Stories about Pakistani Film Industry

My Pure Land: One of the finest independent films of Pakistan, yet forbidden in its own country

In Pakistan, it is uncommon to watch a well-made film that is not only based on true events, but also dedicated to our real life heroes. For instance, films like Gulab Gang, Bandit Queen and Mary Kom have been made in India to relay the sacrifices made and challenges faced by its women. In Pakistan, however, we can hardly recall a film or two on the same. This is why Sarmad Masud’s venture, titled My Pure Land, which showcases the story of Nazo Dharejo, came as such a surprise to me. The film does not feature big names or superstars, ...

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16 movies that prove Lollywood and Bollywood have been empowering women since 1957

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day; a day to appreciate and acknowledge the women around us and discuss female empowerment. As we do this, it is hard to ignore the contribution of the media, which is perhaps the best tool in our means to depict the society around us. However, having empowering female characters is not a new phenomenon in either the Indian or Pakistani film industry. On the contrary, filmmakers in India and Pakistan have consistently tried to come up with subjects and films which celebrate and empower women. From the inception of the film industry in this ...

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Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor proves Pakistan’s animated films can be as good as Disney’s or Pixar’s

The Pakistani industry is in full flourish, evidence of which can be gathered by the hype created after the trailer release of our newest animated feature, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor. From the quality of animation and the quirky characters offered in this preview, this Urdu language animated film has all the ingredients to match the standards set by Disney and Pixar. The story revolves around a young boy, Allahyar, who lives in the northern areas of Pakistan. The spirited Allahyar’s life suddenly takes a turn and becomes adventurous as he tries to save his dearest ones from imminent ...

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Does Shaan Shahid think he can bully people into saying nice things about Arth 2?

It has been a great couple of years for the Pakistani film industry. We’ve finally gained some solid footing and have managed to get audiences excited about Pakistani films. Dukhtar, Moor and Saawan have received critical acclaim for being sensitive, powerful films, whereas commercially successful ventures like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor in Law, Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Jawaani Phir Nahin Aani have attracted large audiences to the cinemas, which has been, especially for Pakistani movies, a rare occurrence in the past. Not only is there a gradual progression in quality, script and cinematography, there is a definite increase in the volume ...

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With its fresh talent and catchy music, Maan Jao Naa seems like a complete entertainment package

In the last decade or so, we have seen Pakistani cinema seemingly thriving, with TV actors shifting to the larger screen, and directors and producers experimenting with new and innovative ideas as well. Moviegoers are buzzing about at the moment as Aabis Raza’s upcoming Maan Jao Na, which, based on its recently released trailer at least, looks dynamic and diverse in terms of its talent, cinematography and music.   What caught my attention was that a lot of new faces were seen in the movie, with some of the cast being known for their comic roles in our TV dramas. ...

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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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