Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us Naveed!
Before we delve into NAAM BADAL DENA, we’d love to know what drew you towards being a filmmaker?
I think I was destined to be a filmmaker, as a child I was a great observer and admirer of small things, will make notes and write stories and poems about feelings, thoughts, occasions, people, friends, and family.
Nothing happens by accident; everything happens for reasons.
Writing stories and poetry, led me into crafting and drafting scenes in my head, adding bit of fiction and bit of pulp and all those scenes helped me to become a filmmaker.
Also, watching films keenly, and cherishing some amazing films & film makers also inspired me to become a film maker.
In a nutshell my lucid dreaming capabilities were main driving force in my case which actually transformed me into a filmmaker.
This film is an excellent character study on how one grows up with a difficult childhood and attempts to change one’s fate in their own marriage.
How did you direct the actress playing Shiza and guide her in her portrayal?
Great question! I must admit to be very honest I saw myself in Shiza and there is so much that I could relate with the character of Shiza with my life so it was pretty much easy as I knew exactly how I felt, what went on and what went wrong/right in my life, that truly helped me direct the actress playing Shiza.
Shiza feels a lot of conflict with fearing the loss of Salman by being too controlling but also fears losing him by being too lenient or forgiving.
Is this a conflict that you find many women living with today?
Yes absolutely, this is a main conflict and it does resonates with everyday life and with so many of us, living, dwelling upon the fear of unknown.
Fear of unknown, contemplating on “what ifs”, ruins so many relationships.
So many women, even men living with this abnormal anxiety which should be delt with and one should let go of all such feelings.
It is pertinent that one should establish better communications between each other instead of fearing and living a life surrounded by own demons which hampers any healthy relationship.
What was the initial inspiration for the film?
Initial, final and inspiration were pretty much the same and it is: A very strong message that there could be true and lasting loving bond between a married couple.
We wanted to pass on this notion, that simple, pure romantic love exist that too after marriage and in between husband and wife without any twists and turns. Another solid inspiration has been.
Khalil Gibran’s famous quote regarding marriage/married couple:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”
What in your opinion was the hardest part of making the film? Did you ever consider starring in the picture or directing?
We are aware that you contributed significantly to the movie's financial success and that you also composed music for the film.
I think every step of the film making has its own elements/merits of toughness or hardship. For me hardest parts were postproduction, in edit, grading and in sound design.
And yes, I have directed in the past and also acted as well, would love to direct again and acting not too sure, maybe if any of the directors would want me to, than maybe I can consider but not for myself or my production.
And indeed I financed this film and produced it under the banner of my company “Deepblue Doors Inc., which was incorporated in Canada.
Yes, I wrote and managed the composition and arrangement of the beautiful song which is yet to be released. Unfortunately, that song was not included or featured in the film, however, it will be released separately on its own.
It’s so mean of Salman to worry Shiza like that by telling her he was meeting Ayesha, but instead buying her a stunning chain necklace.
What inspired this plot twist? (Which is such a shock, yet a relief!)
Well, that was the part of the plot, Salman, had to test Shiza, because he knew that within her she had been sulking and worrying about Salman and his possible association with other women or maybe if he would leave her too like her father who left her mother because of her suspecting behavior and nagging.
Shiza had committed before their marriage that she would never be a typical wife or she will never suspect him etc, if she would than in that case Salman can change her name (Naam Badal Dena).
Salman, was ensuring that Shiza should be confident, she should own all of her sentiments to freely express and communicate with Salam which she wasn’t.
He loved her deeply and truly so he wanted to re-enforce that she is the only one in his life and no one else can take her place. That necklace was no ordinary gift, it was Cartier’s signature necklace.
Communication is the moral of this story, specifically not basing it on gender roles. This is something that is very interesting!
What brought you to take this approach?
Communication is a must element in any relationship, furthermore, between husband and wife or any loving couple more than communication, there should always be very strong communion.
Communion is stronger and deeper than communication.
I feel that it is not based on any gender but it should be very powerful, intimate and intricately established between two loving souls be it husband/wife.
Simple life hacks, successful marriage elements and pure loving bonding had brought us to take this approach.
What aspect of the story really drew you in and made you go “I have to make this!”?
All smiles, and it was less than 3 minutes after reading the script that I had decided that I had to make this film.
Unfortunately, what I had been hearing lately, that marriage is a failed institution and marriages don’t last etc.
There has been so much negativity shown, projected and promoted in regards with marriage and married couples, that one feels so off and awful to be married.
I felt that it is about time to show and prove that No its not true, marriage is a lovely institution, there could be so much pure love, honesty & loyalty between married couples and they could also live happily ever and forever after.
Was there another movie that inspired you in any way to make this film?
Yes, I think there were some movies, to name few, would be “Scenes from a Marriage” by Ingmar Bergman, Kabhi Kabhie & Silsla by Yash Chopra but all these movies should the darker side of marriage and had elements of cheating, love triangles and lots of relationship issues.
My inspiration came from the quality of these movies and predominately with the ending of these movies where married couple return/reunite to live happily ever after.
Some directors have their cast do research for their roles, listen to playlists to inspire them, or even try some method acting.
Did you ask the cast to do anything of that sort to prepare for the film? If they did, how did that go and would you do it again in another film you direct?
Yes, we had a workshop, several meetings and rehearsals, me my director Arshila Salman, asked our actors to watch several movies, even asked our DOP and editor to watch several movies not just for acting but for camera angles, shots, lights etc.
Interestingly, our main leads were dating each other at the time when we shot the film so we told them to be natural and act as you guys behave normally in daily life.
They were love birdd in real life too. One of the reason to choose these two actors “Hira Khan and Arslan Khan”, to achieve natural intimacy and powerful romance between them and it worked so well and it shows predominantly in the film.
So much so they both actually got married on 12th February 2023 which was such a great feeling. I will do all kinds of interesting things in my future films, be showing them amazing movies, method acting, adaptation or real life characters.
How do you think Salman and Shiza’s relationship will be ten years from the end of this film?
Well, now that we have real life Salman and Shiza in the form of our actors who recently got married, we will know for sure but to forsee our characters, I think they will be living very much happily with contentment along with their children.
In your opinion as a moviegoer, what qualities are essential to a great film?
There is no one size-fits-all, answer to this question since what makes a great fil, can vary depending on personal preferences and cultural contexts.
However, some qualities that are often associated with great films are: Intensity, intimacy, ubiquity.
The qualities of intensity, intimacy, and ubiquity have been singled out as the salient characteristics of the motion-picture image. Its intensity derives from its power to hold the complete attention of the spectator on whatever bit of reality is being shown.
What is the message you hope the audience takes from the movie?
Simple message: Marriage is a wonderful and successful institution and there could be a loving, trusting bond between married couple which could be lasting as well.
Do you have any projects currently in the works that you can share with us?
Yes my team and myself been working on another interesting project, its working title is “Hero”, actual name of this short film film be revealed once film will be shot and ready.
It is an outstanding story about an autistic man which clearly defines our mission statement of “Neurodivergence”, that my company “Deepblue Doors Inc, calls it our mantra.
This script is written by our taleteled writer who wrote Naam Badal Dena as well, her name is Rida Bilal. I am very much excited for this new film.
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