Saturday, 19 November 2022

'The Legend of Maula Jatt' becomes leading South Asian film at UK box office in 4 years

After five consecutive weeks of a successful run, The Legend of Maula Jatt has proven to be one of the best cinematic productions of the year. According to Screen Daily, a British film publication, it has broken records at the UK box office, becoming the highest-grossing picture from the subcontinent in the last four years.

Screen Daily stated that following five weeks of playing in UK theatres, Maula Jatt earned £44,149 (Rs11.5 million). However, in the sixth week, the film grossed approximately £1.3 million (Rs340 million) during 54.6% of its remaining run, far less than many of its rivals. However, that is still £1.26 crore (Rs329 crore) more than the Indian film Ponniyan Selvan: I released this year.

On October 13, the film was released in theatres across the globe. The film is a rendition of the Punjabi hero, Maula Jatt, inspired by the 1979 version. It stars Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Humaima Malick, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Gohar Rasheed, Faris Shafi and Ali Azmat.

According to the film's official Instagram account, The Legend of Maula Jatt earned $7.8 million (Rs1.7 billion) at the international box office only four weeks after its premiere, making it the highest-earning Punjabi film of all time.

The film was also released worldwide on more than 500 screens across 25 countries, setting a new precedent for Pakistani or Punjabi films, a press release stated.

Besides the UK, the star-studded film is doing quite well in other countries. Despite having a smaller screen count compared to the Bollywood blockbusters, the film has outgrossed RRR featuring Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt, and Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar's Ram Setu, and Thank God, starring Sidharth Malhotra at the UK box office.

The Legend of Maula Jatt bagged $324,000 at the Canadian box office, placing it in the top 6. The film also cumulated $600,000 in North America.

Audiences have shown tremendous support for the film as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Box office reached over US$515,000 in only four days, making it one of the leading pictures in their cinema.

The Bilal Lashari directorial also performed well in regions such as Australia, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and South East Asia.

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Umair Jaswal 'extremely fortunate' to portray Shoaib Akhtar onscreen

Singer Umair Jaswal is all set to star as the former cricketer, Shoaib Akhtar, in an upcoming biopic. Titled Rawalpindi Express, the project will focus on the fast bowler's life - on the professional and personal front. 

Jaswal has confirmed that he will be playing a leading role in the motion picture. With an immersive storyline, the film is a tribute to the celebrated cricketer, Akhtar. Fans will also see other well-known celebrities from the Pakistani entertainment industry playing key characters in the film.

The movie is set to release on November 16, 2023. Further, the aforementioned project will mark Jaswal's return to the big screen after six long years of focusing on his music career. 

“This project is a dream come true for me as an actor," the Coke Studio star shared in a statement. "I feel extremely fortunate to portray Shoaib Akhtar on screen. His life is an inspiration to several youngsters in Pakistan. He is not just a superstar in Pakistan but for all cricket lovers globally."

He further shared, "It is a huge responsibility to shoulder, and I am completely aware of this. I am cherishing every moment of this journey and I will always treasure the time spent with him in preparing for this role which required a new level of dedication and effort. He has recounted several stories and experiences of the ups and downs he has faced in life en route to becoming an international star cricketer. I hope that audience loves this narrative and gets inspired." 

When asked about how feels about casting Umair Jaswal for the role, director Faraz Qaiser said, “The film will span from 1975 to 2002 and requires physical transformation to be shown by an actor. Umair Jaswal perfectly fits the role as he is a sports and fitness enthusiast and has worked on his body and fitness level for several months."

Qaiser added, "His dedication is unparallel and he recognizes the gravity of the role, and the commitment required to bring in the persona of legendary cricketer Shoaib Akhtar live on screen. Umair has a keen understanding of the bowling technique as well. I am extremely pleased to have Umair Jaswal on board and we are looking forward to starting shooting in December 2022 in Pakistan, Dubai, New Zealand, and Australia”.

Jaswal’s addition to Rawalpindi Express will further solidify his career as an actor. Rawalpindi Express is expected to capture the passion, excitement, purpose, activism, and positivity around sports. The movie is said to set a benchmark and bind audiences with the power of sports, its cultural impact, and its unrivaled ability to transcend borders and barriers.

The film tells a story about the enduring power of the human spirit, relationships and complexities that come along with it. It’s a story of sacrifice and overcoming one’s demons and fears. Most importantly, it’s a story of unconditional love; for family, for a nation, and for the game of cricket. It’s a story that must be told and a fantastic team has come together for it. 

Jaswal started his career in 2008 by joining the rock band Qayaas. Soon after he gained popularity with his songs Tanha and Umeed. He later joined Coke Studio where he made a name for himself as one of the most talented vocalists in Pakistan. Jaswal later made his big screen debut in the war epic film Yalgaar as Captain Umair. He also made his television debut by appearing in the serial Mor Mahal in 2016. 

In 2020, the Sammi Meri Waar crooner also featured in his series titled Raahi where he explored the beautiful landscapes of Pakistan on his motorbike. Jaswal has several other projects in the pipeline. 

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Sunday, 6 November 2022

You need an emperor's vision to execute a project as grand as Maula Jatt: Writer Nasir Adeeb


What goes behind the scene of a record-breaking film? A powerful script? Check. An ensemble cast? Check. Flawless direction? Check. Brilliant cinematography? Check and check. 

But more than that, writer Nasir Adeeb thinks what it really takes is the backing of a producer who will stick by a project through thick and thin. Adeeb, who has a glittering career of over 50 years, has written 412 films so far. But 1979's Maula Jutt remains a classic that would always be touted as his best work.

The writer also helped filmmaker Bilal Lashari pen the script and dialogues of his latest offering, The Legend of Maula Jatt. In one of the promotional events, Adeeb shared the secret behind making Lashari's magnum opus.

"If producers in Pakistan wish to make films like Bilal Lashari, there are two things that they would require," he shared on a local television show. "You have to pay attention to minds; not the faces. Secondly, you'd need a 'Shah Jahan' to make a film as opulent as this," Adeeb added as he praises producer Ammara Hikmat. "It's easy to make a map of the Taj Mahal; it's not easy to bring in the manpower."

Previously, in an interview with The Express Tribune, Lashari while lauding Hikmat, shared, "I would really like to praise Ammara. To have this kind of budget for a film and have that creative freedom alongside is rare. She supported me through and through. She is the person who turned this film into what it is today.” 

The phenomenal response to the film has led to full house screenings across the world and queues outside cinemas, with exhibitors continuously scheduling additional screenings to meet consumers’ demands. Such has been the adulation for the film that standing ovations have been recorded at cinemas globally. The number of screens for the movie are increasing every day.

A reboot of Yunus Malik’s 1979 cult classic Maula Jutt, the film is a re-telling of the story of the rivalry between Maula Jatt and Noori Natt. Directed by Lashari, The Legend of Maula Jatt also stars Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malick, Mirza Gohar Rasheed, Faris Shafi, Ali Azmat, Nayyer Ejaz, Shafqat Cheema, Raheela Agha, Zia Khan and Saima Baloch.

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I was alive; I didn't go anywhere: Iman Aly on making big screen comeback



We're seated at an upscale restaurant in Karachi when Iman Aly wanders out of a small space. One would think she must follow her diet to a T to maintain her impeccable figure - but there's one weakness she openly confesses to: devouring a scrumptious plate of Dahi Ballay.

She orders a serving and sits down with a group of people as her stylist fluffs her hair for a photo shoot. "I think we should step out for the photos," she tells the photographer. "The light is perfect and I'd get to wear my sunglasses. I look better in them anyway," Aly winks as she sashays out the glass door. "I told them not to make me a part of the promotions," Aly tells The Express Tribune. "I'm not kidding; I have no filter regarding almost anything. Please tell me you have some fun questions."

Karachi has been rather tiring for Aly; the promotions, the events, the makeup - the whole package. "I find this city too blurring," she says. "The people are too fast. I've been in Lahore for the last few years and I think I have adapted to the culture." Laughing, Aly adds, "I never thought I could if I am honest. But once I got married, my husband asked me to pack up and we happily moved."

Talking about her 'comeback' to the big screen, Aly comments, "I was alive! I didn't go anywhere. I don't look at this as a 'comeback'. I've been a part of this industry since I was born. I never went away, you know." She whispers. "So, I don't understand how it would be called a comeback."

But Aly confesses that even though she has been in the industry for decades, she hasn't worked much. "Considering how long I have been in the industry, I don't think I have worked a lot," she remarks. "I only modelled for seven years - from 2000 to 2007. Later, I came on board as an ambassador for many brands, but I was done modelling. When Khuda Kay Liye was released, I told myself to make up my mind - either be a model or an actor. Seems like I chose the latter."

At the peak of her career, Aly was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. "I made a strong point to be very upfront about my condition," Aly recalls. "I tried to bring as much attention to this as I could. It was an important choice. We all are so vocal about how perfect our lives are, how celebrities are these people who can't be harmed - but we just don't talk about diseases, do we? As if we all are immortal. I'm very immuno-compromised. I haven't, though, taken any medications for it. I believe in mind over matter."

After being last seen in Fahad Mustafa-starrer, Mah-e-Mir and away from the limelight for a good six years, Aly is returning to the big screen with Urwa Hocane's maiden production, Tich Button. The model-turned-actor, however, feels that every project she has taken was different from the last. "Mah-e-Mir was more regal; it was a double role. It had its own challenges, you know. Each character I played was different. So, I've been blessed that way."

She asserts, "It also depends on the audience how much they want to see us, right? It's not something for me to decide. So, what can I say about that? Qasim Mureed [Tich Button's director] will be a better person to share why they thought I was a perfect fit for Leena." At this point, she calls Mureed, "I was just telling them how you haven't shown the relatable bit about my character in the trailer." The filmmaker adds, "Leena was tailormade for her. We couldn't think of any other actor who could have done a better job."

Aly gushes, "He's too kind! But hey, it's not every day I get to crawl up a table and give my boss a shut-up call!" Aly shared that she didn't have to prepare for her character, Leena. "Oh, Leena is just me but onscreen!" the supermodel adds. "She is just as fierce as I am and just as outspoken as I am. She also has a no-bullshit rule, which I apply to my life religiously. She can't stand people who lie and always stands up for the truth. That all is me, so it was all so very relatable!" The Bol actor, however, shares that there are many layers to her character. "She's a Turkish woman; there's a lot of progression in her role throughout the film."

Aly then adds, "I had a blast working with everyone. I previously worked in Khuda Kay Liye, Bol and Mah-e-Mir, which had very different flavours. Tich Button was entirely unlike my previous films. And I enjoyed it. I loved working with Farhan, specifically! It was a delight to work with him. He's a great actor; I was taken aback by his brilliance. I've done a few scenes with Feroze; my scenes with Farhan were elaborate. I know people see my and Feroze's interaction more in the trailer, but that's the twist! Feroze and I play friends in the film, but my scenes with Farhan are very intense."

Aly, however, retorts that it was Mureed with whom she had a hard time. "He and I would fight!" she chuckles. "See, this is why I told them not to make me a part of promotions! I can't lie; I will spill everything!"

She concludes, "But Qasim has been a dear friend for a long time. So, for me to see him put on his director's hat just didn't sit well. We would bicker over scenes, the dressing, his, and my idea of how we should shoot a scene. But like, I mentioned, it's great to be in front of a camera again."

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Buckle up: 'Joyland' trailer draws you in for an emotionally challenging ride

Is deception still a sin if it, for once, allows you to live freely? Are you capable of loving more than once or more than one person? How much of our lives is in our control before society and responsibilities kick in? Similar thoughts would engulf your mind as you watch the beautifully edited and viscerally sensual trailer of the award-winning film, Joyland.

Set in the streets of old Lahore, the barely two-minute clip begins with a dark joke on love, sensuality, and death — which seemingly looks like Saim Sadiq directorial's focal point. The trailer begins with Haider (Ali Junejo) telling the infamous joke about a mosquito and chicken to her lover Biba (Alina Khan).

Without giving away too much, the clip goes on to detail the dual lives many characters are living in the film. The Rana family isn’t aware of Haider’s dancing troupe, a theatre festival or his unconventional affair with the charming Biba.

While Haider is away courting another kind of love in his life, his wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq) shares some intimate moments of sheer joy and comfort with what seems like her sister-in-law Nucchi (Sarwat Gilani).

As Haider and Mumtaz explore love elsewhere around them, they still share an unbreakable bond. They’re both keeping secrets, they’re both scared, perhaps even guilty and the price of keeping their secrets may lead them to ruins. The next scene in the trailer shows Mumtaz and Haider cleaning up a crime scene as a bloodied Biba walks away.

The joy soon changes to dread as the trailer ends with a glance at the rest of the Rana family: Sohail Sameer, Salman Peerzada, and Sania Saeed. A glance of judgment and reason towards the madness that we call life.

Joyland will come to cinemas near you on November 18. 

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Amid controversies, 'Tich Button' release date pushed

Amid multiple controversies, the makers of Farhan Saeed, Sonya Hussyn, Iman Aly and Feroze Khan's upcoming film, Tich Button, have decided to push the release date. The film was previously set to release on November 11. 

"The release date of our upcoming film, Tich Button, has been moved and the film will now be released in cinemas on November 25," a statement read. 

The film has been surrounded by controversies since Feroze was accused of allegedly abusing his wife of four years, Aliza Sultan. The actor has since 'vehemently' denied the said accusations. 'I, Feroze Khan, vehemently deny any and all baseless, malicious and untruthful allegations which have been levelled against me and are circulating on the social media rumour mill," he shared in an Instagram story. "These allegations have no basis in truth or reality." 

Feroze further shared, "I would categorically like to state that I have always followed the law in its true letter and spirit and have never knowingly hurt another human being. I very strongly believe in all human rights of every human inhabiting planet earth."

In other news, Sonya had sent a legal notice to the producer of the film, Urwa, claiming the former was not paid her contractual dues as committed. 

In the legal notice dated October 22 shared with The Express Tribune, the Saraab actor’s legal team reminded Urwa that she “entered into contractual” agreement with their client, Sonya, under the terms and conditions of which, she was bound to pay her a certain amount upon the completion of Tich Button’s shooting, which she did not. Shooting for the film began on February 2, 2020 and concluded on June 5 of the same year.

Upon failure to comply with the demands, the notice states Sonya’s legal team has received “express instructions” to “institute appropriate civil and criminal legal proceeding, including without limitation, lodging an FIR, under the relevant provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, for criminal breach of trust, cheating, fraud and misrepresentation.”

The team has also been directed to file a civil suit in court, in case of the demands are not met, and “seek recovery of the payment, general damages; and attachment of your [Urwa’s] immoveable and moveable assets.”

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Friday, 29 July 2022

Noor Bukhari thinks Humayun Saeed should leave romantic hero roles, do ‘mature’ roles now

The Nadeem Baig directorial London Nahi Jaunga has been touted as a huge success given the response it's getting at the cinemas not just in Pakistan but also worldwide. However, former actor Noor Bukhari, wasn’t too fond of the romantic comedy’s weak” storyline when she saw the film in the UK recently. She was particularly unhappy with Humayun Saeed’s character, Jameel, as a romantic hero. 

Posting short clips from her time in the cinema, Bukhari praised Kubra Khan’s acting and Baig’s direction and cinematography in the film. However, she also added that she felt that the love story did not feel right with Saeed essaying a hero at his age.

Very well shot Nadeem Baig. The cinematography is excellent, the actors are brilliant but sorry, a love story?” wrote the Ishq Positive actor. “It is not going with the age of Humayun Saeed as no love happens in this age. The story is too weak.” Bukhari further suggested Saeed to now take up some “mature” and age-appropriate roles. “Now do mature roles. These are just difficult to digest”

When her statement got viral online, she posted a screenshot of a publication, and clarified her stance stating that Saeed is her favourite actor. “Humayun Saeed is my favourite and he looked superb but I feel he can do much more than just being a romantic hero,” she wrote.

London Nahi Jaunga, which also stars Mehwish Hayat and Vasay Chaudhry in pivotal roles, is currently playing in cinemas across the world.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Box Office Numbers of Movies Released on Eid Ul Fitr 2022


As we all know that the Film industries, across the world, remained halted due to the severe outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic. The businesses were pretty much bearing huge losses because of pending and unreleased films, likewise, in Pa

kistan, no movies saw release from 2019 to 2021, Now, life is back to the normal routine and film makers, across the globe, have successfully released movies in cinemas. A lot of international and Pakistani movies also got released on Eid ul fitr 2022.

On Eid day, five Pakistani movies Ghabrana Nahi Ha, Chakkar, Parde Main Rehne Do, Dum Mastam and Tere Bajre Di Raakhi were released. Here are their earnings.

Ghabrana Nahi Hai

Well according to the numbers, Saba Qamar’s Ghabrana Nahi Hai is topping the charts with around 3 crore plus PKR, the first day collection was 95.5 lacs, taking the two days total to approximately 2.5 crores which has now crossed approximated 3 crores, and more until now,however, the exact current numbers haven’t been shared. The earning of the film were less than one crore on day 1 but on day 2 it surpassed one crore with a decline on the third working day.

Dum Mastam

According to the box office details, Dum Mastam’s two days earning is 1.76 crore. It also saw more audience on day two and also surpassed the figure of one crore. On the first day the movie made less than a crore. The current numbers haven’t been shared.

Parde Mein Rehne Do

“Parde Mein Rehne Do”s two-day collections are 1.2 crore PKR, on the first day the movie earned 44 lacs while on the second day it earned 76 lacs PKR.


Chakkar collected 28 lacs Pkr on day one and 54 lacs on day two. It showed a good growth on second day despite having lesser shows.

A part from that public also ranked Ghabrana Nahi Hai as a good movie. Dum Mastam as a better movie. A few fans praised Chakkar and Parde Main Rehne do too. Bajre Di Rakhi remained unnoticed. According to public, an international movie Dr Strange, which has just been released, is expected to destroy many of running Pakistani movies.

In past, day first of the Eid release movies saw great response and they always surpassed one crore pkr or even 2 crores, with the daily revenue of approximately one crore pkr in starting days of release, great example of movies are Na Maloom Afrad, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Wrong No, Lahore Say Agay Karachi say Lahore. Actor in Law and Na Maloom Afraad earned around 20 crore in total. Punjab Nahi Jaungi made 50 crore. Jawani Phir Nahi ani 2 earned 75 crore. They all were Eid releases.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

From 'Superstar' to 'Parchi': Here are 11 Pakistani films you can watch at Dubai Expo 2020

From Bin Roye to Parwaaz Hai Junoon, eleven Pakistani films will be screened at Dubai Expo 2020. The list also includes hits such as Superstar, Teefa in Trouble, Saawan, Actor in Law, Parey Hut Love, Heer Maan Ja, Parchi, Chhalawa, Load Wedding and Heer Maan Ja.

The Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, while at the Pakistan Pavilion recently shared, "The Pakistan Film Week will kick off at the Dubai Expo. Eleven Pakistani films will be screened at the Pakistan enclosure from January 21 to March 26.”

“UAE is home to 1.6 million Pakistanis. TV and film is important medium that connects [the] expat community to their culture. For [the] expat community and all other communities residing in UAE, Pakistan Pavilion will screen 11 blockbuster films,” said Chaudhry.

The politician further added, “In the 1960s, Pakistan was the 3rd largest filmmaker of the world with largest cinema houses in the country. Now again the film industry is booming and films produced in Pakistan have been blockbusters in many parts of the world.”

He added that the government fully supports its film industry and has given special tax incentives. “We invite filmmakers of the world for joint productions in Pakistan. Pakistan is bestowed with natural beauty,” Chaudhry asserted.

The Federal Minister had also sung praises of overseas Pakistanis residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for sending remittances. “This year, overseas Pakistanis have sent remittances amounting to $31 billion to Pakistan,” he said.

“Pakistanis in the UAE were the largest contributors to this $31 billion," Arab News quoted as Chaudhry saying. "You have contributed the most for Pakistan,” Chaudhry told a charged crowd at the venue. “I also want to tell you that Prime Minister Imran Khan stands with you the way you stand with him.”

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Friday, 31 December 2021

5 local films we can't wait to watch in cinemas in 2022

Reopening of theatres is probably the best thing that happened for artists and filmmakers across the board this year. Filmgoers rushed to cinema houses to watch Khel Khel Mein, the first Pakistani film that made it to the big screen after the halt. But trust us, things are only going to get better. While Bollywood films are no longer welcomed in Pakistan, there are a slew of Pakistani films in the backlog, waiting to be released. Thus, as 2022 approaches us, we’ve compiled five of the most anticipated local productions you need to mark your calendars for.

‘Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’

Based on the life of serial killer Javed Iqbal, Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer stars Yasir Hussain and Ayesha Omar in the lead roles. The Abu Aleeha film has been the talk of the town when its first look came out. Its trailer is filled with intense chase scenes and emotions running high, as well as a chilling voiceover by Hussain as Iqbal. Promising a seemingly thrilling offering with a fresh storyline in a local market inundated with too much of the same boring romantic comedies and domestic rivalries, the film is based on a book penned by the director.

‘Zindagi Tamasha’

Sarmad Khoosat's Zindagi Tamasha will also be released in theatres across Pakistan in March 2022. Having received the green signal after facing much backlash over its sensitive subject matter, the film, that was also Pakistan’s entry to the Oscars in November 2020, will see Arif Hasan in the lead role as a naat khwaan, Rahat, who enjoys a celebrity status amongst his community. He is a devout Muslim; someone who, hence, when he does wrong, there is no forgiveness for him. Rahat and his family get sidelined by society after a video of him goes viral on social media.

‘Legend of Maula Jatt’

Another film that many of us have long been waiting for is the Legend of Maula Jatt, which was supposed to release in May this year. Now we’re hoping the film, that stars Fawad Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi as Maula Jatt and Noori Nath, will release in 2022. Directed by Bilal Lashari and produced by Ammara Hikmat, It also boasts a star roster featuring Mahira Khan, Humaima Malick, Ali Azmat, Shafqat Cheema and Nayyer Ejaz. The remake is not a family entertainer and makers have advised for parents to not bring children to watch it, provided its depiction of blood and gore.

‘Ghabrana Nahi Hai’

The first teaser for Saba Qamar’s latest cinematic offering Ghabrana Nahi Hai dropped recently and hinted at a promising action-packed ride for lovers of desi crime thrillers. Without revealing much about the plot, the teaser is complete with gold chain-sporting gangsters, gun-wielding police officers, sherwani-clad politicians, and a bride marching into a wedding venue filled with shocked guests, seemingly ready for a confrontation. Also starring Zahid Ahmed, Syed Jibran and Nayyer Ijaz, with director Saqib Khan at the helm of the project, the film is slated for an Eid ul Fitr release in 2022.

‘Quaid e Azam Zindabad’

The first poster for Nabeel Qureshi’s Quaid e Azam Zindabad, an action-comedy that follows the story of a notorious cop, played by Fahad Mustafa opposite Mahira Khan, promised that it is ‘coming soon’. With previous offerings like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor In Law as well as Load Wedding, which were not only packed with entertainment but also carried important social messages, critics and fans are hoping Quaid e Azam Zindabad will be no different, and we can’t wait!

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Friday, 12 November 2021

'Khel Khel Mein' highlights human cost of 1971 war

The trailer for Sajal Aly and Bilal Abbas Khan-starrer Khel Khel Mein is finally here, delving into the heart of the 1971 war and the subsequent birth of Bangladesh following the split between East and West Pakistan. The trailer opens with a flashback to the moment of the split, with a turban-clad man announcing, “Your country has been broken apart. You are no longer in Pakistan, but in Bangladesh.” The announcement is met with a sob from a young man, who then falls to his knees in despair.

According to the trailer, the film follows a group of students, led by Sajal’s character, who wish to put on a theatrical performance on the fall of Dhaka at a competition being held in the same city. The decision is met with backlash from faculty who do not wish to provoke unnecessary “controversy”. The trailer then follows the trials and tribulations the students, particularly Sajal’s character, undergo in order to put on the play in Bangladesh, which includes hostile attitudes from those on the other side on the border as well as friction from those at home. The trailer ends with a voiceover from Sajal and Bilal, “Aik jaisa hi pyaar nikle ga, dil ki lelein talaashiyan donoun. Aik ghalti hui, kisi se bhi, maang lete hain, maafiyaan donoun. [The love you find will be the same in both of our hearts. A mistake was made, by one or the other, let us both ask for forgiveness].”

The story appears to centre the people at the heart of the conflict, placing the responsibility of the split between East and West Pakistan on external factors. Judging from the trailer, Khel Khel Mein appears to employ a non-linear narrative, with flashbacks from the past constituting a large part of the film.

The teaser for the film, which releases earlier this month, starts off with the narration, “Hum men se kisi ne bhi ye nahi socha tha ke aik chingari puray jangal ko jaladegi, humen laga tha ke ye aik waqti azmaaish hai [None of us could’ve even imagined that a single spark will set fire to an entire forest, we thought that this was only a temporary test].”

According to the filmmakers, Khel Khel Mein will lift the curtain on the creative genius of youngsters that holds the power to spark change in the mindset of an entire society. Its star-studded cast also includes Marina Khan, Javed Sheikh, Samina Ahmed and Manzar Sehbai. The Nabeel Qureshi directorial will release under the banner of Filmwala Pictures.

The film was cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) for release in cinemas, with the Punjab Film and Censor Board (PFCB) also issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC). Khel Khel Mein is all set for release on November 19 and will be the first local film screened in cinemas as they resume business after a pandemic-related break of around 20 months. A senior official of the CBFC told The Express Tribune, "CBFC and PFCB collectively held a screening of the upcoming film Khel Khel Mein. Both bodies have issued a NOC to the film, as well as a universal rating as the boards found no objectionable content. Khel Khel Mein will be released on November 19, and all the board members were pleased with the film during the censor meeting, believing that it will be a good start to the resumption of local cinema.”

Cinemas were allowed to begin regular operation on October 15 owing to the drop in Covid-19 cases in the country. Last month, after cinema houses were given the go-ahead to resume business, most local distributors and producers were unwilling to release films due to the uncertainty involved and fear of incurring financial losses if cinemas were to shut shortly after opening.

Appreciating director Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza for coming forward with Khel Khel Mein despite the risks involved, chairman of the Film Distributors Association Ch Ejaz Kamran said, “Film producers and stakeholders continuously demanded a reopening of cinemas from the federal government during the days of closure. Now, when cinema houses are operational and business has resumed, it is the responsibility of every stakeholder to come forward and start releasing films to get the industry back on track. The fact that Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza have come forward with Khel Khel Mein is highly appreicated.”

He added further, “Their example should be followed as they are willing to release films at a crucial time for cinemas. We all expect Khel Khel Mein to usher in a new beginning of the post-Covid era, and will hopefully attract viewers back to cinema houses.”

On the importance of the Christman season for new releases, Kamran shared, “At the moment, we are struggling to convince people to release their films, but we are hopeful that the new films will make it to cinemas in the upcoming Christmas season and business will get back on track. There are a number of films that have been completed, with producers on the lookout for the right opportunity to release them.”

Friday, 1 October 2021

Cinemas reopened in eight cities of Pakistan

After a long hiatus, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has announced that cinemas will reopen in eight cities of Pakistan, starting October 1.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special initiatives Asad Umar. It was decided that restrictions due to Covid-19 would be eased in cities that have achieved the targeted vaccination rate.

These cities include, Gilgit, Skardu, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta, and Peshawar. Chaudhry tweeted to confirm the same, “Eight cities including Rawalpindi and Islamabad will be allowed to reopen cinemas starting October 1. We are hoping health authorities in Karachi and Lahore will increase vaccination drives so cinemas can reopen in their regions too.

Taking to the micro-blogging site, Umar went on to reinstate that the “only way out of the Covid-19 pandemic [was] to get high percentage of citizens vaccinated.” So he also announced that as part of a strategy to reward vaccinated cities, there will be “higher restrictions on cities with low level of vaccination and on citizens who are not vaccinated,” also effective from October 1.

Just yesterday, as the world welcomed another James Bond film, Pakistanis started asking whether they’ll ever get to visit their local cinemas again. And while established actors like Fahad Mustafa, who aren’t entirely dependent on their films’ getting a live release to maintain their lifestyles, seemed hopeful, filmmakers like Nabeel Qureshi appeared to be becoming restless.

“James Bond premiere today at London. Hoping to see our cinemas back in action soon [as well]. The world is getting back to normal it’s a good sign!” tweeted Fahad, while Nabeel asked, “Cinemas kab khulengay (When will cinemas re-open)?”

But even when cinemas were looking to re-open in Pakistan earlier this year, everyone seemed to be turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room: Could a box office increasingly dependent on Bollywood get a new life through Hollywood and Pakistani films only?

On that note, it was also announced in India that cinemas in Maharashtra would reopen from October 22. The reopening across comes after 18 months of the box offices remaining shut in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the series of lockdowns since March 2020.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Ayesha Omar unveils her first look from 'Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer'

After Yasir Hussain, actor Ayesha Omar has taken to social media to reveal her first look from their upcoming film based on serial killer Javed Iqbal.

Omar’s poster sees her as the cop she’s gearing up to essay, who will head the investigation against Iqbal in the Abu Aleeha film. The film titled, Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer, will revolve around the man who sexually abused and killed more than 100 children in Lahore between 1998 and 1999.

Omar, who has previously starred in films like Karachi Se Lahore and 7 Din Mohabbat In, shared the poster of her character's look on Instagram. She wrote in the caption, "The Untold Story of a Serial Killer, coming soon. InshAllah."

The film is written and directed by Aleeha and is being produced under the banner of KKFilms by Javed Ahmed.

Iqbal’s case was a particularly macabre one as he strangled his victims, dismembered their corpses and dissolved them in acid to conceal the evidence. He was found guilty and sentenced to death in the same manner that he killed the boys. Moinuddin Haider, the Interior Minister of the time had stated that such a punishment would not be allowed.

Omar, who is known for playing a diverse range of roles throughout her career, had earlier commented that this role is bound to be a challenge but one that she’s certainly looking forward to.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Mahira Khan posts love note for rumoured beau

One of Pakistan's biggest superstars, Mahira Khan, has always kept one thing crystal clear - she would not take invading her privacy easily. The actor, who usually refrains from commenting on her personal life, has refused to speak about the 'controversies' she has been made a part of since the inception of her career

Mahira, unfortunately like many of her peers, had been linked to several men in the industry. Be it a few viral photos, some gossip, the Raees star has always kept it eerily quiet when it comes to discussing her romantic relationships. Until last year, Mahira in a tete-a-tete with veteran star Samina Peerzada shared that she is indeed in love but didn't reveal the person she was in love with.

Now, we finally have an answer. The actor recently took to Instagram and shared a beautiful excerpt on love on what seemed like her beau's birthday. She then went on to tag Salim Karim. Many, among Frieha Altaf, Aiman Khan, Areeba Habib, left heartfelt remarks on the same post.

"My love," the Verna actor captioned the post.

Last year, when asked by the veteran actor whether Mahira was in love with someone special, the Raees star smiled sheepishly and nodded her head. "Yeah, I think I am in love," Mahira smiled. When Samina went on to congratulate her, the Sadqay Tumhare actor added, "I don't know, I am so shy about it."

Samina then inquired if she would know the person Mahira has fallen for, to which the former VJ had asserted, "You might but he's not from the industry."

Samina then asked Mahira if she would want to name the person, she shared that she wouldn't. "This is one thing I would want to protect with my life. I want to protect my child," the Bol actor said, adding, "At first, I wanted to show everyone what an adorable baby Azlan is, but now I've become more cautious. If you notice, you really wouldn't see Azlan's face full front, it'd either be a side pose or a back pose."

Samina ensured her that she had all the right in the world to do that. "I know we shouldn't be so superstitious and I wasn't someone who you would call a vehmi, but now I'm just like I don't want any Nazar (evil eye)," Mahira shared.

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