In an interview with Khaleej Times, the cast talks about how PHJ is more than just a patriotic venture.
“The best part of this film is that we are not against any country,” mentions Abbasi. “We are focusing on the bigger war that Pakistan is part of. We feel that the world does not recognise us for what we truly are. The world is a safer place literally thanks to Pakistan.”
The Mann Mayal actor shares, “We want other governments to understand that we are not the perpetrators of war, in fact, we are the victims and we are the main force which has defeated global terrorism and we want the world to recognise that.”
Abbasi, who has previously worked in another patriotic film, Bilal Lashari’s Waar, which starred superstar Shaan and Ayesha Khan in lead roles, reveals that Pakistanis will be proud of what the makers have tried to show in PHJ.
“Any Pakistani will be proud of this film and we want all the Pakistanis to think about the sacrifices that the Air Force has made in this war against terror. If you are not a Pakistani and you watch the film then I hope many misconceptions about our country will be cleared,” adds Abbasi.
PHJ is a film of many firsts. While the project is touted as PAF’s debut film venture, it is also the first movie to have a female cadet in a pivotal role.
Hania Aamir’s character, Sania is a strong-headed, iron-willed Air Force cadet who came back from the US to serve in the force. The film was shot in real cadet colleges, hence most of the cadets were under training at the academy during their shoot.
So, how did she actually prep for the role?
“We would wake up really early and have breakfast with the cadets. We would do the daily drills along with them. From -21 degrees to +40 degrees, we have worked really hard with them at various temperatures. I spent a lot of time with the officers and the cadets, therefore I could respect the uniform that we wore much more,” says Aamir.
“It is a fact that the Pakistani Air Force is one of the few in the world to have the highest ratio of female combat pilots. It is the only Air Force in the Muslim world which has female combat pilots,” adds Abbasi. “We are not trying to portray the positive image of Pakistan but we are trying to portray the real image of Pakistan. We want to show the language, landscape, culture and beauty of Pakistan.”
“PHJ is our attempt to take Pakistan to the world through our cinema because unfortunately our introduction to the world has only been through the news channels and that’s not a really good introduction. So that’s what we are hoping for and praying for,” concludes the Jawani Phir Nahi Ani star.