Love Conquers All
Exploring the marital abuse of young girls who are forced into marriages by their families.
Pehla Pehla Pyar is the story of an aspiring young male singer who is in love with a girl in his college. However, the girl’s brother tricks her into getting married to a wealthy man who is much older than her. The young lovers won’t give up without a fight and, after many intricate twists and turns, are eventually reunited. In exploring the marital abuse of young girls who are forced into marriages by their families, Pehla Pehla Pyar melds the seemingly incongruous styles of social love story and the musical. Cinematographer Ameer Lal Syed points out that this story is unique, as films made in the India subcontinent usually feature lead actresses that are both young and single, whereas the story of Pehla Pehla Pyar touches a nerve because the lead boy is getting together with a divorced woman, a taboo subject widely disliked in Indian society.
Another element unique to Pehla Pehla Pyar is the fact that the film is the first ever Indian-Pakistani co-production, with most of the crew from India, while the cast and director are from Pakistan.
Made by production company Mubasher Lucman Films for RS 40 million, principal photography for Pehla Pehla Pyar took place over 35 days and features locations from Thailand, Dubai and Sharjah. Syed describes the film as "very natural and mature in terms of emotions. It also deals with a variety of lifestyles and locations." In order to provide visual differentiation between the film’s sequences, Syed decided to use a combination of several Kodak stocks, Eastman EXR 50D 5245, Vision 250D 5246, Vision 500T 5279 and VISION2 500T 5218.
In pre-production, the Cinematographer conducted tests pushing each of the stocks two stops. The results of the two-stop force-development are clearly evident in the film’s first major set-piece, an elaborate scene staged at the spectacularly lavish home of a businessman in Thailand. As Syed points out. "Two months before the movie went into production, we began testing for the sequence. The lights we used were very low-wattage, but had a really magical quality and the effect is enhanced by the force-developing. Even to the naked eye, the visual impact of that set-up was sensational. In darkly lit environments, such as when we used the flashing headlights of an approaching vehicle in the desert, we used VISION2 5218 extensively, because this stock is tailormade to capture fine details and provide a great color balance. In one particular sequence, the Director insisted on using the natural sunset with no lights; I was concerned that the faces would be too dark but the results have been exhilarating."
"Pehla Pehla Pyar was a total commitment job" says Syed. "When you work with Mubasher, you eat, drink and sleep the movie, and you’re under contract to him, body and soul. But he allows you the time to get everything absolutely right, a quality so rare, as most directors are pressing hard to do the maximum number of scenes in a day’s shift, sometimes at the expense of quality but not him, which is what I found so rewarding working on this film."