First Saudi dDirector At Bollywood (Times Of India)

Sameera Aziz a journalist, a writer, news editor and now the first Saudi filmmaker at Bollywood. I met Sameera when she was working with Urdu News and became a truly close friend with her. Sameera is a warm personality, particularly friendly and helpful to ladies. She recently left Saudi Gazette from an editor’s post and started making a film in Bollywood. The films name “Reem” a story of a Saudi girl, Reem, whose mother is an Indian woman. Sameera wants to take advantage of this for presenting the beautiful and positive things about Jeddah. This is a semi-romantic entertaining film with melodious music- which is the soul of Bollywood films. It will be dubbed in Arabic as well. The script and the story lines are very powerful and communicative.

I had an exclusive interview with her as to why she decided to make this film and leave the job of a journalist.

Why did you leave your job of editor and come towards films?
Print media has no scope now. Production media is more powerful. People read online now. They get news’ updates online that’s why I decided to switch to production media. I just changed the medium, but I still belong to the media. I left thejob from Saudi Gazette because it was not possible to manage both production work and journalism together. I have to travel to India anytime when the production house needs me. Since I am the captain of the ship, I have to take decisions there. When I was doing the job in Saudi Gazette, it was not possible to take holidays always to travel to India. In fact, I had lost my interest in print media in which I worked for 12-years. I think 12 years is enough to get a lot of experience in work.

When did you start this project of your film?
I started a year ago. I wrote a script of the film. It took almost a year to write a script because I working at Saudi Gazette “which kept me busy”. Moreover, I approached a production house as well and for that purpose, I visited India several times. Now I have become the first Saudi Bollywood director and writer.

What difference did you find between the two line of work?
As I said, I just changed the medium, but I am still in media. The basic thing is to convey your message. I will convey my message through production media rather than print media now as production media is a more powerful way of communication. I have 12-years’ experience, and I know much about the how to convey my message. Filmmaking is story telling, and I know how to tell it to people. I will do my job as a director to control the things as per Saudi aspect. Rest of the job will be done by my team. Everybody will have a certain responsibility of his expertise.

What is the title of your film?
It’s title is ‘Reem’. This name is unique and perfect as far as the demand of my script. Reem is the name of the heroine of the film.

Why did you choose Bollywood?
Bollywood is a powerful and developed industry. I believe Bollywood is the best source to introduce the Saudi way to the world.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no cinema house, and there is no trend of films, then what do you think about the film production in Saudi Arabia, or as a Saudi filmmaker?
My film is a Bollywood movie. It is not a Saudi movie. It will be released worldwide. The relation of Saudi Arabia with this movie is that the director and writer of the film (I) am a Saudi national, and the characters of the movie are Saudis as per the storyline. Some actors will also be Saudis in this movie. Some 20 minutes movie shooting will be done in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah). People in Saudi Arabia can see this movie in DVDs same as they are used to watch other Bollywood movies.

Do you think there is a lot of scope for filmmaking in Saudi?
Movie making in Saudi Arabia is not particularly advanced like other countries of the world. But with time, Saudi film industry will also groom. We have to wait and watch patiently. Some Saudi filmmakers have come forward, and many young people keep coming to join this field. I have connected the Saudi cinema to Bollywood through my film. This is also a positive step for the progress of Saudi film industry.

Please shed light on your struggle to come towards a film director?
It was a hard task to get the director’s card from Bollywood film association. I got a writers’ card as well from writers’ association of Bollywood. Now I am eligible to work under Sana Solkar productions as a director. The script is also being registered now. It took a year to get all those formalities done. Going to Mumbai while doing a job as a journalist was itself challenging. I had to manage the job as well. At last I resigned from my job because it was becoming difficult to manage both.

Have you done any diploma or training course to become a film director?
I have done an online course, but one can only do this job by experiencing it. In production house, there is a whole team which do their job as per their i expertise. Everyone has his responsibility. Being a writer of the script, I will see that the things are done as per my imagination and thought. I will also take care the Saudi aspect of the film. The Bollywood aspect will be handled by my assistant director who is the experienced person. I will have many associates who will handle their responsibilities and hence it is not an issue that I must have any previous experience. A writer can be a director of his/her own film.

How is your film different from others?
First of all, it is a first Saudi-Indian venture. So this is a unique aspect of my film. The story is very new and is inspired by a true incidence.The story and characters of the film have never been presented in any movie earlier. Unique and new things are always being welcomed in Bollywood.

Your idea and opinion about the film and cast?
The cast will consist on known faces. The casting will be done by casting director and the final decision about the cast will be mine being a director. Production house does not start casting now. It will take time. Filmmaking is a time consuming work, so the process is going slow. I am working patiently and in an organized way with the production house.