It’s raining movies in Pakistan and the filmi blizzard shows no sign of abating anytime soon. Here is a look at upcoming Pakistani productions which promise to keep you rushing back to the theatre over the next couple of months.
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Ever wondered who Pakistan’s A-listers are? Watch the latest trailer of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani featuring the title song. Serving up TV’s best, boldest and most beautiful stars, the trailer showcases the acting line-up swaying to some serious foot-tapping music, complete with suggestive lyrics and gestures. Nothing wrong with a film that knows that it is headed straight to the cash register this Eid. The only confirmed release for this festive season, it would not be surprising if other producers deliberately backed out from a head-on box office clash with JPNA. Directed by Nadeem Baig and written by Vasay Chaudhry, the talented team that created the hit Azar/Annie/Dolly/ Taakey kee Ayegi Baraat TV comedy series, JPNA stars heavyweights Humayun Saeed, Hamza Abbasi, Mehwish Hayat, Ayesha Khan and a holiday in Bangkok. Glamorous, slick, and risqué, JPNA ticks all the right boxes. Skip the afternoon snooze post-kaleji ka naashta this Eid and rush to a theatre near you.
Revenge of the Worthless
Produced and directed by Jamal Shah, who also acts in it, the film centres on the 2009 Swat insurgency. The trailer features powerhouse performances by veteran actors Ayub Khosa, Firdaus Jamal and Maira Khan. Sounds intense, foreboding and dare I say, a bit depressing. Hope some lighter moments are hidden within.
The Hulla Gulla team has been religiously posting videos of its soundtrack on social media and making some tall claims (calling themselves Pakistan’s first solid entertainment film). At first glance you know this film is put together a bunch of people who grew up on a diet of Govinda and Akshay Kumar comedies. The soundtrack features all the standard Bollywood masala: the dreamy romantic number, a nightclub croon and also one where the leads dance with white women on a rooftop in a foreign land… hmm now where did you last see that? With no big stars (you will only recognise female lead Sidra Batool if you are mildly addicted to Pakistani dramas), some unfunny lines and a typo in the trailer, HG manages to look entertaining, but only in a B-list kind of way. Can supporting actors Javed Shaikh and Ismail Tara add the necessary oomph to the line-up? Not to mention that pretty soon Pakistani films will be divided into the ones that star Javed Shaikh and those that don’t. And that second list will be the empty one.
Touted as the most expensive Pakistani movie ever made, Yalghaar has a star studded cast with Shaan Shahid, Adnan Siddiqui, Ayesha Omar and TV anchor (turned actor) Sana Bucha. Using slow-mo scenes for the trailer of a war movie may be deliberate, but after a while your patience wears thin with the background wailing and the slow mo flying kicks and gunshots. Action, blood and gore galore – this is for you if you enjoy baying for the enemy’s blood.
Directed by renowned and controversial director Farouq Mengal, Hijrat has been a long time in the making. A love story set against the backdrop of the Afghan War and depicting the plight of the refugees, Hijrat stars newbie Asad Zaman and model Rabia Butt. The film lacks a strong cast in the lead, but features a glam Turkish vacay and the director’s trademark stunning frames.
Written and directed by Sarmad Sehbai and based on Urdu bard Mir Taqi Mir, Mah-e-Meer’s trailer created a stir when it was released last year. The excitement died down when the producers went silent, but the promo featuring the gorgeous Iman Ali, the nation’s darling Fahad Mustafa and Sanam Saeed definitely stayed with everyone who saw it. Reminiscent of the new Devdas and the original Umrao Jaan, and peppered with lots of deep and meaningful conversations ala Sehbai, MEM’s’ trailer is a bit much for the average cinema-goer, but it might fill up multiplexes in the big cities. For those who thrive on literature and nostalgia and live intense lives.
ASP Azhar became Pakistan’s favourite macho softie when he starred in the 1992 PTV play Dhuwan. Twenty three years on, Ashir Azeem (the actor who played ASP Azhar and also wrote Dhuwan’s powerful screenplay), looking fairly well preserved has resurfaced for a comeback in Maalik. He has also written Maalik’s screenplay, packing it with some heavy doses of patriotism. Hope Azeem’s natural charm helps Maalik rise above the mediocre first trailer which features patchy acting, baffling rhetorical statements and no real sign of a strong female lead.
Shahrezad Samiuddin is a screenwriter and a pop culture junkie.