Omair Alavi Published January 27, 2018
Fans of animated films in Pakistan are all set for a treat as Allahyar and The Legend of Markhor is set to entertain them with it release on February 2, 2018.
Directed and written by Uzair Zaheer Khan with Azfar Jafri heading the animation, the film has garnered a lot of interest with its trailers, promos and songs. However, who is Allahyar and what is the legend of Markhor?
We got hold of the cast and crew for a quick chat where they told us all about the film, the reason behind the idea and why it will appeal to the audience.
Young World: How did you come up with the idea of Allahyar and The Legend of Markhor?
Uzair Zaheer Khan: While I was making Burka Avenger for Haroon (of Awaaz), I came up with the idea of this flick; since Anum Zaidi was voicing boys in the animated series, I naturally thought of her as the voice of Allahyar and thankfully, she performed as per my expectations. Yes, we had to do some retakes but she is good at acting and taking directions, which is not what I can say about the options I had.
YW: How was the experienced of voicing a boy, considering you are a young girl?
Anum Zaidi: For me, it was difficult from the start since I had to give the expressions that weren’t known to me (smiles). If I tried to better my acting, my voice would get disturbed and when I tried to better my voice, the acting would suffer.
The director helped me a lot in understanding the character, but even then, the scenes where I had to shout or cry were most difficult as I sounded like a girl (naturally). We had to do many retakes due to which I manage to sound like a boy in the final output.
YW: How did you finalise Natasha Humera Ejaz as the voice of Markhor?
Natasha Humera Ejaz: Let me answer that please — I got to know that Uzair was making a film so sent my audition tape. I didn’t get a call for a few days, but when I did, I was more than happy to be part of something iconic.
You will be surprised to hear Azfar Jafri’s voice because he made us all laugh out loud with his voice over! In fact, Chakku was voiced by Abdul Nabi Jamali, who was hardly eight when he recorded his lines and it was fun working with him.
YW: And now the million-dollar question … why did you choose Ali Noor for the villain, considering he has a good reputation as a person and a singer!
UZK: We were quite scared of Ali Noor because we hadn’t worked with him before; when he came to the recording studio, he didn’t show tantrums and was great to work with. He didn’t have any issues with the character he was playing and he did a fantastic job considering he hasn’t been much of an actor.
Ali Noor: For me, it was more of singing than acting and it reminded me of Cassette Kahani actually. For me, performing in front of a microphone wasn’t a problem so yes, I enjoyed it a lot. I was more excited about the character I was playing than the songs, which is something that I have been doing for a long time.
YW: But you shouldn’t have been the villain …. You should have been the good guy!
Ali Noor: You don’t know but I am a villain in real life (laughs). I am glad I got the chance to be in the film, be it as a villain or as a hero. I get to deliver quite iconic lines in the film and that’s more than I could have asked for.
YW: How much time did you take to make this film and what is your target market?
UZK: It took us one and a half years to complete this film and its duration is 90 minutes without any break. As for the target market, people in Pakistan will term animated flicks as cartoons no matter what, which is something that should change.
From our point of view, it is as much a kid’s film as an adult venture and the song Muskuraye Ja was included keeping the older audience in mind.
YW: Why did you go for an animated film with animals?
UZK: Our film is more of a patriotic flick than an animated one because we have included the national animal, the national predator and other local things that will give the feeling of Pakistan. Nobody from outside Pakistan was allowed to work on the project even though we had offers; that’s why we take pride in our story as well as our characters.
It is a complete ‘Made in Pakistan’ film and I am glad that people who weren’t into animation are now considering to jump into the field and do something that will make us proud as a nation.
YW: What was the cast’s reaction when they saw the film for the first time?
Anum Zaidi: It was way better than I had imagined; loved it.
Ali Noor and Natasha Humera Ejaz: We haven’t seen the film yet because we are outstation actors for them, maybe!
YW: Are there any surprises in the film like a teaser to the sequel or some cameos?
Uzair Zaheer Khan: No, there is no decision on a sequel yet but yes, there are a few cameos like one from Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan, and Arshad Mehmud sahib. Don’t forget to watch the film that is releasing on February 2, 2018!
Published in Dawn, Young World, January 27th, 2018