Pakistan’s film industry is ailing no more




dobara phir say

What if a handful of films were released in the first-half of 2016 … and what if none of them managed to succeed like Jawani Phir Nahi Ani.

In the second-half of this year a slew of movies from our film-makers are slated for release. While some are big-budget ventures, others are romantic comedies and a few are full-throttle action films. Will they be able to sustain in the competitive environment alongside Hollywood and Bollywood ventures? Who knows! But one thing is certain and that is: Pakistan’s once-ailing film industry is ailing no more.

This Eid-ul-Fitr, two Pakistani films will grace the screens and vie for attention with Salman Khan’s Sultan. One of them is Jamshaid Jan Mohammad’s Sawal 700 Crore Dollar Ka whereas the other is Faisal Bukhari’s Blind Love.

There are underwater sequences, aerial shots and car chases in Sawaal 700 Crore Dollar Ka, which pits veterans Javed Sheikh and Ghulam Mohiuddin together after 18 years (last seen together in 1998’s Khal Nayak). Shamoon Abbasi plays the good guy for a change while Ghulam Mohiuddin’s son, Ali Mohiuddin, makes his debut with model Qurat ul Ain. Add veteran Nasir Adeeb’s hard-hitting dialogues (hopefully) and you have a heist film where $700 Crores are literally at stake.

Director Faisal Bukhari will try to resurrect his film career after Sultanat bombed at the box office (others would have changed their team but Faisal Bukhari joins hands with Pervez Kaleem yet again) with Blind Love. One hopes that the result is different this time round, although the odds seem to be against it. Film veteran Mustafa Qureshi’s son Aamir will make his debut in this venture where Indian-import Yasir Shah, Mathira Mohammed and newcomer Nimra Khan can be seen in pivotal roles. There is also a Butter Jawani item number in the movie.


3 Bhadur

Come August and there are as many as three films lined up for release. Actor Rehan Sheikh will make his film debut as a director with Azad that will also see him in the title role. It will also be Sanam Saeed’s third release this year (Bachaana, Mah-i-Meer). The trailer was released a few weeks back and it will be good to see TV actors Sabreen Hasbani and Zahid Ahmed as well as theatre actress Nimra Buccha on the big screen.

The same month Mehreen Jabbar’s Dobara Phir Se featuring Hareem Farooq, Adeel Husain, Ali Kazmi, Sanam Saeed and Shaz Khan might be released. The film was all set to compete with Sultan on Eid-ul-Fitr but was smartly moved to a later date.

Hassan Waqas Rana’s Yalghaar could find itself competing with Azad & DPS since its release was moved ahead from July. The film features Shaan Shahid, Humayun Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui, Bilal Ashraf along with Sana Buccha, Ayesha Omar, Armeena Khan; and is based on a real-life military operation conducted in the Swat region.


Lahore say agay

This year, Eid-ul-Azha falls in September (last year’s Jawani Phir Nahi Ani was released around the same time and kept running successfully in cinemas till December). Will Azfar Jafri’s Janaan featuring Armeena Khan, Bilal Ashraf and Ali Rehman be able to do a JPNA; will Fahad Mustafa’s second outing with the makers of Na Maloom Afraad (Fizza Ali Meerza, Nabeel Qureshi) and Om Puri’s debut venture Actor In Law succeed at the box office? Throw Anjum Shehzad’s Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (Sajal Ali, Feroze Khan) into the equation and Eid-ul-Azha becomes the most anticipated time of the year for film lovers.

Lahore Se Aagey — Wajahat Rauf’s sequel to Karachi Se Lahore — is all set for a November release. The flick will mark the full-fledged debut of Saba Qamar as a leading lady (Manto had her in a supporting role) while fans of Yasir Hussain would be able to see Moti in action for the second time in two years. The film also marks the return of Behroze Sabzwari to films after a long time. Veteran actress Rubina Ashraf will make her film debut alongside theatre actors Umar Sultan and Abdullah Farhatullah.

In December, two time Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will welcome both the young and the old in the world of 3 Bahadur — The Revenge of Baba Balaam, the sequel to her successful animated flick from last year.


sawal 700 coror ka

The first instalment of the movie had three kids with superpowers — Aamna, Saadi and Kaamil — dealing with Mangu and Baba Balaam. In the sequel, Baba Balaam is likely to be back as it was teased in the original movie. Furthermore, this time around the voiceover of 3B2 will have Ahmed Ali Butt, Fahad Mustafa and Sarwat Gillani, in addition to Behroze Sabzwari and the three kids.

Finally something about those films that may or may not grace the screens later this year. Hashim Nadeem’s Abdullah that won praise at Cannes last year is ready for release, but the distributors aren’t sure when to give the film a based on Kharotabad incident a go-ahead. Same is the case with Badal — Revenge of the Worthless, Jamal Shah’s directorial venture that deals with terrorism and extremism. It has been postponed repeatedly since its initial release date of May 2015.

Shehzad Rafique’s Salute, a biopic about the martyr Aitzaz Hasan, has been in the works for some time but doesn’t have a release date. Same is the case with Sangeeta’s Tum Hi To Ho, Noor Bukhari’s comeback venture Ishq Positive and Umair Fazli’s Saya-i-Khuda-i-Zuljalal the release dates of which are yet to be announced.

Work on Mohsin Ali’s Chupan Chupai is in full swing and while the comedy would mark the return of Sakina Samo to films (last seen in Syed Kamal’s Siyasat in 1985), it will also introduce TV actress Neelam Muneer to films besides being Ahsan Khan’s comeback to Urdu films (not counting the 2013 Punjabi flick Ishq Khuda and the hopeless 2014’s Sultanat).

The release dates of Moammer Rana’s Sikandar featuring himself, Nadeem Baig and Farhan Ally Agha; Saad Shafaat’s Two Plus Two which also marks the return of Babra Sharif on screen; Omar Hassan’s Dance Kahani and veteran director Syed Noor’s Bhai Wanted and Price of Honour haven’t been announced yet. There is a strong possibility that Sahir Lodhi’s debut movie as actor/director, Raasta, might also release some time in the second-half 2016, but will that window suit the Pakistani SRK remains to be seen.