Stories about Pakistani Film Industry

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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Raja Natwarlal: Humaima, ‘Pakistan’s Rani’, fails to rule the Indian Box Office

Yes, Emraan Hashmi is back in his ‘serial kisser avatar’ in Kunal Deshmukh’s Raja Natwarlal. This time Emraan is blessed with both: his serial kissing traits and his power packed spontaneous performance. The movie created a lot of buzz pre and post release, as it casts Pakistani ‘drama queen’ and movie star, Humaima Malick, opposite Emraan. Although, Humaima made her début in the Pakistani film industry with ‘Bol’, back in 2011, in Bollywood this is her first release. There were a lot of expectations for the movie to be a success for everyone, including Emraan, Humaima, Kunal and Kay Kay Menon. So, what happened to ...

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Tamanna: A step in the right direction for Pakistani cinema

There has to be something about a movie where a Pakistani audience sits silently in cinemas, where mobile texting and chatting during a movie is the norm otherwise, and watch two lead characters dominate the story in a single location for 83 minutes. Billed as Pakistan’s first ‘Film Noir’, Tamanna is definitely in a league of its own in the context of Pakistani cinema. Prominent film critic Taran Adarsh raised an important point upon release of the film Barfi!, “You don’t formulate movies (like Barfi!) targeting its box-office potential or its commercial prospects. You create such films for its passion of cinema.” This statement applies to Tamanna as ...

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A day from the life of Lehri

In the past 10 days, my thoughts were floating just like my wafting expressions in the year 1956. It was the year when the world saw the first hint of amusement in my words. No! I was not a madman running on the streets of Karachi but the famous “Lehri”. Those were the golden days of my life and also of the Pakistani industry, but today I lay quiet at my final resting place. There were days when I was the king of comedy ─ a king who was not entertained but was a source of entertainment. I did not have ...

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