Horror film Aksbandh released on May 20 across Pakistan, brings “found footage” technique to the country which has been experimented by seven to eight countries so far.
“Aksbandh is Pakistan’s first found footage horror film. This idea is totally new for Pakistani audience and after watching it our youth that aspires to make films will also get motivated to work on new ideas instead of just making minor changes in repeated Bollywood ideas,” said Emraan Hussain, the movie’s director.
“I always wanted to make horror films as I was really fond of them in my childhood. I wanted to do something different, something no one has done before. So, I decided to make found footage,” he added.
Aksbandh follows a story of six friends filming a horror feature film whose adventurous fun trip to make a small found footage film turns haywire when they find themselves in a mix of paranormal activities.
“The concept of fear is different in every culture and religion: Americans incorporate the cross in their films, Indians believe a lot in the concept of aatma (spirit) and one will often see a woman in white sari in their films. We believe in djinns and black magic, according to our culture and Islamic beliefs. So we have made it according to our culture,” said Emraan.
The entire film has been shot and produced in Pakistan except for sound mixing and recording which has been done in India.
“Horror film’s sound is as important as it’s visual. In other genre you have margin for sound because of visuals, dialogues, music etc. But in this genre we have to take a lot of care of sound; only if the sound is good, people will get scared: If it isn’t, people won’t,” Emraan said.
Talking about reasons why a good sound couldn’t be recorded in Pakistan, he said, “In Pakistan it will take a little time. Pakistani filmmakers are learning gradually as they are making films, trying out and experimenting with them. They are learning from the mistakes they made in their first project and are not repeating it in their next projects.”
Elaborating on the point, he said that in Pakistan there was no proper university or institute for filmmakers from where they could learn, so filmmakers had to learn it through trial and error.
Humayun Saeed’s first film Main Hun Shahid Afridi, he said, wasn’t a big hit. “He didn’t repeat the mistakes in JPNA which was super duper hit,” he added.
“Similarly, horror movies haven’t been attempted properly yet. As more people will attempt it, when it’s sound will be recorded in Pakistan, so gradually they will learn,” said Emraan.
Ayaz Samoo, co-producer and co-writer with Emraan Hussain, said, “Found footage’s execution and shooting are very different from a subjective film. Other genres need proper treatment. Its cameras and lighting are different. The benefit of found footage is that you are doing handy shoot. More raw and without treatment it is, more realistic it will be. The essence of found footage would be seen. ”
“Found footage looks very close to reality to the audience. You don’t feel like you are watching a film. It’s as if everything is happening in reality,” Emraan added.
Ayaz believes that in Pakistan there is definitely scope for horror genre, “If Hollywood films make good business in Pakistan, it means there is an audience for this genre. It’s just that they don’t have content to watch,” he said.
Calling it an experiment, Ayaz said that Aksbandh could turn out to be a trend setter. “Pakistan will be the ninth country to make this attempt. We don’t know how the audience will welcome it. If it clicks the audience, if it relates with it, if people understand this genre then trust me in 2017 we will see five found footage films in Pakistan!”
The Moor actor also believes that it will motivate those filmmakers who have financial issues, “Found footage is a feasible project that doesn’t have mega budget.”
Aksbandh features Ayaz Samoo, Bilal Yousafzai, Danial Afzal Khan, Saud Imtiaz, Shehzeen Rahat, Mahrukh Rizvi and Arshad Ali. The movie is produced by Naveed Arshad, Seemen Naveed, Ayaz Samoo and Emraan Hussain.