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Spotlight: Fahim Burney

Favourite Movie: City of Angels, Arth, and Rang De Basanti
Favourite Actor: Nana Patekar
Favourite Singers: Abida Parveen and Fuzon
Favourite Books: Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes and Daniel Steal’s No Greater Love

“My first feature film as a director couldn’t appeal to the masses because I was new in this field. I did not have enough knowledge and experience of cinema. It was my dream to make a good movie that will also prove to be a thorough cinematic experience, but there were many directorial flaws in the movie. I don’t blame my actors for that. I accept my mistakes and will learn from them in future,” says Faheem Burney in his trademark courteous style.

The name Faheem Burney is synonymous with high quality drama serials on television. Having the reputation of being a dependable director, he has now taken a giant stride with some of his latest projects that star many well known faces from the Indian television fraternity.

With hardly any time to spare from his 24-hours-seven-days-a- week schedule, he still takes out enough time for some entertainment and serious reading. Being an artist himself, it comes as no surprise that his interests are mostly propelled towards works of art that offer a certain degree of technical and creative maturity.

Starting off with his choice in movies he bluntly names City of Angels, Philadelphia and Rang De Basanti as movies that he thinks have clearly defined theme and their execution does full justice to it. “From Hollywood, I would pick City of Angels as my all time favourite movie because whatever has been shown in this movie is an interpretation of our Holy Quran about life after death and its details. It seems that the goray have understood the intricate concepts of our Holy Book better than us.” Other than this, from Hollywood, Faheem was also very fascinated by Tom Hank’s Philadelphia. “The movie narrates the struggle of an AIDS patient faces in his fight for his rights,” discloses Faheem.

From Bollywood, he likes any sort of movie that has a good script and a commercial appeal to some extent. “From the current lot of movies, I have liked Amir Khan’s Rang De Basanti a lot. I think it is an amazing depiction of the youth and the story itself is woven in a fine way. It displays a very interesting concept and its commendable how the Indian government has shown a clean chit to the movie to be displayed across the country.”

But his all time favourite Indian movie is Arth. As he prefers to work on women-oriented subjects in his plays, he also likes movies that revolve around some of the salient issues affecting women in society. Another movie that has inspired this ace director is Nana Patekar starrer Parinda. “Besides the execution of the film, I liked Anil Kapoor’s and Nana Patekar’s performances that were definitely award worthy.”

Talking of movies from Bollywood he speaks about the need for the Indian and Pakistani artists to collaborate on a single platform and do some really quality work in performing arts. “It’s about time that we come close and start working,” declares Burney. He adds, “I am not in a favour of taking your entire setup in India and doing the whole thing over there. There should be a balance between the dominance of our artists and technicians and theirs. It would not only gives us an opportunity to learn from each other but also to get an insight into each other’s culture, which is essential for a smooth political development. Besides that, people also want to see new faces. It’s not that our artists are in anyway inferior, in terms of talent, to their Indian counterparts. It’s just that they have been on the screen for such a long time and how long can you expect an artists to do the same thing again and again? Even our artists would get something new to do in India.”

As for music, Faheem prefers to listen to soft and scintillating numbers only, no hard rock or loud music of any kind. He is particularly fond of romantic Pakistani and Indian songs. He sings praises of the Pakistani band Fuzon by saying that they are among the few here who actually know their art. He also shares a deep connection with Abida Parveen’s and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music.

As for the commercial Bollywood tunes he says, “I like Indian filmi music but I think the remixes that the industry has been churning out of late has a very bad taste. I like the original old numbers. Lata Mageshkar’s and Asha ji’s old hits still sound very fresh to me. If you want to me choose my favourite number than it would be Lata Ji’s Jiya Jalay Jaan Jalay from the movie Dil Se.”

Burney is an avid reader and is mostly drawn towards fiction — no wonder he can prolifically pen down stories of his own that leaves his viewers hungry for more. Sidney Sheldon and Daniel Steal are Faheem’s favourite authors and he has read both these authors quite extensively. Giving a brief synopsis of Daniel Steal’s No Greater Love, a book that he found really inspiring, he says “It is a story of a young girl and her courage and how she had to sacrifice her love in order to save her younger siblings when Titanic sank. When her siblings grew older later in the book, they abandoned her.”

Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes, according to Faheem, has some very well defined characters that form the main fabric of the book. “I fell in love with Tracy Whitney’s character in the book and I formed a picture of her in my mind but when I saw the movie, I literally hated that character. It was a very tasteless adaptation of the book and the persona that Whitney possessed in the book was clearly missing in the movie. I still like the original Whitney from the book and I wish I can bring that Whitney to screen myself in one of my plays. Let’s see how much resemblance does my version of Whitney bear to the original one.”

The creative artiste in Faheem finds inspiration from the books he reads, the movies he watches and to some extent the music he listens to.

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