Breaking the boundaries to make an award winning film

It was for the first time that the Indian crew of an upcoming film Zinda Bhaag was meeting its Pakistani cast, miles away from the lands they respectively call home. Almost a year had gone by since each of the teams had been independently working on the film, interacting with the other side through the Internet. In the meanwhile, the project had been completed and lined up for a screening at a film festival in Canada.

Naseeruddin Shah in the film
Naseeruddin Shah in the film

On a distant land they met and embraced over having made a unique project, a true collaboration in all sense. Their film ended up clinching four major accolades at the awards gala. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, the film has two directors - from each country - New Delhi-based Meenu Gaur and Lahore-based Farjad Nabi. “The producer is Mazhar Zaidi, a Pakistani, while the crew is mostly Indian.

Farjad Nabi and Meena Gaur
Farjad Nabi and Meena Gaur

The film was shot in Lahore with young local actors - trained by Shah himself - while the post-production took place in India. With cross-border travelling being an issue, both the parties had little option other than virtual communication,” informs an insider from Toronto.

According to Farjad, collaborations between Indian and Pakistani filmmakers are bound to grow stronger. “Earlier, many Pakistani films including Bol get their post-production lab work done from Mumbai. After his critical role in Khuda Key Liye, Naseer saab has been a big supporter of such teamwork.”

Sharing a common language too had a hand in building up the camaraderie between the two parties. “A lot of Pakistani advertising and film crews hire experts from Thailand and Malaysia but we felt that would not work for us as language would still be a big barrier. We were proved right when both the teams worked together. Hindi is spoken and understood by both the sides,” sums up Meenu. 

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