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INTERVIEWS

AN INTERVIEW WITH NAVEED FAROOQI, PRODUCER OF "NAAM BADAL DENA"


DECEMBER 2022 EDITION



INTERVIEW



Nice meeting you Naveed Farooqi. Please tell us how you became a film producer, and about the creation of your company Deepblue Doors Inc.


It is indeed my pleasure to connect with you and I appreciate your keen interest in our short film Naam Badal Dena. I’m delighted that your esteemed festival has given me the opportunity to share my sentiments (yes I won’t call them as my thoughts or views 😊)

Now to answer the question: I think I always had a creative and artistic element in me.


I started writing poetry and prose at the tender age of 12. I had been a very keen observer, visualizer, thinker; even as a child I used to craft stories, by meeting, listening, traveling around the world. Those stories live in me as much as the beautiful souls I met.

Sometimes I transform those stories into poetry, or into films. I am not just a producer, I ensure when producing a film, I am always involved sincerely in all aspects, be it planning, screen testing, budgeting, shooting, direction, selection of each and every team member, post production and promotion; from conception to inception, I am involved to ensure and achieve best output. I never think or worry about time or finance.

Deepblue Doors Inc. is my brainchild. I had always wanted a proper and professional platform to produce best quality films.


After making films for other individuals or platforms, it was my dream to embark on my own venture. Deepblue stands for and represents my inner self in so many ways: dark blue is my favorite color, more than that Deepblue was one of the most powerful Super Computer once and the “Doors” element was inspired by The Doors, one of my all-time favorite bands; it has a very powerful connotation, as Jim Morrison said: “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.’’ This explains it all. I was destined to be here and create Deepblue Doors Inc., where we are making all of our dreams into reality —in the form of films.





How did you meet the Director, Arshila Salman?


Meeting Arshila was very interesting, and I must say very much karmic. I think I manifested it, as I had been wanting to make something substantial, powerful, simple but yet out of the box in terms of quality, direction, cinematography and all other elements. I believe she is God sent; she showed up at the right time and the right place. She came to me in response to an advertisement I had posted, toward developing a team, which included a Director as well. She came, and we talked.


During our first meeting, we both casually chatted about our experiences, views, aims, dreams and what we both in our own capacities wanted to do. She seemed very confident and upfront. I had interviewed several other directors, but Arshila intimidated me instead of patronizing, which made me think that she got some solid substance. She seemed genuine and Alpha Female, as a human, friend and Director. Our meeting did not seem to end on good notes as we both were “one of our own kinds”.


Yet, just before leaving my office, she mentioned the script and story of Naam Badal Dena, which she had conceptualized and was very well written by Rida Bilal. She asked me if I would be interested in making that short film. And that was an offer which I could totally relate to the dialogue of my favorite film The Godfather: "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." Five minutes after I was done reading the script, I called her and said I was in, she very intelligently accepted and countered my offer with generosity, envisioning immense potential, prospect for future endeavors.


She said, “I don’t want any monetary compensation for this project and I want you to see my work, I will see yours and we both can learn/unlearn from this project, Naam Badal Dena.”

I was taken aback and impressed with our approach. 17 days later we were on set shooting our short film, under the banner of Deepblue Doors Inc. Fortunately all throughout the pre-production, shoot and post production we gelled in so well and were able to create Naam Badal Dena and very soon we’ll be embarking on our new short film.





What motivated you to produce Salman's film Naam Badal Dena?


I think I have explained in my answer to the previous question. However, to be very specific, I think the story, concept and her mindset of making something phenomenal, convinced me within minutes. The story was telling something which no one talks about, or shows, a beautiful story of happily married couple without any twist or turn.

A simple and yet powerful love story, about a husband and a wife.





What is the situation of the film industry in Pakistan, and what is it like for independent producers and filmmakers there?


Film production in Pakistan is still at its nascent stage and unfortunately, all those who were making, or acting in, TV dramas or series have jumped into filmmaking for Cinema which is not fair. However, there are many great filmmakers, making world class films.

Pakistani films have won Oscars, several nominations at international festivals, not to mention awards at Cannes World Film Festival too. Lots of young filmmakers are making award winning films.

I am sure very soon, our films and filmmakers will get better and better. Unfortunately, Government in Pakistan has not considered this filed as in Industry —which they will, eventually. Till the mid-80s, our film industry was its prime and we used to make great films which were at par or better than those made in India or Iran. As you know, Deepblue Doors Inc. was established in Toronto, Canada, so I have the best of both worlds. I will be shooting my next film in Canada and Pakistan both.





When you decide to take on a film project, are there a number of criteria that you go by and if so, what would they be?


I had made short films in the past and I wanted to make more and this script/concept came as blessing in disguise, so I was delighted to take it up with all my passion and positivity. As far as criteria is concerned, I would just say this:


* When on the floor give your director full space, liberty and resources so that one could achieve best of the best.


* Never compromise on unsatisfactory scene recordings, lights, angles, frames, acting, screen play, dialogue delivery, body language of actors and all steps of post-production.


* Always prepare, and plan for contingencies, delays, lags, unforeseen and improvisation.


* Never, ever think about money, how much you are spending and how much you might make, always give your 100% and do your best, the rest will be the eventual consequence of high quality production —be it money, awards or appreciation.


* “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” So always think and create what you had envisioned exactly for the eyes of your viewer, create beautiful scenes, capture amazing shots so that not just your eyes but everyone’s eyes get mesmerized, and all cherish the creativity of you and your team.






What is your vision for your company, how do you see it –and yourself– 10 years from now?


My vision is very much clear and stated on our website:

Pakistan, India & Bangladesh (previously known as sub continet) are lands of culture, heritage, values, stories, myths, tabos, ethnicity, traditions and creations of love with warmth that deserves to be captured and presented at a global scale. In an attempt to contribute towards creativity during the times of Gen Z, and beyond: Deepblue Doors Inc., aims to extract and exhibit unseen talent, places, stories and people from around the world. With top-notch content production in the land of hope, creating a substantial content and unlocking barriers, Deepblue Doors look forward to devoting its expertise of capturing the grandiosity offered, but not fully unexplored or captured for films. Our work reflects our mantra which is ‘Neurodivergence’.


10 years from now I envision our company, my team and myself well nourished, getting to unlearn to learn, to formulate & create phenomenal films, web series and all kinds of productions to cherish and remember forever. I have a firm believe in myself and my team members, specifically Asrhila Salman; she is my wingman, we will be walking red carpet at Oscars not just once but several times. I am sure this statement could explain it all. Our short film Naam badal Dena is just the beginning, we have a lot more to create and to achieve, which we will, by the grace of the Almighty.



What do you think is the function of cinema, in any given culture or society? Do you think that function varies according to the country, the history of cinema there etc.?


Oh; I love this question, I am delighted to answer this as under: the Function of Cinema is larger than life, it’s like make or break, life, people, time, generations and contributing massively to the paradigm shift which we have witnessed during past century and a half. “The illusion of films is based on the optical phenomena known as persistence of vision and the phi phenomenon.” Our logo is Phi 😊 so one could imagine how diversified and remarkable our concept is.


Films can do wonders in transforming and enlightening viewers beyond their realities, further into the realization of their dreams and fantasies. It applies to every culture, race, religion, time and space. That is the beauty of film production (medium), it could be magical at acquiring, teaching, educating, inspiring generations and youths.


The function of cinema might vary from country to country, or society to society, but in a nutshell its role, its motive, or function is so powerful that this medium can bring revolutions.

Style icons of reference are the likes of Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Rock Hudson, Sophia Lauren, Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, Daniel Day Lewis, Al Pacino, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachnan, Shahrukh Khan or Madhu Bala, Rekha, Madhuri, Meryl Streep, Kate Blanchett, Kate Winslet or Scarlett Johansson, and same goes for amazing movie makers. It will take pages and pages to write or to mention about all those actors, filmmakers, directors, and technicians but bottom line is “Films represent lives, stories, history and create trends which people follow”, like for example Grease with John Travolta, or Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.


Lastly, I want to thank you on behalf myself and my team, specially Arshila Salman, for giving us this opportunity to speak my heart out 😊.




BIO


NAVEED FAROOQI, PRODUCER





Naveed Farooqi is a visionary man, writer at heart and thinker in spirit. He is the founder and owner of Deepblue Doors Inc. Born in Pakistan, educated in America, he studied Chemical Engineering and has been managing his engineering firm and other businesses in Canada and Pakistan. He currently lives in Canada and Pakistan, shuttling back and forth.


Mr. Farooqi is an author of four unpublished books which he wishes to publish posthumously: The Sixth Element, Closure, Kashish-e-Aqal and Phynal Phantasy.

He is also passionately involved in film and has been a keen film watcher since childhood. His favorite filmmakers are Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Muzzafar Ali, K. Asif (India), Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), Kar-Wai Wong (Hong-Kong), Ingmar Bergman (Sweden), Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino (USA).


Mr. Farooqi, has made 5 short films, two of which received Awards at various festivals, and he is proud to mention the two shorts Lust and Umeed Ka Safar, made in 2013 and 2014 respectively.


He passionately produced his latest short film, Naam Badal Dena, ensuring that his vision of neurodivergence could be rendered; luckily so far the film has done miraculously well, winning several Laurels and Awards, included Final Nominee at Cannes World Film Festival.

To summarize Naveed Farooqi’s pleasant personality and genius capabilities won’t take a page, not even a sentence, just one word: “Neurodivergent”, that he is and has proven to be the coolest creator of his own kind.


A quote from Mr. Farooqi:

“Give me an Alphabet, I will give you a word, give me a word, I will give you a sentence, give me a sentence, I will give you a page, give me a page, I will give you a book & give me a book, I WILL GIVE YOU A LIFE”.


Naveed Farooqi has always been a dreamer and according to him, dreams are not something that you see while asleep, but dreams are those which don’t let you sleep.

He has been an achiever to the core, his excellence in management projects/films is phenomenal. He is a lover of humanity and he feels that every space, human element, color, object and even every split second has a story of its own.

He captures those stories in his heart through his mind and believes in creating canvases out of those stories through his productions in the form of Films, Documentaries, Travelogues, web series biographies and more.



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ITW: Émilie Saada

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