November 29, 2016

Assam Born Australian Saaz Haque Making Waves

An Australian Assamese, the Guwahati born and bred Saaz Haque has led quite an eventful life, earning quite a reputation in a number of high profile professions, while working as an Income Tax Lawyer, Company Secretary and Supreme Court Lawyer in Delhi, Income Tax Officer with the New Zealand Tax Department (Inland Revenue Department IRD) in Auckland, Chartered Secretary & Legal Consultant with a prominent corporate group in UK, before moving on with his current professional career as Chartered Secretary and Supreme Court Solicitor in Australia.

However, the reputation of Saaz Haque is not limited to his immediate profession. He has been an obsessive cinema producer who has practically lived and breathed movies while living in Australia for nearly two decades. As someone who has been at the intersection of Assam and Australia for years, Saaz Haque has so far produced three feature films in between his professional career as a lawyer - an Assamese movie titled ‘A Weekend’, an Australian - ‘The Three Ages of Sasha’, in addition to a Bollywood project titled ‘Sunrise’.

Driven by a passion for film as an art form and a strong desire to return to his roots, his long standing dream to do a movie about a subject relevant to Assam for a bigger audience came to fruition in September 23, 2011, with 'A Weekend', which he produced from his own story. Interestingly, 'A Weekend', directed by Diganta Mazumdar and starring artistes like Jayanta Bhagawati, Debojit Mazumdar, Hiranya Deka, Pabitra Barua, Padmarag Goswami, Diganta Hazarika, Madhusmita Saikia, Pakija Begum, Aquid Zaman, among others, turned out to be a huge disappointment both commercially and critically. But it didn’t deter him from moving on to his more ambitious projects.

Haque was quite keen to explore a new story in Assam that reflected his upbringing, but then he got himself involved as an associate producer and a story-writer with his first Australian movie project - ‘The Three Ages of Sasha’, which was his first real experience in the movie industry as a story, screenplay writer and co-producer. The movie made in 2012 in Melbourne was helmed by London-based director of Indian origin Prabir Dutta. This independent, low-budget thriller revolved around domestic violence involving an Indian man, his Australian wife and their daughter Sasha who is afflicted with a rare psychiatric illness called ‘Manchausen Syndrome’. The film was received quite well at the Sydney and Adelaide International Film Festivals in 2013.

Haque felt proud to be associated as a co-producer and co-writer with his third project, an Indo-French joint venture titled ‘Sunrise’. “It was a very challenging and exciting experience for me while getting involved in this Bollywood feature which was made with very little dialogues”, said Haque. Starring Adil Hussain and Tannistha Chatterjee, and directed by Partho Sen-Gupta, the psychological thriller based on child prostitution and missing children, earned universal admiration from critics at the festival circuit, including the BFI London Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival, the Mumbai International Film Festival, Morocco International Film Festival, among others, which surprised everyone, including Haque. The movie was a good example of connecting the right talent with the right content. It was completed in 2014 but got released in the theatres only in March this year.

Haque is also a trained film producer having undergone a course in motion picture production, in addition to learning the craft of story, screenplay writing from a reputable film institution in Australia. Similar courses should be there in Assam too as its necessary for producers to have a proper grasp of the technical, creative and financial aspects of filmmaking before undertaking a project.

While maintaining a rigorous work ethic, Haque, who owns his law farm in Sydney, recently appeared on a Full Bench Trial matter before the ‘Honorable Court of Appeal’ in Australia.

At the moment, Haque is busy producing a ten-episode Web Series being made in Bollywood. He has also extended his interests into the arena of acting, which he is extremely passionate of. Interestingly, he has been selected for a year long diploma course in acting at the prestigious film institute - New York Film Academy next year. Haque is now all set to produce a film in Australia while being aware of the challenges that the movie industry down under is facing at the moment.


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