Stories about Pakistani Film Industry

Rangreza is being labelled a ‘musical’ – but aren’t all Pakistani films technically musicals?

The trailer for the upcoming Pakistani film Rangreza was released recently to largely positive reviews. Apart from a trite love story, it showcases a truly uninhibited Gohar Rasheed. Yo-yoing between entertaining and the edge of madness, he is reason enough to watch the film. Photo: Screenshot A part of me, however, was also disappointed. From the onset, the team behind Ragreza pushed it as a musical. The actors called it a musical, their Facebook page labels it so, even Wikipedia affirms that it is in fact a musical. And yes, there are songs in the film, but ...

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Great performances and a powerful message, yet ‘Saawan’ will fail terribly at the box office

It is next to impossible to produce an experimental film in Pakistan, mainly because the distributors do not support the venture unless it comprises of a star-studded cast. Director Farhan Alam and Kalakar Films deserve appreciation for breaking barriers with their new film, Saawan. The film is written by Mashood Qadri and features Syed Karam Hussain, Imran Aslam, Najiba Faiz and Saleem Mairaj in pivotal roles. The film revolves around Saawan (Syed Karam Hussain), a physically challenged young boy who suffers from polio and lives in a valley in Balochistan. His father is frustrated, depressed and hopeless because of his son’s disability and does not treat ...

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Nothing and no one could have saved ‘Chain Aye Na’ from its unfortunate fate

In 1998, Syed Noor was on a high; his film Choorian had just released and went on to be one of the longest running Pakistani films showcased at a single screen cinema. He went on to become one of the few acclaimed directors in the Pakistani film industry. It makes you wonder then, how the same director, who delivered cinema greats like Larki Punjaban and Majajan, could stoop to releasing a film like Chain Aye Na. I don’t understand how the movie went so wrong, even though it had big names like Nadeem Baig and Atiqa Odho in the cast. Mustafa Qureshi or even the relations of Behroze Sabzwari, ...

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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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