Chain Aye Na, directed by Syed Noor proved to be a Box office disaster, no doubt about that. Films do flop everywhere, be it Hollywood or Bollywood, its part of the game but the actual loss our industry suffered by failure of this film is that it has affect forgiven investment in our films. The producer of Chain Aye Na, Mr. Jawed Siddiqi has been doing business in America and he came to invest in our film industry with high plans but after facing hard time right from production to releases of the film he is forced to think that it is not wise to invest in an industry where his investment is insecure, where cinema owners are discouraging film makers. Taking into account what happened Metro Live contacted Jawed Siddiqi to get a clear picture for what he considers are the factor responsible for Chain Aye Na’s failure and what are his future plans for our industry.
Jawed Siddiqi went to Oklahoma in mid 70’s for education and did his MBA from university of Dallas and has been associated with banking. After Habib Bank he joined BCCI and finally settled in Dallas and started his own business. He is considered among the influential businessmen of Dallas. In the era of president Pervez Musharraf, he did a lot to convince oversees Pakistanis to invest in their own country and considering his efforts Pervez Musharraf made him the president of All Pakistan Muslim League Dallas and vice president in America.
M : How did a business minded man with political interest enter in to film line?
JS : I used to hear kids of my family and Pakistani friends usually talk about Indian films but never Pakistani films and it saddened my heart because the time when I came to America every one used to talk about Waheed Murad, Muhamad Ali, Nadeem, Zeba and Shabnam and today our youth had no clue of these legends. And then after a long time finally a Pakistani film “Bin Roy” released in America and after which Pakistani films became a topic of discussion. I discussed with a few friends that Pakistani cinema is reviving after all and we should think about investing in it and that is how the idea of making a Pakistani film came into being. I had heard a lot about Syed Noor and had read a lot of his interviews, I found his contact and contacted him and we planned a film which was supposed to be made with collaboration of both Pakistani actors and Bollywood actors. It was a story of a Pakistani and Indian families who in a foreign location are oppressed with similar obstacles and have to become one to fight it. Syed Noor went to Mumbai and signed Dhrmindar for it. From Pakistan Nadeem and Mustafa Qureshi were included in the cast. We completed the script and were working on the music of the film when unfortunately the political tensions between the countries become so high that we could not start the film. And then we knew we had to start another project without wasting time. Syed Noor proposed another idea and I liked and it was “Chain Aye Na”
M : What do you think is the reason behind Chain Aye Na’s Box office failure?
JS : To me it looked like few people targeted our film intentionally. When our film was in production in Karachi and Lahore, everyone appreciated the standard of our film, they loved its music and direction, in fact everything about it was said to be great but shockingly before the preview of the film a few sources started criticizing our film unnecessarily. Remarks about legend like Syed Noor were so negative it looked like there was a war going on between Karachi and Lahore. Now I believe that critics have every right to review a film but selection of the words reveal their intentions. Those reviews had a lot of impact here in America. Business of our film got affected as well as the image of our film industry. Now it will not be easy to convince investors to invest further on our films. My friends have been asking me questions like where does this happen that he investment of the investor is at the mercy of others. They find investing in chips or snack factories far safer. The most disappointing factor is that our film never reached the audience. When our film was released here in America people told me that your film was better than “Jab Harry Met Sejal”, storytelling is strong. Our film was not rejected by the audience but rather it was a victim of so called critics.
M : Is the critics here in Pakistan so much influential that they can affect the success or failure of a film?
JS : You are right here, we cannot put the whole blame of our film failure on critics, I admit our film was not properly distributed. The publicity and marketing of the film was not done properly. The fact is the releasing a film in Pakistan is a much tougher task than making one. I have been told that the channels that are involved in distributing business are not sincere. They will release your film but even if the film gets hit, according to the final figures that you will be presented with, you will find yourself in debt. The whole business gets leveled in channel publicity. These conditions make me think that our film industry is moving towards an unjust monopoly which will leave the film business only in few hands.
M : What was the cost of Chain Aye Na and what is return
JS : The cost of this film was approximately 8 Crore and almost all was lost. People who have seen this film are welcome to let me know the lacking in our film. I have found that it is not only us who have suffered from the agenda of criticizing a film and failing it before its release, but every other film maker in Pakistan is its victim, what do you think happened to Yasir Nawaz’s film “Mehrunisa V Lub You ”.I am just saying that we have to own our industry; we cannot be making one 1000 million films like Bollywood. Our comparison with them at the moment would be unfair
M : How did you find Syed Noor as a director?
JS : I was always fan and after seeing this film I am very satisfied with him. He did his work with complete integrity and if I will make another film it will be with him. He is a Pakistani legend and we should treat him that way. Hits and flops are a part of film making game, did Yash Chopra, Rajkumar Santoshi, Subhash Ghaye never gave flop films. I am sure Syed Noor will very soon give a very hit film that will shut the hatters up.
M : Are you guys planning a project together in near future?
JS : Yes off course, I am absolutely not disappointed with our failure, but am grieved because my friends and partners in America will not invest in our films any more. I am working to release Syed Noor’s film “Prize Of Honor” in America. We are going to have a grand premiere soon in America.
M : While making Chain Aye Na, how did you find the attitude of people in industry with you?
JS : Although few people did give us tough time and disappointed me but I am very thankful for the owner of New Plex cinema Mr Jameel Baig who encouraged us and gave us substantial shows. And I would also like to thank the owner of Capri Cinema Mr Chaudry Farukh and all the stars in my cast who were very helpful and went out of the way to shoot and promote our film.
M : There was a lot of objection concerning the lead actress of the film, Sehrish Khan. Whose selection was she?
JS : Actually before Sehrish, we went to a lot of regular heroines but found that despite the fact that our film industry is taking its baby steps, the demands and tantrum of our regular TV heroines are way up in the sky. We approached lots of TV heroines for leads as well as the secondary characters but after looking at their tantrums we decided to cast new faces. I don’t consider Fawad Khan and Ali Zafar Pakistani actors, as Bollywood has given them their identity but even Fawad Mustafa, Mehwish Hayat and Mahira khan were unworkable at this moment, I wonder what will happen latter. They can never become legends with this attitude. All they consider is money, respect means nothing to them. I don’t live in Pakistan and still think so much about the positive image of our country but these actors don’t give a damn about what they are doing. But as far as casting Sehrish is concerned, I was my suggestion which Syed Noor endorsed. I thought that the names of legends like Santosh kumar and Sabiha Khanm were attached with her which might proved favorable for our project but let’s say that did not happen.
M : What did you learn for the failure of Chain Aye Na that you would not repeat in future projects?
JS : That you don’t have to hurry in making nor in the release of the film. Marketing and promotion should have a substantial budget. And because it was my first experience and it was a comeback for Syed Noor after a long while, we did not take the changed era in account properly. Syed Noor was not in Pakistan for forty days before the release of the film, he was busy in post production of the film in Bangkok and therefore we did not promote the film as we should have. But anyways we will work on these shortcomings in our next film and will surprise the cinema goers.