Usman Mukhtar’s horror-theme directorial, Gulabo Rani just won the Best Short Film Award at the LA Sci-Fi & Horror Festival 2022!
The LA Film Festival took hold in 2001 as a Comedy Film Fest, and has since, kept adding multiple genres to the original 2001 launch. It now has 12 independent film festivals, including the Sci-Fi Film Fest for which short film Gulabo Rani worn the Leviathan Award for 2022. So get ready to be spooked as Gulabo Rani does the rounds at international film festivals in 2023 and is all set for a YouTube release in June 2023.
More About The Film
Usman Mukhtar’s latest venture ‘Gulabo Rani’ taps into the horror genre. He along with Meiraj Haq has produced the short film under the banner of their production house ‘Eastern Terrestrial Studios.’ The trailer got us intrigued. Seeing the dark frames, new faces, and a very fitting location, we had a few questions in mind so we reached out to Usman Mukhtar to get the inside scoop! Scroll down to know what he revealed to us about his upcoming short film.
Usman took to social media to share the news with his followers:
“Leviathan Platinum Award 2022.” read his pots with an elated caption to relay the news.
“Alhamdulillah! I’m super happy to announce that Gulabo Rani has won Best Short Film at the L.A. Sci-Fi & Horror Festival. I’m so proud of the entire team!” wrote Mukhtar excitedly.
1. The Story Behind The Location
The location you saw in the trailer wasn’t an easy find! Usman Mukhtar revealed that he was looking for a specific kind of university which they found in Pindi after tedious amounts of searching.
2. Why Horror?
In Pakistan, we don’t see enough content in the horror genre, and when we do, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. We were intrigued to ask Usman Mukhtar why he chose this genre specifically.
3. It’s Inspired By True Events!
Like the trailer wasn’t enough to scare us out of our wits, the story is actually inspired by true events. Yikes!
Usman Mukhtar had actually heard the story back in 2004-5. He got in touch with writer Ali Mudar, who also wrote Bench, and he started working on the first draft. Usman’s wife, Zunaira Inam Khan, being a research analyst, also stepped in and added a few things to the script Usman wanted.
4. Shot On A Low Budget
The budget constraints around the film almost had Usman Mukhtar and Meiraj Haq shelve the film! But because it was their first project, they turned to their own pockets to complete Gulabo Rani.
5. Were The Dark Frames Intentional?
Yes, they were! Usman Mukhtar wanted to shoot the film in a realistic manner and to set it apart from a commercial film. So much so, that they never had anyone wearing makeup on set, Usman was very strict about that!
The film, he added, was mostly shot at night, and keeping the horror genre in mind, he kept to darker frames.
6. How Long Did The Shoot Take?
To our surprise, the short film only took 3 and a half days to shoot!
Judging by the trailer, we are guessing a young student (played by Usama Javaid Haider) will be a new entrant at a university where his seniors will leave no stone unturned to scare him by making up stories about the university, and then…the tables turn. How, you ask? Watch the trailer below:
Usman was all praises for the NAPA talent we will be watching in the film, especially Usama Javaid Haider. Through his platform Eastern Terrestrial Studios, he hopes to enlist more young actors and be instrumental in bringing new & promising talent to our screens. It is uplifting to see seasoned players in the industry take on challenges, play with ideas and invest their own resources to create what is not only their passion but also a great service to our industry. Fortunately, OTT platforms can help open up spaces for the abundance of potential we have amongst us – potential that needs to be tapped in order to create quality content for viewers within Pakistan and internationally as well.
We’ll be watching the film, in fact for his entire team, especially Usama Javaid,
Gulabo Rani has a run time of 30-35 minutes and is set to release by the end of June or early July. The cast includes Usama Javaid Haider, Meiraj Haq, Daniyal Khaqan Afzal, Omer Abdullah Khan, Natasha Humera Ejaz, and a special appearance by Khushhal Khan Khattak.
Special Credits To…
DOP – Furqan Gul, 1st Assistant Director – Pasha, 2nd Assistant Director – Afreen Alvi, Art Director – Tanveer Nawaz Khan, Costume & Stylist – Malaika Riasat, Sfx Artist – Rija Kashif Sheikh, Makeup assistant – Farheen Awais, Gaffer – Latif Rehmat, Sound – Ansar Somroo, Equipment – Bling studios, Light Team – Popa lights, Camera Team – Leyenda Films, Vfx Supervisor Azfar Jafri.
Special thanks to ChannelTek, Salmaan Shaukat, Bling Studios and Yasir Jaswal.
The spot boys included Bilal Khan, Shano Ahmed, Usman Zaheer, Rehan Yousaf, and M. Mustafa.
The movie was edited by Nadir Shahzad Khan.
Shout out to the Music Director MRKLE and Sound Designer Stardek.
The line production is done by Downtown Films.