Lollywood's newest star is home boy

A Bradford father and son are hoping their new actionpacked film will put their city on the map with a glittering premiere here.

Father-of-two Sahil Khan is starring in a Pakistani "Lollywood" film, called Dil Se Dil Tak, alongside his father Raja Tariq, who is also the producer and co-director.

The film was due to be released in the New Year but filming had to be brought to a halt when the head cameraman and his wife lost their lives in the South Asian earthquake.

Mr Khan, 26, of Pollard Lane, a former pupil at Priesthorpe School, Pudsey, studied information systems at Stafford-shire University before deciding to make his mark on the silver screen.

Speaking from a film set in Lahore he said: "We were filming in the area where the earthquake hit but left three days before it happened.

"Many of the places where we were filming were destroyed and we have had to reassess some of the scenes."

He added: "The cameraman who died was very well respected - one of the most senior people in his field. The industry has been hit hard."

The aspiring actor holds a black belt in karate and has been Bradford Open Champion three times.

He said: "One of the reasons I took this role up was because it was actionpacked and I wanted to use my science and martial arts background to introduce a new style into Pakistani films."

He added: "It was a totally different experience and totally different atmosphere from Bradford.

"I have been here in Pakistan nearly a year and a half and obviously I miss my family but it is the opportunity of a lifetime."

Before taking on the role Mr Khan had commando training - learning how to put together and take apart guns, flying a helicopter and horse riding. He has already had offers for four more films but is considering his options.

The film, set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, also counters myths surrounding Pakistani women.

Mr Tariq, 53, of Pollard Lane, has made his career as a film actor and producer in Lollywood - the Pakistani film industry based in Lahore.

He said: "We wanted to show that things have changed in Pakistan and women don't just stay at home. They have careers, they are doctors, lawyers, and even join the army."

He said the film would now be ready at the beginning of May and would be released simultaneously in Britain, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Mr Tariq said the film premiere would be held in Bradford and added: "We want to have the name of Bradford recognised throughout the world.

"We are Bradford people and want to do something important for the city."

LOLLYWOOD IN BRIEF

Lollywood refers to the Pakistani film industry, based in the city of Lahore. The name is a combination of "Lahore" and "Hollywood". During the 1930s the movies made in Lahore were under the influence of Hollywood movies, not just in the stories or action or drama but the acting, the makeup and the costumes as well.

The heroes would appear like Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn. The reason for this is thought to be an attempt by Lahore to establish its own identity separate from that of the film industry in Bombay, India.

Pakistani film has not always been in such a parlous sate. In the 70s and early 80s, the industry boasted eleven studios that produced over a hundred films annually. But in the face of stiff competition via the recent spread of cable television and the influx of pirated Bollywood videos, Lollywood's annual output has dropped to forty films - mostly produced by a single studio.

NOTABLE PAKISTANI FILMS

TERI YAAD (1948): The first Pakistani film ever released, starring Nasir Khan - brother of Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar.

CHAN WAY (1951): The first Pakistani film directed by a woman, Noor Jehan.

DARSHAN (1967): Hugely popular soundtrack; lyrics, composition and playback singing all by Basheer Ahmed. Heavily influenced by the Hindi hit "Jab Jab Phool Khile".

BAHARAIN PHIR BHII AYENGI (1969): Music composed by Pakistan's first female music director, though the most popular song on the soundtrack is plagiarised from the song "Aajkal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche" from the Hindi film "Brahamachari."

AINA (1977): One of the most popular Pakistani films ever; ran for four years in theatres.

INTERNATIONAL GORILLAY (1990): Based on Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. The author is the villain in the film, played by Afzal Ahmad.

KHOYE HO TUM KAHAN AND MOOSA KHAN (2001): Both superhits at the box-office.

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