• 25 Feb - 03 Mar, 2023
  • Wajiha Jawaid
  • Interview

We all know that Pakistan's film industry is in a tough spot. It took almost 10 years for a movie like The Legend of Maula Jatt to come out and make a big splash. If we want our industry to succeed, we can't wait around for another decade. The right steps need to be taken now to ensure smooth sailing. This time demands investors who are willing to take risks. A US-based filmmaker Shayan Khan is one such brave investor. He has a strategy to release a successful project every three months. His latest venture, Money Back Guarantee, includes an ensemble cast of Fawad Khan, Wasim Akram, Shaniera Akram Mikaal Zulfiqar, Hina Dilpazir, Salman, Kiran Malik, Jan Rambo, Javed Sheikh, Ayesha Omar and Gohar Rasheed. It has been written and directed by popular humorist Faisal Qureshi – a man behind several successful ad campaigns and music videos.

Having a solid project in hand, Shayan Khan is determined to change the course of Pakistan’s film industry. "We have not come to Pakistan to make one film, earn revenue from it and go back. We are here with an agenda to release a film after every 3 months. By 2025 we expect to give at least one film each month," Money Back Guarantee producer said in an exclusive rendezvous with MAG.

The young filmmaker is working closely with cinema owners in Pakistan to revive the silver screen. “We are partnering with cinema owners and we want to show Pakistani movies on our screens. We don’t want our cinemas to depend on foreign content to generate revenue. We want to build and grow the Pakistani industry and invest in local talent,” he added.

But doesn’t he find it risky to invest his money into a nascent industry who is not as technically sound as other major movie platforms across the globe? Our young filmmaker doesn’t think so. He never hesitates to take a risk and is open to facing challenges. “Someone has to take the risk. We have immense talent in Pakistan and they just need the right platforms. I am willing to provide that platform. My motive is to make good projects. So, yes, I am willing to invest in them and I hope that my efforts lead to fruitful results,” Shayan Khan said while completely trusting the local talent.

Shayan Khan’s first production, Na Band Na Baraati sank at the box office, however, this time he comes with a clear vision and a better project. “Money Back Guarantee is a different movie – you will not only find it entertaining but there will be a high relatable factor to it. The movie trailer has given a sneak peek to a story but let me tell you that the movie is entirely different from whatever you have perceived after watching the trailer,” he said.

Shayan had read around 20 to 25 scripts before locking the deal with Money Back Guarantee. The moment debutant writer Faisal Qureshi narrated the plot, the filmmaker knew he had to take a risk with this project. He told us, "The first thing that attracted me to the film was the intelligent script. It is not a run-of-the-mill plot where a girl meets a boy and they fall in love. It is neither like a money heist nor any robbery movie. The premises around the film is very intelligent and genius. It is a heist story but with an interesting political twist to it – you get to know it once you watch it in theatres."

He mentioned that the script wasn’t written with any actor in mind. The director Faisal Qureshi suggested a couple of names to him once he completed the storyboard. “I have a different equation with Mikaal Zulfiqar, so from day one I knew that he was going to be part of the film, but about the rest of the cast we decided after completing the storyboard,” he said.

For viewers, Fawad Khan's presence is a big high. His debut Pakistani film The Legend of Maula Jatt set new benchmarks at the box office – and Fawad was the major pull in it, especially in the overseas market. However, our young filmmaker doesn’t feel any added pressure from it. “Fawad Khan is a versatile actor and we have a great time shooting with him. The whole cast was amazing and we work like a family on the sets,” he said.

Apart from producing the film, Shayan has also acted in it. Talking about his role he said, “I can’t tell you a lot about it but he is a Kashmiri boy raised in Islamabad who is always surrounded by his middle-class friends. To know the significance of this character in the story you have to watch the movie in the theatres on April 21.

In the end, Shayan urges his fans to go and watch Money Back Guarantee in the cinema to experience the real magic of the world they have tried to create in the movie.