PETALING JAYA: The producers of big budget local movie “Qaisy dan Laila” heaved a big sigh of relief when they finally obtained clearance from the Pakistan government to bring in their crew for a location shoot in Quetta, a border town between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Co-producer Habsah Hassan of Serangkai Filem left for Karachi yesterday with her crew and artistes.
The shoot was earlier scheduled to start early last month when an administrative “hiccup” that stemmed from some “confusion in paper work” resulted in the delay.
Although Quetta is a border town, it’s administration falls under the jurisdiction of Pakistan. Nevertheless it is culturally very Afghan.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the Pakistan High Commission here which took a special interest in our predicament and expedited the approval process. Not least the assistance extended by Mercy Malaysia, the Malaysian High Commission in Hydrabad, Wisma Putra and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar himself,” said Habsah.
“Qaisy dan Laila” is a love story between an Afghan man Qaisy (played by Jehan Miskin) and a Malaysian medical relief volunteer Laila (played by Norfazura) set against the background of war-torn Afghanistan.
The production has completed 30% of shooting in Kuala Lumpur and the rest will all be on location in Quetta.
“Initially the filming in Kuala Lumpur constituted only 10% of the picture. But due to the circumstances we decided to do all the interior shooting here so as not to waste time. Our art director, UiTM’s Associate Professor Najib Nor built the sets, guided by pictures we took in Afghanistan,” Habsah said.
Jehan, who was at the time already in Quetta to physically and mentally prepare himself for his role, was called back for the Kuala Lumpur shoot.
The rest of the cast includes Umie Aida, Radhi Khalid, new child actress Tengku Nurtasya and special appearances by Ridhuan Hashim and Rahimah Rahim.
“Qaisy dan Laila” has a budget of RM2.3mil (considered big in the local industry that normally spends an average of RM1.2mil a film), 70% of which is obtained from the National Film Development Corp film fund, in the form of an interest-free loan.