Stories about Pakistani Film Industry

With no star power, Chalay Thay Saath is one bumpy ride

Pakistani directors and producers often misunderstand the movement to revive Pakistani cinema. This year has seen numerous below average movies, thus questioning the merit and authenticity of the command in filmmaking; movies like Thora Jee Le, Whistle and Raasta. Let’s see if Umer Adil’s latest venture, Chalay Thay Saath will be able to break this dry spell. The film doesn’t seem to have any star power, thus it makes one question – can a movie with no crowd-pullers make it big in the box office? Zain (Osama Tahir) and Tania (Mansha Pasha), who are on the verge of separation, plan a farewell road trip for Resham (Syra Shahroz). They ...

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For better or worse, Janaan is a step in the right direction

The Macmillan Dictionary defines a romantic-comedy as, “A funny movie, play or television program about a love story that ends happily.”  Janaan is just that, but it’s not funny in the ordinary sense of the word. The film, directed by Azfar Jafri and co-produced by Reham Khan, is a latter-day ode to Pakhtun identity and heritage. It is a story about Meena, played by Armeena Khan, who returns from Canada to attend her cousin’s wedding in Swat, but falls in love with her adopted cousin. On paper, it sounds appreciable to the Pakistani viewer, and for the most part, the outcome on the screen is adequately gratifying. The stunning introductory shots ...

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Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai: One of the better Pakistani movies of 2016

The Pakistani film industry was once known for great dialogues, amazing stories, and family-oriented dramas with significant entertainment value – that was between the 70s and 80s mostly. Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay will be hitting the cinema screens in Pakistan this Eid. The film is packed with nostalgic reminders of all the aforementioned elements. It is the second directorial venture of Anjum Shahzad (his first was Mah-e-Mir (2016)). It marks the film debut of the main leads, which include Sajal Ali, Feroze Khan and Jibrayl Ahmed. The story revolves around Zain (Feroze Khan) and Mahira (Sajal Ali) who accidently bump into each other. Their love ...

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Will Rang Raaz: The Secret of Colour be a step forward in Pakistani cinema?

Making it as an independent filmmaker in Pakistan is not easy. Having a film industry that consistently puts dance numbers, good-looking actors and fancy costumes over character, story and plot is bad enough. But the fact that studios here are not ready to invest and original ideas only makes it worse. But that hasn’t stopped aspiring filmmaker and playwright Hamza Bangash from bringing his ideas to life and overcoming a number of barriers that can come in the way of any aspiring filmmaker. In 2014, his short film Badal premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Metrage, which is an incredible achievement in itself. And now, two ...

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We do not need ‘billis’ to flaunt our ‘jawani’ in Lollywood

After successfully objectifying women in the ‘100 glorious years of Indian cinema’, Bollywood now recognises its part in influencing commoners, what till now has been ‘a bad influence’. It took Bollywood God knows how many Jyoti Singhs to realise what a mess their sexist approach in cinema has caused in populous India. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry that our neighbours are in trouble; our fellow women are not safe. But at the moment, I’m more concerned about how all this affects Pakistan. Our cinema is going through an interesting phase of its revival, but the same sexist approach has come to trouble us too. Recent ...

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3 Bahadur – Another Lollywood milestone

Rewind 10 or 15 years from today to look at the shape and size of the Pakistani film industry, rather hilariously named as Lollywood, and you will not be able to help but wonder – how on earth did they come such a long way? From the days of dancing actresses trying to seduce their lovers in green fields to ground breaking movies like Bol, Waar, Na Maloom Afraad, Dukhtar, Zinda Bhaag and the likes – the progress and escalation of Lollywood in the right direction is very apparent. There’s a clear improvement in the scripts, the screenplay, direction and every aspect of the movie you would once laugh ...

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The Pakistani film industry in its ‘survival’ phase

Well into my interview with Afia Nathaniel, the Dukhtar movie director puts me on the spot. I am meeting her at the May Fair Hotel in London, right before the European premiere of her first film. Until now, I have had the opportunity to get in a couple of good questions, but now she has taken over. She is wearing what appears to be a red-coloured, gold-patterned cotton kurta and black specs. She starts asking me the questions now, which is my professional nightmare come alive. The filmmaker has become the journalist.  “How many films can you count on your fingers that have ...

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Operation 021, taking Pakistan cinema further

First and foremost, before getting down to the brass tacks of the movie Operation 021, those that have the slightest of doubt or inclination that Operation 021 mimics or is made along the same lines as Waar can put their doubts safely to rest.  Operation 021’s principal plot, overall theme, script, character build up and dialogue are poles apart from what was previously seen in Waar. For that reason, Waar and 021, apart from having Shaan Shahid as the main lead, do not have an iota of commonality in between them. 021 is created under the umbrella of One Motion Pictures and the Azad Film Company; produced by Zeba Bakhtiar and her son Azan Sami Khan. ...

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Why Fawad Khan is so ‘Khoobsurat’!

Jutt and Bond was where most of us first saw Fawad Afzal Khan. He was a skinny, lanky, clean shaven guy with bangs. Soon after, we were surprised to see him as the lead singer of Entity Paradigm (EP), a Pakistani nu metal band, with his husky, soulful voice and that pained musician look. That was when we, the female population of Pakistan, said to one another, “Hey, this guy’s not bad looking.” But little did we know that he would soon be making waves and creating magic on TV and the big screen. By frequently featuring in commercials, a few songs and TV serials ...

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Dukhtar: A mother’s plight against child marriage

Rarely do movies of such calibre come along that transcend generations and provoke our greater thought process, not because of impressive visuals, A-list actors, extravagant set pieces and locales but because of its strong story-driven narrative – narrative that is deeply entrenched into the harsh realities of life, as opposed to a work of fiction.  Dukhtar too has a potential to lay claim to all of that and then some, thanks to its excellent subject matter. Dukhtar means ‘daughter’ in Farsi and Urdu dialects. The movie is predominately a story about the plights, miseries and ultimately the bravery exhibited by the principal protagonist ...

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