About Najaf Bilgrami
Najaf Bilgrami returned to Karachi after studying filmmaking at London Film School and decided to largely devote his life to filmmaking, cinematography in particular
. In 2004 he was the Dop ofBhuliHuiHoonDastan, a feature length documentary about the demise and possible comeback of Pakistani film industryandhas been screened at The South Asian Film Festival New York 2005, KARA Film Festival 2004, Bite the Mango Film Festival – Bradford 2005, The Delhi Digital Film Festival 2005, and ‘PehliDhahdkan’ Pakistani Film Festival – Glasgow 2005. The film has played at schools and universities across the country and internationally, and recently aired on both Geo and Geo News as part of the ‘Geomentary’ series.
In 2005 he shot and directed the short filmMind The Gap which was screened later at 2005 Kara Film Festival and in that process brought about his own film company Kaneeza Films. Earlier that year he had wrote, directed and lit the hit television serial Six Degrees for HUM TV, a local tv network.
In 2006 he filmed Pakistan’s first HD film Zibahkhana (Hellsground) as cinematographer which was produced by Bubonic Films and was shown around the world in more than 25 film festivals, winning the Jury award for best film at Rio Fan Film Festival at Rio De Janeiro in 2008.
In 2008 he was part of the Berlinale Talent Campus.
In 2009 Najaf co directed and filmed the documentary Wagah with SupriyoSen that went on to win the Berlin Today Award at the 59thBerlinale 2009.
Later that year he kept himself busy with projects that were for corporate clients and local television.
The end of 2009 and start of 2010 Najaf Bilgrami took over coordinator ship of Media Sciences at ShaheedZulfiqar Ali Bhutto institute of Science & Technology. As part of the coordinator ship he headed the biggest student film festival in Pakistan called Zab Film Festival (ZFF 2010).
In 2009 Najaf concentrated on independent projects likeShama, second short produced by Kaneeza Films which is directed and cinematographed by him with a screenplay by award winning writer ShandanaMinhas.
Keeping himself busy with corporate and independent documentary work throughout 2010 and his responsibilities at SZABIST Media Science Department, Najaf started working on FadiHindash directed documentary film called Madarsa, about the lives of students living and studying Quran and living in Madarsas according to the tenents of islam while being aware of the world outside.
Throughout the first half of 2011he shot for Islamic Development Bank, a series of documentaries that would take him to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Jordan and Senegal. All muslim populated countries which are being helped by IDB to uplift poverty from their respective regions through micro finance. The project was produced by Newsline films.
The second half of 2011 Najaf took on the project as a Dp to shoot Sonja Fatah’s I, Dance, the story of classical dance in Pakistan during and after military dictator ship.
Najaf continues to teach at SZABIST (ShaheedZulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology) as a permanent faculty member covering subjects such as cinematography and film and television production.
2012 also saw the successful launch of Frequency FM 109, the comedy show on a national network channel. This show is produced , directed and photographed by Najaf and it successfully launches Kaneeza Films as a major content provider in drama and marks a return for Najaf Bilgrami to the world of fiction narrative. Recently Najaf wrapped up a documentary as a Dop for award winning director MehreenJabbar about women’s role in sub continental music.
And later saw him do further work for ARY Digital Network. Najaf directed an Eid play for the channel that got the highest TRP rating for any eid transmission that year and currently he is directing independent one off plays for their upcoming series.
The later half of the year 2012 took kaneeza films to Bangladesh where they helped Newsline films do their corporate video about IDB founded projects throughout Bangladesh.
In Nov 2012 Najaf was asked to Dp a feature film, Dukhtar to be produced by Crew Films & directed by Afia Nathanial that was shot in the picturesque Hunza Valley. Dukhtar is an international project to be released in festivals later this year (Toronto Film Festival in Sept) and in Cinemas from 14 August 2014. Earlier in June 2014 the premier of I, Dance happened in India and in Pakistan to great reviews.
Also in the early part and throughout the year 2014 the TV projects NaramGaram and Cheetay have kept Najaf occupied in which he directs, produces, acts and sometimes does occasional camera work.
Also in 2014 Najaf co produced, co directed and Dp the made for TV film Nain Takia. Nain Takia is an adaptation of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Nain Takia is written by the long time collaborator AdarshAyaz who also co produced and co directed the film. The film aired on Hum Sitary on 2nd day of Eid I 2014.