In Conversation with Rafay Rashdi
“I think success is a long journey of failures and struggles. You have to work very hard for it and I definitely have a long way to go.”
Q: How did you start your career in the film industry and in Moomal Entertainment?
R: When I made my second music video which was a tribute to Allan Fakir, our music industry was having a tough time. That was my first ever experience producing something. I found it very interesting so I started making short films of my own and then I wrote my own scripts. I wrote Thora Jee Le in 2015. When I made that film, Sultana Siddiqui put her blind faith in me. Then I was offered to come on board with Moomal Entertainment so here I am.
Q: How was your experience with Moomal Entertainment and Thora Jee Le?
R: Thora Jee Le was my first film so it will always be special to me. It was a good learning experience and I got to meet lots of amazing people. Moomal Entertainment was a totally different experience as I got to see many professional and technical people. I think it has aided me well in progressing in this industry.
Q: Who inspired you?
R: Even though I have been on the sidelines of the media industry since childhood, because my mother was a part of it, I still faced many struggles to get in. I did it all on my own. People questioned me and still do to this day. I look up to Sultana Siddiqui a lot. She was a director, a producer and now she is running a giant like Hum Network. There are, of course, my parents who are my role models. Then Stephen Speilberg in the film industry.
Q: Thora Jee Le was’t a huge hit at the box office, was it a learning experience for you ?
R: It did not do good at all. But it was a great learning experience for me as a filmmaker. It taught me about what the audience wants and how the cinema works. It taught me about box office and how people react to new talent.
Q: Where do you see the Pakistani Film Industry in the next five years?
R: There is a lot of work to be done right now. We are still lacking things like post-production houses and sound facilities. Technically, it can take up to 5 or 7 years for us to get on a stable footing. Our stars are still being discovered and polished so it can take some time. It is a work-in-progress.
Q: You prefer to cast young and fresh faces in your productions, why is that?
R: Commitment is the key. I think that the level of commitment and dedication you get out of new talent is far greater than the established artists. Also, I wanted to prove myself as an up-and-coming director. If I had cast great established actors then their acting would’ve been to their credit. But bringing it out of raw talent proves me as a director and them as actors.
Q: Any upcoming projects or future plans?
R: An upcoming project I am very excited for is Badshah Begum written by Saji Gul. We are in talks with Saba Qamar to be in it because she did such an amazing job in Baaghi. We also have another script in the works called Baandhi written by Asma Nabeel, who wrote Khaani which is on air right now.
Q: How do you manage your personal and professional life?
R: In filmmaking, you do not get any time for yourself. My longest shoot up till now was of 36 hours long. In filmmaking and production, you are always on the clock. Anything can arise at any time. I have a family with two daughters but my wife and I both work so we try to balance our lives. Weekends are for my family and that is how I try to balance it all.
Q: How has your life changed due to this career?
R: There have been many changes, especially timing. I love my work and my family supports me very much. They understand my passion and I try to push myself as hard as I can to do the best.
Q: You have a link to politics as well, has that affected your production and filmmaking career?
R: It hasn’t impacted my career yet and I don’t know if I will get involved in the upcoming elections because my production house and filmmaking has my ultimate focus right now. I want to keep working on it.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming film.
R: My upcoming film is a mystery-supernatural-thriller. I have wanted to do it for a long time now but I held off to observe the market.
Q: What is success according to you?
R: To be honest, I haven’t tasted success yet. But I think success is a long journey of failures and struggles. You have to work very hard for it and I definitely have a long way to go.
Q: Three things you would change about yourself?
R: To control my emotions better, not to rush things and not get bored of things easily.
Q: Money, fame, power: what is more important to you?
R: None of those. Respect comes first and then everything else comes second.
Q: Last time you got emotional?
R: Everyday thanks to my field.
Q: Last person you went on dinner with?
R: My mother, my wife and my daughters.
Q: If you could talk in your sleep, what would you say?
R: Rolling or action.
Q: Define happiness.
R: Doing service for people.
Q: What is your best childhood memory?
R: Being with my mother on the sets of Roshan Tara.
Q: Female celebrity crush?
R: Jennifer Lawrence
Q: Morning or night person?
Q: What is the most interesting thing in your wallet right now?
Q: How long do you take to get ready in the morning?
R: Not long at all.
Q: Describe yourself in one word.
Q: Fawad Khan or Fahad Mustafa?
R: Fawad Khan