The next time you hear a knock at your door, be careful.. you never know what’s on the other side. Famous actor and director Jawad Bashir’s upcoming horror film “Maya” will make you question how safe you really are, as he pulls you into his world of horror.
I interviewed the duo on their upcoming film!
1. Could you please tell PT a little bit about Maya, how did it all begin?
JB: I was just sitting and talking to my wife one day when she suddenly reminded me of a story she had written two years back. It immediately clicked in my head to bring it to the Pakistani audience, I was sure they would enjoy it. That’s how it all began.
HJ: I always wanted to write something. At the back of my head, I wanted my first ever writing experience to be one that came straight from within. This story had an impact on me, so I wrote a script of it and shared it with my husband. That’s how ‘Maya’ began.
2. What are we to expect from Maya?
JB: I wanted ‘Maya’ to be a raw and an independent film, nothing glossy at all. I have seen Japanese horror, and it’s definitely more horror than the glossy Hollywood films that we see on screen. Apart from a few really good ones like ‘The possession of Michael King’ and exorcism-related, even Hollywood is a fan of glossy films. Maya is nothing like that.
HJ: The story was crafted entirely by me, I understand that the most difficult films to make are horror, you know why; because there is a very thin line between horror and comedy. You need to master the art of creating a horror film which brings goose bumps to your skin, otherwise it’s no use.
3. What is so different about the production of Maya, as you say you have been inspired from Hollywood and this is nothing Pakistani?
JB: This is a Jawad Bashir and Hina Jawad production, we both have produced it but I am the director obviously (laughs). Big Fish is a huge name in Hollywood, and they are in collaboration with Maya as well. I sent them movie rushes and they couldn’t believe their eyes; they asked me if it was a Pakistani film and I told them ‘yes’ at least 1,000 times. They were surprised beyond belief, which is a good feedback I think.
When I was learning how to make a film, I knew that I needed to learn a lot about the big screen. So I learnt it from better people, those who knew more than me; over here people don’t know so much about films.
Over here in Pakistan, pre-production is not focused on as much as it should be. We started six months before the film and our whole team used to be there on the set. Everyone was very efficient and took the project seriously. The bad news is if someone learns something, they don’t pass on that on to others. They want to keep their knowledge to themselves, so that someone else doesn’t achieve more than them.
HJ: For nine months, he was learning colour grading on Skype with this man ‘Simon Jake’ who’s a low profile individual but has done some amazing work! I was abroad at my sisters, so he could concentrate on the whole thing full-heartedly! (chuckles)
4. Is it actually based on true events?
JB: Yes it is, and Hina was in Denmark when a couple of friends were discussing it. She can tell you better about it (looks at his wife)
HJ: Yes, this is a true story. It happened to someone back in Denmark, and my friends knew that person. It is also a very popular story in Denmark. I wanted it to be very close to reality, so we made it close to reality. This movie is nothing Pakistani, it’s also made that way.
5. You cast new actors for your movie, why didn’t you approach a star cast like Shan or Iman Ali?
JB: I don’t believe in stars. Films should always be launched based on the final product which includes everything from the script to the screenplay to the dialogues. It shouldn’t be launched based on star cast. What do these stars do? They act the same in every movie. I’m sorry but it’s the truth, no one can deny it.
6. Tell us a little bit about Jawad Bashir and Hina Jawad.
JB: I graduated from National College of Arts in Graphic Designing and I have been working for over 25 years in this industry. I’ve made a lot of sitcoms and serials for Pakistan. There was one by the name of ‘Tareekian’ which was scary as well. I met Hina through a couple of friends, we clicked and I proposed to her. We have been married for five years now, and we have a beautiful daughter.
I work with my wife and I’m glad that we both share the same views about life.
HJ: Same story! (haha) We work together, and I think that it’s the best thing for a couple to have a matching wavelength. You can communicate on other things not just ‘what food we are going to eat tonight’ or ‘what should I wear today’. We discuss work, we are partners in work and we are two thorough professionals. We don’t act like husband and wife at work, we are two individuals who are focused on what they do best. And this is why we have a very strong communication.
We have the same goals and we want to achieve things in life, working on them together is the best thing about our relationship.
7. Do you believe that evil exists? What about the Supernatural?
JB: I might be a sinner, but I am a Muslim by heart. Whatever is happening in the world, it’s all pure evil. Wars, illnesses, drugs, all of it. Whoever doesn’t believe in evil, I think he is being ignorant. I’ve read a lot about these things, and even about life after death. Non-believers exist everywhere; some people believe in God and some are atheists.
HJ: I totally believe that this is natural and these things have an effect on our lives as well. We both believe in the Supernatural and I’m sure so does every Musalmaan.
8. Do you have any message to give out to your fans?
JB: This movie is not for kids, so please don’t take your children to the theatres. We have dedicated this movie to our daughter, but even she is not allowed to view it before she’s 18! (laughs) Other than that, I want you all to enjoy the film and give me some feedback, so that I can work on my next projects in an even better way!
One more thing I would like to add is that over here people learn things, and they don’t teach them to others, so that someone else doesn’t achieve more than you. We should eradicate this jealousy from our heads and focus on the revival of our industry. I’m glad new direction and actors are coming into the industry, this needs to keep going.
HJ: Everyone should enjoy this movie and I hope that you all love the concept, it is entirely a foreign concept and I repeat there will be nothing that you’ve ever seen here before, there is no Pakistani glossy-ness in this, and I hope that you all appreciate the effort and hard work that the entire team went through!