sajeel in the roles for the telefilm and we hope that it is appreciated by the masses.

Shafiq Siddiqui: Band Toh Bajayga is a very interesting title; what’s it about? Plus Yasir Hussain is a firehouse of talent in terms of comedic roles. Was it difficult to work with him or out and out fun? Anything that you admire in working with Yasir. Do tell about Hania Amir how was your experience with her?

Rafay Rashdi: Band Toh Bajayga is definitely a very interesting title, it was tentatively titled ‘Go to hell’ and you will not believe it but when we were calling it go to hell the whole shoot schedule had become hell alike so wo kehtay hain kay naam ka bara asar hota hai ye kuch soch kay hum nay change kiya laikin band tu sabka baja.

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Basically Yasir had worked last year as well in a telefilm called Dildariyan so I developed a very good relationship with him on a very professional ground so it is always fun working with Yasir and he is very spontaneous. He is very clever and witty when it comes to delivery. Sometimes his improvisational comedy could also help in the production. He’s been an asset for us. Yasir has been a phenomenal performer himself as well.

It was my first time working with Hania Amir, and I kid you not she is a fantastic actress; she does comedy so well. Her delivery and acting is on par and it was awesome to have her in our telefilm as well because she is a big actress. Her film, Parwaaz Hai Junoon, is coming out, she has done janaaan, she has done Na Maloom Afraad 2, and she has done mega serial Visaal recently. So, it is a start studded cast and I had a fantastic experience and I’m definitely going to work with Yasir and Hania very soon and you can see that Yasir is coming as a “Wadaira” in Baandi even though Yasir being the comic caper will be seen as an antagonist and a villain. So, let’s see how that experimentation goes and regarding Hania all I can say is that details are yet to be disclosed but I can only say one word but that is ‘Badshah Begum’.

Shafiq Siddiqui: We’ve seen many bts videos of Ushna and Shehzad; it looks like they had great fun on the sets; was it fun to direct them? Any interesting incident from the shoot which you can share with us which gives you fits of laugh?

Rafay Rashdi: Shahzad and Ushna basically has been a successful casting for Alif, Allah Aur Insaan as well and I haven’t worked with Shahzad or Ushna in professional capacity. But working with both of them was good. An interesting situation took place, when we are shooting telefilms we shoot very fast like within 5 to 6 days. Brining all the characters within 5 days is such a crunch time that you just have to make sure that everything happens fine. I remember an incident, at the very last minute we got the location. That day Karachi was experiencing the hottest day and every location allows you 1 makeup room in which only 1 AC is allowed now what happened was when we arrived on set the entire house was at boiling point, ACs were not working. And everyone was wondering how we’re gonna shoot. I remember my time from Thora Jee Le where we shot in Larkana at 54 degrees. Shooting in summers is not easy. Once we got to the location we asked them to turn on all the ACs so that performance is not affected.  We managed somehow.

Shafiq Siddiqui: As you’ve directed Thora Jee Le and many dramas as well, whish according to you is a much mature industry, film or Television?

Rafay Rashdi: I have directed Thora Jee Le. It didn’t turn out so well. Regarding the dramas as a producer, I sometimes wish I had that experience before making the film. Maybe the things that didn’t work out would have worked out.

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I’ve had fantastic experience in working in Drama industry because I got to meet so many technical people especially the writers, so many post production people even though I haven’t said this but I think post production wise and writing wise I am more experienced because I have done a film and this is a smaller frame but what matters is that in the drama industry I got to meet a lot of people.

A major, major thanks to Sultana Siddiqui, President of Hum Network who gave me this opportunity to become a part of a production house and that’s where I am today and it’s only because of her.

Film industry is not mature as yet. I’m being very blunt and honest; we are making mistakes and still not learning from them, content is still not at par with how it is supposed to be, no one is understanding the requirements of the market, people are just getting up and deciding to shoot without consulting with experienced people, people have no idea about the dates when to release a film or not to release, releasing six to 7 films on 1 specific day without even thinking of how it will affect the business and then creating scenarios when our neighboring country cannot even release film here is not a good idea because footfall won’t come in and our industry will suffer. So, I have been very careful with these things and film industry still needs to grow up.

Shafiq Siddiqui: Where do you see drama industry of Pakistan heading?

Rafay Rashdi: Our drama industry is the perfection at its finest. I think we have crossed all margins of delivering and they are being appreciated internationally. We have solid content and we have excellent actors and we have excellent reach to the point where I can tell that if our dramas are not showcased in India it’s for the reason because they’re better than their content. They might be over dramatic but our content is to the point, its short, it might be 25-30 episodes, it has excellent production value, great cast value to the point that India takes our actors at times for their films and here is a reason behind that because our actors are phenomenal, our stories are phenomenal, our directors are phenomenal, our producers are phenomenal, so the package all around is great then you will always come up with a great product. Same cannot be said for the film, unfortunately. But not everyone is coming from the film experience firstly, not everyone has studied film. I think half the people are coming from drama; some people are coming from television commercial background. So there is big difference in the background of experience. It’s a vacuum left for people who will study film and come out and write screenplays and do proper art direction, conduct proper sound production, and deliver direction and eventually get proper post production.

Shafiq Siddiqui: What’s more difficult, directing and film, a drama or a tele-film? Which do you as Rafay enjoys the most?

Rafay Rashdi: I am a film maker, I have my passion for film and I am in the process of going forward with my second film which I have announced “Yaqeen”. It’s a mystery supernatural thriller. And I hope the genre I am attempting is accepted by the people and there will come a time when people will opt for such kind of films. Teefa In Trouble is a different kind of film. Parwaz Hai Junoon is a different type of film, and Azaadi is a different kind of film, so, every Pakistani viewer should have access to different content and different genres. If we keep on making films on one genre then how is industry going to progress.

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Telefilm is a short version of a film, done fast. I have always loved making a telefilm. Serials are a bigger commitment. Good content should always come forward and this is what I want to achieve through my upcoming serial called Baandi and Baadshah Begum. I will be showcasing content which has not been brought forward before and is risky content. But we definitely need a change of content on our television screens.

Shafiq Siddiqui: This Eid Tele-films or Feature films? Which will be your pick?

Rafay Rashdi: I don’t think I will pick any film this Eid, because the way I am seeing I don’t know how it will work i.e. releasing all these films at the same time. I am very impressed with Jackpot’s trailer. The way it’s been shot, the music, production; I think it has everything. It’s a smart move, not releasing it on Eid. Audience will have a better time watching telefilms at home rather than going out.