Thursday, 17 October 2019

Why are films like 'Durj' banned, asks Sanam Saeed







Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming directorial on cannibalism created quite a buzz as soon as the trailer of Durj dropped.

While Abbasi had earlier announced that his film will release overseas before it hits the cinemas in Pakistan, Censor Board has now banned Durj to screen in the country.

The film is based on true events from around the world, depicting cannibalism.

Requesting anonymity, a source told the Express Tribune, “The censor board has banned Durj because of it’s subject. Given that a sensitive topic such as cannibalism, should not be propagated so openly. However, Shamoon Abbasi is trying his level best to make sure the ban is lifted.

” Now, Sanam Saeed has extended support to Durj, inquiring how Hollywood films with violence, dark topics and sexual innuendos can be screened in Pakistan but not an independent film such as Durj.

Taking to Twitter, the Cake star wrote, “Why are films like Durj nanned. If Hollywood films with all their sexual innuendos, violence and dark topics can play in our cinemas, then why can’t our independent and out of the box films like Durj be played?”

Many agreed with Sanam.

 “This is exactly what I thought! Despite all the vulgar and violent content, Pakistanis can watch Hollywood movies but not Pakistani movies. First it was Verna and now this. Is this the reality as a society we don’t want to confront?” a user

“Why they banned Durj, I’m not a fan of violent movies but if anyone is doing something different in Pakistan, suddenly censor board wakes up,” shared another user.

Another user shared how films based on weddings and romance are the only ones to receive clearance from the box office.

Abbasi had earlier surplus concerns regarding the ongoing problems faced by the film. The film was initially cleared by censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but was suddenly rejected by the federal censor board, without informing what the actual problem was.

“When I inquired, I received a certificate saying that the ban was because cannibalism is ‘not a part of our culture and tradition,’ so it should not be showcased,” Abbasi had told The Express Tribune.

“As if it’s a part of anybody’s culture or tradition or whether the films actually playing in Pakistani cinemas even depict our culture.

” He continued to clarify that there is nothing objectionable in the film and that the physical act of cannibalism has not been shown at all. “I don’t understand what has caused this revocation, my film does not have any vulgarity, not a single cuss word, not a single act of violence, and even if there is, I am willing to cut out whatever is objectionable if I am informed.” Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Celebrities demonstrate patriotism on social media for fame: Ahmed Ali Akbar






Actor, Ahmed Ali Akbar, rose to fame with his film, “Laal Kabootar” which is flying back the cinemas this weekend, due to increased demand since recent accomplishments.

In an interview with the Voice of America, the actor discussed his movie, claiming that it was inspired by the livelihood of Karachi, in the middle of which he also called out the recent trend created by artists who demonstrate patriotism on social media to get more followers. He also opened up about his feelings regarding the conflict between India and Pakistan at the moment.

The Ehd-e-wafa star received an award for the best actor at the annual South Asian Film Festival held in Washington for his movie, Laal Kabootar

Speaking the bitter truth, the actor admitted that Pakistani movies are extremely similar to Bollywood films, given that the local Pakistani audience and filmmakers have grown up watching Indian content. “We have been watching their content since the past 4 decades, we sing their songs and know their language, our movies are bound to be similar to theirs.

” Akbar continued to address the current tension between the two countries with reference to his earlier claims, he said that it makes him ‘sad’. He added that he does not speak up on social media for his mental well being. “I don’t use use social media where people tend to make comparisons leaving one depressed.

” Sharing his thoughts about innovation in the Pakistani dramas, Ali Akbar said that new people are entering the field, but owing to more work and tough competition, the quality is being compromised. Akbar also mocked the characters depicted in Pakistani dramas, calling them fail renditions of old fashioned foreign graduates, who have come back to pursue jobs and look for a life partner. “The same thing happens with female characters, however, things are finally changing now,” said the actor

. Have something to add to the story? Share in the comments below.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Saba Qamar's next film is a tragic love story at heart, reveals Sarmad Khoosat








Sarmad Khoosat's Zindagi Tamasha has premiered at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea but the director already has a new feature to work on.

Earlier, Saba Qamar had revealed to Images that she has signed on her next feature film, Kamli which will be helmed by Khoosat.

Now, Khoosat, who has also written the flick, spoke about the project to Variety.

"A tragic love story at heart, the film is going to be a fresh mix of a rustic setting captured in a contemporary, universal sensibility,” said Khoosat. “Unlike other films of the genre, Kamli is not only goaing to depict the vibrancy and humour of rural Punjab, but also its poetic lyricism and love-lore in an international film aesthetic."

For now, Khoosat is in South Korea for Zindagi Tamasha, about which he shared, "What was most important to me was exploring the idea of tolerance. Tolerance not just to others (to allow people to exist the way they are) but also tolerance to self – and this is where the concept of shame, need for approval etc. come in to play."

"I have been in situations where I have felt I should have been more tolerant of others and more accepting of my own self.

" Khoosat also spoke about Pakistani cinema, the journey it made and the current state its in. According to the director, "The misfortune with our industry in the 1980's and 1990's was that it did not cater to a wider audience.

But the last two decades have seen a nice variety of films come out, and the revival of Pakistani cinema."

"The mainstream is governed by commerce, but very interesting parallel cinema has also made its space – films like Moor [which was screened at Busan as well], Cake, Laal Kabootar, and even my first film Manto. The challenge remains financial support for genres beyond comedy or romance."

He added, "The absence of Indian films has highlighted just how nascent the Pakistani industry still is."

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Shamoon Abbasi's upcoming film Durj banned in Pakistan


Actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming film Durj seems unlikely to be released in theatres across Pakistan as its censor approvals hit a snag.

Abbasi told Images the film was initially cleared by film censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but rejected by the federal censor board.

“Suddenly, something happened; [the clearances from Punjab and Sindh got revoked and the ones pending were put on hold. This is what we know for now and definitely, we will have to counter the process.”

Slated for an October 11 international release, the film will simultaneously release in multiple countries including US, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. It was intended to be released on October 18 in Pakistan.

Abbasi is unsure what could have been objectionable in the film, which is based on the true story of a pair of brothers who dug up over 100 graves and cannibalised the corpses. He says the objection would be more understandable had there been a unanimous rejection from all four provincial censor boards as well as the federal censor board based in Islamabad.

“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched about the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.”

“It's a very sensitive film with no blood or gore, it’s not the type of film to be banned outright as such, so I am not sure what happened,” Abbasi added.

"Members of Central Board of Film Censors viewed the feature film as per prevalent censorship rules and did not consider it appropriate for public exhibition in cinema houses," Danyal Gilani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, told Images.

The Islamabad film censor board did not respond to calls for comment from Images at the time of writing. Abbasi admitted that he and his team had not planned on releasing Durj in Pakistan at all, but decided to go ahead after receiving an overwhelming response when international release dates were announced. “I said it will be released [in Pakistan], but honestly, we had a hunch that it could be a problem. But when it came to the censor board and — apart from two minor nude scenes — it was cleared, and we thought everything is fine because the film doesn't have that sort of blood and gore.”

Once a film is rejected clearance for release, there is a process in place to appeal the decision. Abbasi hopes it will work in his favour. “All I can say is we need a final panel to review it and be kind to us one last time, and give us a reason why two boards approved it and one federal didn’t. That’s the confusion at the moment.”

Yasir Hussain is set to make big screen comeback and this time with Iqra Aziz









Yasir Hussain and Iqra Aziz are teaming up for a feature film.

The project will be the Suno Chanda actor's cinematic debut while Yasir, who has made several cameos in recent films such as Baaji and Chhalawa, will play a prominent character after 2016's Lahore se Aagey.

Yasir shared, "It’ll be released on Eid-ul-Fitr 2020. Abu Aleeha (Kataksha, Tevar) is the writer and director and it’s an action rom-com."

The movie's cast also includes Faryal Mehmood and Faizan Khawaja so far.

There may not be much information on the film as of yet but we have a feeling that Yasir and Iqra might go from real life couple to real life couple.

Watch this space for more updates.


Humayun Saeed all set for 'London Nahi Jaunga'








Humayun Saeed’s upcoming film London Nahi Jaunga, written by Khalilur Rehman Qamar and directed by Nadeem Baig is set to release on Eidul Azha 2020. His production house is currently working on multiple scripts with different writers like Vasay Chaudhry, Qamar and Zanjabeel Asim Shah.

Humayun Saeed’s upcoming film London Nahi Jaunga, written by Khalilur Rehman Qamar and directed by Nadeem Baig is set to release on Eidul Azha 2020. His production house is currently working on multiple scripts with different writers like Vasay Chaudhry, Qamar and Zanjabeel Asim Shah.

Nevertheless, the resemblance and expected repetition is uncanny, because it is not the first time Baig, Qamar and Saeed have collaborated, provided the trio also worked together on 2017’s Punjab Nahi Jaungi.

However, given the recent unrest between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, it is no surprise that both the countries remained deprived of witnessing each other’s films, production and art. Where India even implemented a ban on its artists from sharing the same stage as a Pakistani abroad, there is no holding back in terms blocking and banning each other’s content.

The evidently dull and deserted cinemas became even more prominent when many of the locally produced films failed to hit the mark. It is predicted that the upcoming year will hopefully be better, with one film already announced to be released.

Have something to add to the story? Share in the comments below.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Film Producers Association Welcomes New Governing Body












The Pakistan Film Producers Association’s (PFPA) annual election was held in Lahore in which the organization elected its new representatives for the year 2019 to 2020.

The first meeting of the new governing body was held in a hotel in Lahore right after the ceremony. The representatives discussed issues faced by the current film Industry while briefing about their future plans to empower the discourse altogether.

Sheikh Amjad Rashed, Distribution Club's CEO and a very famous producer was elected as the new Chairman of PFPA while Sangeeta Begum was elected as the Senior Vice Chairman. Momina Duraid was elected as the Vice-Chairman.

The best part about the ceremony was that so many emerging and talented producers took part in it. Not only were they invited for the occasion but they were also included in the governing body of the organisation.

Some of the names of the producers include Sarmad Khoosat, Sarmad Sultan Khosat, Hassan Zia Ameen, Wajahat Rauf, Chaudary Javed Warriach, M Khalid Ali, Zulifqar Mana, Irfan Malik, Haji Aslam and Azizullah Khan.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's latest animated film is called Sitara: Let Girls Dream


Two-time Academy and three-time Emmy Award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy revealed her latest animated film Sitara: Let Girls Dream, which opened in theaters in New York on September 23rd, 2019.

Written and directed by Sharmeen, Sitara: Let Girls Dream takes the audience on a journey through the old city of Lahore where a 14-year old girl, Pari, dreams of becoming a pilot.

Her story is told through the perspective of her six-year-old sister Mehr, who is unaware of the traditions and barriers that lay in the path of women from her family.

It is a story about the burdens of a family and the impact of a culture where girls are still struggling to fully realise their dreams. Sitara is a silent film with no dialogue, which embodies this struggle.

"Young girls everywhere still face considerable hurdles in achieving their dreams. Sitara embodies that struggle, it is a story of Pari, a young girl who dreams of becoming a pilot and is robbed of it."

"For me, Sitara is more than a film, it is a movement that we want to start across the world, that encourages parents to invest in their girls’ dreams, encouraging them to free their girls from the burdens of early marriage," said Obaid-Chinoy.

The film’s executive producers include Gloria Steinem, the iconic women’s rights activist, and Darla Anderson, the Academy Award Winning producer of Coco and Toy Story 3.

Every year, 12 million girls around the world are married off as child brides denying them the right to education and an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.

Parey Hut Love 6th Weekend Boxoffice Collections Pakistan: Rock Steady


Sheheryar Munawar and Maya Ali starrer Parey Hut Love continues steady run in its 6th weekend at the domestic market. The film had a good hold this weekend aided by no potential release as the numbers of 6th weekend are quite better than the numbers of the 5th weekend.

As per estimates, Parey Hut Love has roped in around PKR 6 million in its 6th weekend taking its grand total till now a little over PKR 214 million. The film is already highest grossing film for the actor Sheheryar Munawar whereas it will hit the coveted PKR 220 million over the next weekend.

The film is second highest grossing film for Maya Ali after her Teefa In Trouble which released last year. Below is Parey Hut Love’s estimated boxoffice breakdown till now in Pakistan.

Week One (11 Days).. 150 million
Week Two.. 32 million
Week Three.. 15 million
Week Four.. 5 million
Week Five.. 6 million 6th
Weekend.. 6 million

Parey Hut Love is 5th highest grossing film for ARY Films in Pakistan. There was no potential release this Friday which pushed film this weekend and there isn’t any potential release for few more weeks and it will be interesting to see where the film will end its run in coming days.Total.. 214 million

Monday, 23 September 2019

Superstar 6th Weekend Boxoffice Collections Pakistan: Steady


Mahira Khan and Bilal Ashraf starrer Superstar has continued its steady run in the sixth weekend at the domestic market. Benefited from no potential release this weekend, Superstar managed to collect better this weekend compared to the last weekend.

As per estimates, Superstar raked in around PKR 5.5-6 million this Weekend hence taking its grand total beyond PKR 208 million. The film will be hitting PKR 210 million mark over the weekdays.

Superstar is already highest grossing film for all the actors involved. The film had already become highest grossing film for Mahira Khan overtaking Ho Mann Jahaan. The film is also highest grossing film for Bilal Ashraf overtaking his 2017’s Eid-ul-fitr release Yalghaar.

The film is second highest grossing film for Hum Films only behind their Parwaaz Hai Junoon which released last year on Eid ul Azha and went on to collect well over PKR 350 million.

There is no potential release for few more weeks and Superstar should continue it steady run in coming weeks too and it will be interesting to see where the film ends its run.

'The Donkey King' becomes first Pakistani film to release in Spain


KARACHI: After ruling Pakistani cinemas and conquering Korea last month, The Donkey King, the highest grossing Pakistani animated film directed by Aziz Jindani, is ready to extend its reign to Spain and Catalonia, stated a press release.

With a wide theatrical release in one or two but three different dubbed versions; Spanish, Catalan and Basque, the film will release under three different titles of El Rey Burro, El Rei Ruc, and Asto Erregea.

This is the first Pakistani film ever to release in Spain. The film will premiere on Oct 4, 2019 with more than 50 screens on release across all key cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Malaga among others.

Jindani, the man behind The Donkey King, was overjoyed. “We are ecstatic that The Donkey King has found resonance with global cine distributors,” the film-maker shared in a statement. “It is proof that a good story, grounded in universal insight, has the ability to transcend boundaries and geographical barriers.”

He further added, “However, we are not done yet. Spain se aagay jehan aur bhi hain (there is a long way ahead after Spain too).”

The Donkey King is an animated comedy film that was released in Pakistan in October, 2018. The film features the voices of Jan Rambo, Ismail Tara, Hina Dilpazeer, Ghulam Mohiuddin and Jawed Sheikh, and grossed Rs 24 million after running in the cinemas for 25 weeks.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Upcoming film 'Daal Chawal’ to pay tribute to police, armed forces


LAHORE : The local cinema circuit is busy preparing for the release of upcoming film Daal Chawal, which is schedule to hit screens across Pakistan on October 4. An advertisement campaign for the film is in full swing in Lahore, where Daal Chawal has been shot, and exhibitors are expecting a positive response from the audience, as always

Other than television and social media marketing, the team behind Daal Chawal is also planning to undertake different activities to attract the public. It must be noted that the theme of the film is patriotism and the sacrifices our police and armed forces make in their fight against terrorism. The team is hoping to cash in on the nationalistic spirit of the Pakistani youth and lead them to watch the film. Daal Chawal also offers a tribute to the bravery of the armed forces and shows them as being everready to take on any external forces working as terrorists or against the country.

Young, up-and-coming artists, namely Ahmad Sufiyan, Momina Iqbal, Salman Shahid, amongst others, make up the and will be seen opposite Lollywood veteran Shafqat Cheema in the film. Daal Chawal has been produced under the banner of Fun Club with Awaid Khalid serving as the director. Renowned Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has sung a song, along with Maria Meer and Jabbas Abbas.

A major portion of the upcoming production has been shot in various locations across Lahore, especially those where some terrorist activity took place in the past. Interestingly, the producer of Daal Chawal is DIG Akbar Nasir Khan, who has penned both the scripts and the dialogues of the film. In fact, he has also composed the music.

“Daal Chawal is a complete family film, produced using modern technology and equipment,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “Our team is well aware of international trends in films and made sure to try to live up to those with Daal Chawal. It has everything…script, technology, music, comedy and a lesson to learn.”

It is pertinent to mention that Khan is also serves as an Incharge for the Safe City Pakistan Plan and has previously written a lot about the services of police and army.

This time around, he decided to make a whole film on the topic. “Although patriotism is the central theme, Daal Chawal also sheds light on some of the issues faced by the youth in our country and by society also in general,” he added.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Actor/Director Shaan Shahid To Release His Upcoming Film Zarrars Character Teasers Soon


Shaan Shahid is undoubtedly the most loved actor in Pakistan who has been ruling the film industry for over two decades. Not only is he known for being passionate about his career, he can easily be categorized as the pride of Pakistan because of his patriotism and we for one always want to know what is he up to next as we too are his die-hard fan.

So with him having given us Arth 2 recently to enjoy which had remarkable songs to its credit, it is his other movie Zarrar which has kept us wanting to view it soon.

With the release date not known as yet, it was yesterday that we came across the update that Shaan was all set to release the characters teasers of the film soon as he tweeted,

Now what we know so far is that besides Shaan , the film also stars Kiran Malik and the London-based Adnan Butt who will mark his debut as an antagonist.

Besides directing, Shaan is also the writer as well as the lead for Zarrar which is an action thriller, being produced by 5th Dimension Films in partnership with Blue Orca Pvt Ltd. This is also the first time that the UK's Timothy Hallam Wood will be the Director of Photography (DOP) for a Pakistani film.

With the post-production of Zarrar done in Pinewood which is UK's biggest studio, we are sure Shaan is going to give us a film which will make Pakistan immensely proud of him yet again.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Urwa Hocane, Farhan Saeed to share screen space in 'Tich Button'



KARACHI: Urwa Hocane has been quite excited about her debut production Tich Button. And she has every right to be.

The starlet is bringing together four of Pakistan’s popular stars under one frame with the upcoming film. Her husband Farhan Saeed, model Iman Ali, actors Sonya Hussyn and Feroze Khan will star in Hocane’s project.

However, according to the latest buzz, the Rangreza beauty herself will be appearing in a cameo in the film too. She will be featured in a song.

While Hocane didn’t say much about the cameo in Tich Button earlier, she spilled the beans about her upcoming production. “Tich Button is a romantic drama,” Hocane previously told The Express Tribune. “I won’t say it’s a rom-com though as there’s some action in it as well.

I think I would call it situational comedy.” “We started working on this project a year ago. The script is written by Faiza Iftikhar (who has also penned hit serials such as Sheher-e-Zaat and Matae-e-Jan),” the 27-year-old had added. “It was our (Farhan and my) baby.

We just came up with the idea of the story in our home and it just made sense for him to step into the film industry with Tich Button.”

The film is in the final spell of completion as the makers gear up for a 2020 release. Directed by Qasim Ali Mureed, Tick Button will mark Khan’s return to the big screen after Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay. This will be his second feature film. Ali will be back to silver screen after four years.

She was last seen in 2015’s Mah-e-Mir. It will be the third film for Hussyn after Moor and Azaadi.