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TV & Film A walk to remember

Karachi : fans of VJ-turned-actor Syra Shehroz have been anticipating her big screen debut for a while now. Fortunately, the time has come as the first look of her upcoming film Chalay Thay Saath has just been launched.

Written by Atiya Zaidi, Chalay Thay Saath stars Shehroz opposite Kent S Leung, a Chinese actor and film-maker based in Beijing. The rest of the cast includes Behroz Sabzwari, Shamim Hilaly, Mansha Pasha, Osama Tahir, Zhalay Sarhadi, Faris Khalid and Sherbaz Kaleem.

The team revealed the film’s first teaser at a press conference on Sunday. Like many other recent Pakistani releases, Chalay Thay Saath has also been shot in Hunza and the Gilgit-Baltistan region so as to capture its scenic beauty. “A lot of our films are usually shot in specific places but we wanted to shoot in the northern areas to highlight those places and show a brighter, more positive side of Pakistan,” Adil told the media.

However, picturesque locations alone cannot make a film. According to the director, what makes Chalay Thay Saath more than just a video travelogue is that it also highlights the culture of the areas where it has been shot. “It is not just the locations that are highlighted but the culture as well. We have shown the people and their lives in these valleys. The idea was to highlight them and to say that this is a part of Pakistan which is not known by many,” explained the director.

At its core, Chalay Thay Saath is a road film that explores the contrast between urban life and the peace found in travelling and spending time with nature. It follows the lives of six people who are linked to one other in various ways. Shehroz plays a doctor while Leung is her love interest and the road takes them to places where they discover themselves.

“We felt the time was right to make a film that compares a mundane urban existence to the richer, more cultural life of the Hunza/Attabad region,” Adil added. When asked about the need to cast a Chinese actor, he said it was necessary for the script. “Leung’s is one of the characters who travels to the Northern areas and falls in love with their beauty. So we cast him because the script demanded such a character,” he revealed. “When we started making this film a couple years ago, there was not all that much talk about our relations with China so we thought it was the right time to do something about it. We make films that explore our relations with other countries such as the US. Chalay Thay Saath explores our friendship with our neighbour, China.”

As the film still has a few months to its release, the team is keeping mum about any other details. When asked about the music, the director said they would like to keep it secret until further promotions, except the fact that the soundtrack has been produced by Abbas Ali Khan. He also made it clear that there would be no item songs in the film. “It’s a complete family drama…We have made sure everyone can watch it.”

Syra Shehroz will make her film debut with Chalay Thay Saath

Hilaly echoed Adil’s sentiments saying, “Item songs are usually inserted as an attraction. Our film doesn’t need an item song because it can stand on its own merit.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2016.

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Courtesy : Express Tribune

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