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Beer bar singer, scriptwriter and now Pakistani film director

Mumbai: From the beer bars of Mumbai to the arc lights in Pakistan, it has been a long journey for Shagufta Rafique. The girl who was pulled out of Mumbai`s murky bylanes by Mahesh Bhatt to write script of films like "Woh Lamhe" is now set to make her directorial debut with a Pakistani film.

Rafique, who used to sing in beer bars due to financial constraints, has chosen the story of a rape victim for her first directorial venture.

"Humayun Saeed is a very famous Pakistani actor. He approached me to write a script. While I was working on the script, I realised that no one better than me would be able to express it (on screen) because no one would be able to bring out the soul of this film better than me. So I told Humayun that I want to direct it and he was kind enough to agree," Rafique told IANS in an interview.

Titled "Daag", it will focus on how a rape victim survives the rejection of society and the behaviour of friends and family.

"I will start pre-production of the film in some time and if all goes well the film will hit the floor at the end of October. Also, I`m yet to finalise the female lead of the film," she said.

The shooting of "Daag" will take place in Lahore and Karachi.

Asked why she chose Pakistan as a backdrop for her directorial debut, Rafique said it was not planned.

"I had not planned that I would make my direction debut in Pakistan. It so happened that Humayun came to me with the script and I decided to direct it.

I want to make films for Bollywood as well. Let`s see when that happens," said Rafique.

The writer, who has so far worked only with Bhatts` Vishesh Films, was associated with the small screen as a writer before a financial crunch rocked her life and she ended up in a beer bar.

The course of her life changed when Bhatt hired her to write some part of his film "Kalyug" in 2004.

There was no looking back after that. Rafique went on to be part of films like "Raaz: The Mystery Continues" and "Jashnn".

A grateful Rafique says she will accept any offer from Vishesh Films even if she becomes a successful director one day.

"This is the company that pulled me out from where I was. I would like to work with them forever. Even if I become a very successful director and I`m very busy, I will still take out time for them and write for them," said Rafique.

Apart from "Daag", she is also working on two of Mahesh Bhatt`s films, one of which will be directed by Mohit Suri.

She is also co-writing the script of Bhatt`s "Chandu", about slain student leader Chandrashekhar Prasad.

IANS

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