Writer and director Nuh Omar’s passion for film has spanned practically his entire lifetime; and, like many young film geniuses destined for incalculable success, he began honing his talents at an early age.
“I started recording films with my parent’s video camera and my action figures,” Omar said. “I joke with my peers that I made ‘big-budget-effects movies’ about The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and Spiderman years before the studios got to them.”
Just like the superheroes he idolized as a boy, his powers evolved as he grew into a man, and today he is one of the most impressive names in screenwriting and directing; his passion still burns with that same spark, but his technique has come light years since those formative years.
Omar was born in Karachi, Pakistan but left with his family at an early age. So when he made his return to Pakistan to direct several tribute films for the Engro Corporation in 2012, his abilities were put to the test in more ways than one.
“I didn’t speak a word of Urdu at the time I landed, and I jumped into three massive projects for a large conglomerate,” Omar said. “I had to have a translator with me wherever I went, and I directed the crew using only hand gestures. Which only goes to show, the language of film is universal.”
The first of the three films was Shahid Sajjad - Mojiza-E-Fun, a documentary style film focusing on the life and work of renowned Pakistani sculptor Shahid Sajjad. Due to the fact that Sajjad was in the midst of old age and had fallen ill prior to the shooting of the film, Omar made the creative decision to focus the film on Sajjad's achievements in hopes of erecting an image of the sculptor in his prime rather than his current state of deterioration.
"My goal was to remove the actual subject of the film, sculptor Shahid Sajjad, from the piece, besides photos and stock footage of the man. It had to be a memory, a tribute to him," recalled Omar. “I wanted this film to be sensual, to hit every sense, like being in a dream that begins to fade.”
Giving audiences the feeling of looking through a time capsule, Shahid Sajjad - Mojiza-E-Fun encompassed Sajjad’s breathtaking work and life, and had a profound effect on the vice president of Engro Corporation, who reportedly began tearing up upon seeing Omar’s moving, emotional retrospective of the great artist’s life.
Serving as proof of Omar's brilliant vision as a director and his ability to adapt when faced with obstacles like that of speaking a different language than his cast and crew, Shahid Sajjad - Mojiza-E-Fun received incredible praise from audiences around Pakistan. The film, which Omar both wrote and directed, was shown alongside two other films he wrote and directed for the Engro Excellence Awards, a prestigious civilian award ceremony in Pakistan that honors individuals who have made notable contributions to the fields of art, social science, literature, social & humanitarian services and physical & applied science. The other two films focused on the work of Pakistani urologist Dr. Rizvi, and ex-UN Assistant Secretary General Dr. Hafeez A. Pasha.
Omar also wrote the script for the film ‘We’re Americans, Eh?,’ which tells the hilarious tale of two Canadians trying desperately to make it across the border into America. In an impressive display of raw storytelling talent, Omar manages to tell the richly detailed story with fully defined characters while staring down the film’s time constraints like the barrel of a gun. The film was an award winner at the well-known 24 Hour Film Race in the Los Angeles region in 2013 where it was voted by audiences as one of the Top 5 Films in the competition in addition to winning the award for Best Costume Design.
When it comes to film, Nuh Omar's passion extends beyond just writing and directing. In 2010 he served as the documentarian on the film Loves Me Not where he displayed his unique ability to capture the intense process the actors and filmmakers went through during the shooting of the film. Loves Me Not won the prestigious Crystal Reel Award in 2011 for best Director in the Short Film category, and was nominated in the cinematography category as well.
The film opens by leading audiences to believe that the main characters were merely lovers, but as Loves Me Not progresses viewers quickly realize their relationship was actually a case of modern-day slavery, with the heroine suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Omar's video footage captured the powerful tone that was present on the set and provided viewers with a somber look into the making of this gritty drama.
“Because of the sensitive, intimate and dark subject of the film, the environment of the set itself heavily reflected the subject matter,” Omar said. “We decided I would shoot video and stills of the cast and crew to capture the more ‘intimate’ moments of the production. It was more of a documentation of the creation of this project rather than some promotional photography.”
Omar's talents as a writer also garnered the attention of IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the leading advertising agency's in the world. Several years ago the company hired Omar as a creative writer, as such he has created more than a dozen advertising campaigns for corporate giants like Fortune 500 Company Procter & Gamble.
As Nuh Omar prepares for several upcoming projects set to begin shooting this year, his name is swiftly becoming the talk of the town.