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Exclusive Interview of Yasir Jaswal, Director of the film Jaliabee

We get to tackle situations and take on challenges. Sometimes the budget limitations win, but sometimes we come out with pride in our hearts and a smile on our face. – Yasir Jaswal

Times of Youth: Mr. Yasir, tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What’s your background? When and what made you get into filmmaking?

Yasir Jaswal: Well, I grew up in the capital, Islamabad. I’ve been a fan of cinema since I can remember. I remember the first time I saw ‘Back to the future’  movie and thought to myself how they pulled off such an amazing film. I guess I knew from the start that I wanted to be a filmmaker.

Times of Youth: How did your parents take to your desire to become a filmmaker?

Yasir Jaswal: They had always been supportive of whatever I wanted to do but had their doubts because it’s not a very successful industry. We are in a Ph.D. of rebuilding. But after seeing the support we got from all around and the product that we put out in the market, they are very proud.

Times of Youth: Why did you name your film ‘Jalaibee’?

Yasir Jaswal: As you might have seen in the film by now, the plot was very twisted and tangled. We wanted to keep the name very local and something that can easily catch on and I guess it worked wonders for us.

Times of Youth: What was the budget of your film Jalaibee? Sorry, I couldn’t resist from asking.

Yasir Jaswal: Well, for that you have to ask the producers.

Times of Youth: What did you learn from this project? Both the positives and negatives, do tell us as this will be read by a lot of ‘rookie’ filmmakers, so you can get really detailed if you’d like.

Yasir Jaswal: Well, what I learned was that you can do whatever you want in Pakistan and there are no restrictions of any kind. There might be problems but twice as many people there to help you with the solution. You just need the right mindset and positive attitude to show the rests that now there aren’t any excuses that Pakistan doesn’t have the resources or technical support to make modern cinema. If you do set out to make a film then make sure your budget is very controlled as it can go out of hand easily. Shoot continuously and in one go. Make sure that you don’t break up the shoot as that would hit the budget and create problems. Also, make sure that you have the right amount of people in all departments. Not too many and not too less. Don’t overwork yourself by doing ten things and have a proper team structure and spread out equal work so everyone can focus on their part and eventually you’ll have a beautiful product.

Times of Youth: How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ‘Jalaibee’? Do you think you are soaring or ‘it’s just the start, baby’?

Yasir Jaswal: I think it’s just the start. We need to measure our steps right now. We will only grow bigger and better from here.

Times of Youth: What’re your top five favorite movies of all time?

Yasir Jaswal: Well, that’s a difficult question but I’d have to say the first film that ever caught my curiosity was ‘Back to the future’. I could watch it over and over again. Other than that I love The Godfather, Inception, Drive, Shutter Island to name a few.

Times of Youth: Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back something to the society, or just tell a particular story and not do something else? Why or why not?

Yasir Jaswal: Being creative means to think outside the box. The limitations we have are many but the goal is the same, to educate and entertain the audiences. Even when a filmmaker is not trying to make a statement, he ends up making one. So it’s a paradox I guess

Times of Youth: Who were/are your filmmaking inspirations? It could be anything which inspired you all along.

Yasir Jaswal: Well, life itself. I see things on a regular basis that inspire me. It isn’t any one individual or movie or event.

Times of Youth: How much do you think commerce affects your art? In other words, how much do you have to compromise as a filmmaker because of financial restrictions or business?

Yasir Jaswal: A lot. But that’s what makes it all the more interesting. We get to tackle situations and take on challenges. Sometimes the budget limitations win, but sometimes we come out with pride in our hearts and a smile on our face.

Times of Youth: If there would be something/s which you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?

Yasir Jaswal: To have a proper ministry which can help this industry and support it. At the end of the day, we are promoting our country and showing a modern and positive side of the county.

Times of Youth: What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Yasir Jaswal: Well, for some filmmakers it’s the only worry, but for us it’s nothing. If you keep following the norm or take the easy way out by just playing it safe then your not really challenging yourself as a filmmaker or even as a human being.

Times of Youth: What’s your next project?

Yasir Jaswal: Well, there are a couple of things that we want to do but haven’t decided in which one. I can tell you this much that Jaswal Films and Redrum Films are in it for the long run.

Times of Youth: Any message to your fans and followers?

Yasir Jaswal: Keep a positive head on your shoulder. Support your local cinema. Let us know what you liked and disliked. You will make our work better or worse.

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Times of Youth

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