A TV grab of the world’s most infamous and wanted man, Osama Bin Laden, sitting in front of a screen with a map of the globe behind him. With an unanimated expression, the turbaned terrorist passes his decree in, what we assume, is Afghani on his newest terror spate. The camera rolls out and the same turbaned terrorist breaks into crisp Delhi Punjabi and abuses wearing a comical expression.
This conflicting image of Laden is the basic premise of debutant filmmaker Abhishek Sharma’s upcoming flick, Tere Bin Laden. Starring Pakistani singer Ali Zafar and Piyush Misra, amongst a bunch of new stage actors, Tere Bin Laden, is a story set in Pakistan, about a reporter (Zafar), who plants fake videos of Laden threatening to take over the world, in order to score a lot of airspace at his new Channel, Danka TV.
Creating reel Osama
Sharma explains that he got the idea when his wife nudged him jokingly. “I was wearing a scarf around my head and I hadn’t shaved for days. My beard had grown really long. My wife looked at me and said I looked like Osama Bin Laden. That set me thinking and I started wondering how it would be to mimic someone like Osama on screen,” Sharma says, adding how the hunt for an Osama-look alike was the most challenging one.
“We auditioned hundreds of actors in and around Delhi, because we wanted someone who fit the description and could do justice to the aura and diction of the public figure,” Sharma opines. Over reels of footage, he finally zeroed in on a Delhi friend, Pradhuman Singh, with whom he’d done theatre a few years ago. “He fit into the garb perfectly. We had to work on diction and stance. That made me go back to the drawing board and I sat over reels of Osama’s footage. I did my research, read through all the books I could find on him,” Sharma describes.
That’s not it. Besides creating Laden, Sharma chose Pakistan as the setting for Tere Bin Laden. “The movie is set in Karachi, so we recreated the streets and the setting in Goregaon and Hyderabad. We spent a lot of time in Pakistan to study the place well. We even had to understand the C and the lifestyle of the people to incorporate the same in our Pakistan set,” Sharma explains. He even roped in Pakistani writer Sayed Mohammed Ahmed to help tutor the diction of the cast, besides co-write the dialogues of the movie. Barry John worked as an acting coach to add that urban Pakistani flavour.
“This movie is for the Pakistani. It’s about them and their lifestyle. Yes, we are breaking the mould. Tere Bin Laden couldn’t possibly have been set in India. It’s about Pakistani culture.
“I just have a take on it, which is why Ali (Zafar) was such a brilliant person to be chosen,” asserts Sharma.