Thursday, 31 January 2013

Shahzad Rafique’s Ishq Khuda Set to Release on 5th April 2013

Lahore: For the revival of Lollywood the international standard film Ishq Khuda set release on 5th April. Film is directed by shezad Rafique and cast includes Shan, Ahsan Kha, Meera, Wiam & Saima.Songs are written by Raiz-ur-Rehman Sagar and Music is produce by Wajahat Atray.

“Ishq Khuda is based on a journey from jusy a mere cliche of falling in love to the actual depths of love and its manifestations.Songs of the film are sang by Rahat Fatheh Ali, Shazia Manzoor, Sanam Marvi.According to director Shezad Rafique he decided long time ago that he will announce the Releasing date of his film in the month of Rabi-ul-Awal.We want to work hard to for the revival of film industry and  our film industry need prayers he added.

Promotion strategy has already decided and soon cast of the film will be seen on different programs where as different shows will be arranged on Radio as well.The film is based on unique subject and it will get success all around the globe.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Siyaah may pave way for indie film-makers

Independent horror thriller Siyaah, which is scheduled for a nationwide release on March 15, deals with the themes of black magic and exorcism.
The film’s director Azfar Jafri, a self-taught film-maker based in Islamabad, joined the project after producer Imran Raza Kazmi tried out several screenwriters and directors.
“I am not a horror film director or anything,” says Jafri. “We don’t how the critics or masses will take the film, but the way we have treated the film should make it as different as possible.”
Producer Kazmi, who has limited experience with film, also seems unperturbed by the odds of making a horror film for a Pakistani audience. “After I saw Omar Khan’s Zibahkhana, it really got me thinking; if one person can make a good quality film, then we can too,” says Kazmi. The process hasn’t been easy, since he has changed three screen writers and put in several months of research regarding the film’s themes. “My goal was to create something different to show another side to Pakistani film-making,” Kazmi adds. “It is different fromZibahkhana and horror films from the ‘60s and ‘70s. It has suspense and drama — we have tried to create a balance of all the perfect ingredients.”
The film includes several actors from the local circuit in Islamabad, such as Hareem Farooq, Qazi Jabbar, Mahnoor Usman, Ahmed Ali Akbar, Aslam Rana, Sofia Wanchoo Mir, Rizwana, Sarwar Salimi and Amy Saleh. Owner of Living Picture Productions Osman Khalid Butt has written the screenplay.
“The people we have chosen were already in the theatrical scene; they knew that Kazmi could pull it off and we could produce something really good,” says Jafri. Speaking about the low profile and publicity the film has maintained, Jafri explains that the team has been focusing on ensuring that the film is completed before speaking to the media. “It is a negative reflection on your credibility when you start talking about a film and it turns out to be different.”
On the bright side
While audiences should hold their breath for what the film-makers promise will be a different experience, Siyaah could also be a breakthrough Pakistan’s film industry.
Films with smaller budgets usually find it difficult to reach cinemas because of distribution problems, but Siyaah seems to have been lucky. “I know of several films that are ready in Pakistan but don’t find distribution,” says Kazmi. Fortunately, the horror flick has secured major distribution thanks to Cinepax Cinema, whose parent company is Footprint Entertainment. “This was the best way to get our film to theatres,” explains Kazmi.
Marketing manager of Cinepax Limited Mohsin Yaseen explains that while Footprint Entertainment has been involved in the distribution of films from major companies such as Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks, over the last few years the company has spearheaded the resurgence of local cinema in Pakistan by making it a priority to support local films.
Yaseen explains that even after securing distribution, future of local films depends on the content. Film-makers will have to be creative and get away from old and worn-out themes which intelligent and aware audiences do not appreciate.
“People don’t want to see dancing in the fields or things of that nature,” says Yaseen. “The audience is much more sophisticated and comes prepared to watch a film after looking at trailers and reading reviews. We think that Siyaah provides that content.”

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Farooq Mengal goes from dramas to film

After being closely associated with the Pakistani drama industry for the past few years, producer-director Farooq Mengal has now decided to steer the wheel into another direction and shoot a feature film. Titled Hijrat, the Quetta-based director’s debut film is about a love triangle with a backdrop of human rights issues. It is set to release in October this year.
“The film is based on romance and commitment essentially but we also wanted to explore the background of human rights issues in Pakistan,” says Mengal. He feels Pakistani dramas and films have been focusing on such issues lately and this has to do with the changing face of cinema in the country. “In today’s times, we have an endless list of problems in this country and I think we have to find stories from this society so the audience can relate.”
The film’s cast includes new as well as experienced actors; Shahzad Sheikh (actor Javed Sheikh’s son), Noman Ijaz, Rabia Butt, Azra Aftab, Ayub Khoso and Wiam Dhamani, the Moroccan actor who is also appearing in Shehzad Rafique’s film, Ishq Khuda.
A quality project
Speaking about the project, Mengal reveals that he has been planning this film for quite some time; it took him a few years to make the transition from dramas to films. He feels multi-tasking — being a producer and director both — can only really work and seep rewards if you have a dedicated team to support you.
Mengal has made a conscious effort to inject new actors in Hijrat. “Film-making today is different from what it once was — we have to make sure films are up to modern standards,” he continues, referring to how India has evolved and kept up with the ever-changing world. “This new school of thought and attitude which allows new talent to emerge and come forward is very good for our film industry.”
In order to make a quality film, he has imported first-rate production and film-making equipment from India. “You can witness the difference in our economy. If you make a good quality film, it could potentially run in cinemas for several weeks,” he says.
Ayub Khoso, a Baloch actor who has appeared in several prominent films and dramas, saysHijrat is unique because it exemplifies the changing trends in Pakistani cinema; there are new actors in the industry with a renewed excitement and passion for the art.
“I think there is new energy today when it comes to films and how people want to push this industry forward,” says Khoso, pleased with the advancements the Pakistani entertainment industry has made. “There are several people with decent backgrounds who are now making films.” He feels scripts cannot be restricted to just people residing in Pakistan but should also be applicable to people around the globe.
Khoso believes this sudden rise in interest in film-making can be attributed to the success of our drama industry. “Initially, our film-makers were just very experienced. And now, people who have actually studied what film-making is and are very knowledgeable, have entered the field,” he continues. “So the current environment exudes confidence that we can make good films. However, although confidence is good, overconfidence is always a bad thing.

Preparing to launch: Sabiha Sumar set to release her new film on Karachi

KARACHIAfter a long delay, the premiere of Sabiha Sumar’s feature film Good Morning Karachi is finally taking place at the Goteborg Film Festival in Sweden on January 28 with hopes that it will create the much-needed stir to encourage a local distributor for a Pakistani launch.
The 90-minute movie, which is set in Karachi and revolves around a poor girl’s struggle to become a model, was supposed to be released in 2011 but was delayed because of Sumar’s health.
“It’s a very big film festival and we are hoping for a good response,” Sumar said at a press conference at The Second Floor cafĂ© on Saturday. “The festival attracts an audience of more than 200,000. And all the seats for our first show have been sold.”
Sumar is too frail to walk without a walker but her firmness and straight-forward answers defied her illness. Good Morning Karachi was initially titled after its main character called Rafina, which has been played by model Amna Eliyas. The script has been written by Shandana Minhas.
Sumar, whose first feature film Khamosh Pani won international acclaim, says her new movie offers something different to the viewers as it shows a girl’s struggle in Karachi – a city that faces a unique set of problems.
It took the cast eight weeks to complete the filming following a three-month long workshop to get familiar with the characters.
“We had planned to complete it in six months if it had not been for the bomb blast near PIDC,” she said, referring to the November 2010 explosion at the CID Centre.
Not much was shared about the plot of the movie. The one-minute-twenty-second trailer showed the attack on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming congregation, men raising religious slogans, Amna working as a waitress and then being chosen to mode.
The film had come at a personal cost for Sumar as once again her company Vidhi Films struggled to raise funds. But this is also the first time that a local company Getz Pharma had become one of the sponsors.
“This contribution is very, very important for me,” she said. “If you don’t have local support then international sponsorship doesn’t come easily. And even when it comes, they want you spend money in their countries.”
The film has not been launched in Pakistan because local distributors are not ready to market it, she regretted. “I don’t need help. The movie is good enough to sell itself. It’s just because of the attitude of preferring foreign content discourages artists like me.”
If no one came forward to distribute the movie in the country, her company will arrange a travelling-cinema, showing the film to people in villages. “But I will not show it for free in the cities.”
Amna Eliyas, who also attended the press conference along with Beo Rana Zafar, said it was easy for her to relate to the role. “After a while, it seemed I was playing myself.”

Saturday, 26 January 2013

FILUMS to Screen Wajahat Kazmi's Film The Blue Veins

LAHORE: Exclusive Screening of Wajahat Kazmi's Film The Blue Vein to be held on 10th of February at Lums International Film Festival. (FILUMS) 

The Blue Veins " is a Short Film produced by Wajahat Kazmi Films and Directed by Z-Shan Kazmi. Movie is about a Poet and his imagination. Movie's story has been adopted from one of the Master Pieces of Great Urdu Writer Sa'adat Hassan Manto."The Blue Veins" is a blend of classic film art and Urdu literature, a must watch for everybody interested in experiencing Urdu literature through the language of Film Art. Being nominated for several Film Festivals across South-Asia and Europe for the year 2013. Lahore University of Management Sciences and Nestle Fructis presents Exclusive Film Screening of “The Blue Veins ". Film produced by Wajahat Kazmi Films and Directed by Talented Zshan Kazmi. Followed by the Screening of the Film, a special Film Workshop and Lecture of Film Promotions would be hold by Z-shan Kazmi (Film Director) and Amaan Tareen (Film's PR, Media and Promotions Head).

Friday, 25 January 2013

Pakistani Film Festival 2013: A cocktail of classics, recent hits to woo Islooites

The week-long “Pakistani Film Festival 2013” aimed at revival of the film industry, kicked off on Thursday, at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
Seven films, Ek Gunah Aur Sahi , Mohabbatan Sachiyan , Heer Ranjha, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan , Yeh dil aap ka huwa, Bulandi and Jhoomer , will be screened under the theme, “Be Pakistani, see Pakistani.”  However, there will be no show on Friday due to Eid Miladun Nabi.
PNCA Director General Tauqir Nasir, while briefing the media, said the objective behind organising the festival was to revive people’s interest in Pakistani cinema. “It is a fact that films are one of the best ways to promote culture , but we are losing this platform,” he said.
“The film industry has nosedived because of neglect and lack of investment.”  Pakistan is blessed with talent but all they lack is resources, new technologies and platform, Nasir added. It’s unfortunate that there are no cinemas in the capital which deprives residents from one of the biggest sources of entertainment, he stated.
The movies  include hits from the past as well as more recent ones.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Pervaiz Kaleem bemoans dearth of Pakistani screenwriters

Screenwriter-director Pervaiz Kaleem has been a voice of change in Pakistani cinema and has tried his luck at all kinds of films. By writing more modern and explicit stories, he has attempted to tackle the unconventional genre of films. Today, however, he feels there is a shortage of trained film-makers, a development that will affect the film industry adversely.
“Today, we have to write screenplays in a new way — writers can relate but there is a change in tempo,” says Kaleem, who has written the script of 2011 film Bhai Log, a highly-hyped Lollywood flick regarding the gang culture in Karachi. “It’s not like it used to be. We, now, have the freedom to add more things into a script.” He has also penned the dialogues for upcoming film Ishq Khuda.
Kaleem believes the dearth of trained writers in Lollywood is due to technical issues the job encompasses. “There are many people who can narrate stories, but we have to understand that screenwriting in itself is a different thing; it is a technical job,” he continues. “You need to be trained by a professional to be able to write a solid screenplay.”
The director talks about his own trajectory; he points out that he made a conscious effort in 2002 to take a back seat from directing and invest his time in scriptwriting. “It was a time when a lot of my mentors had stopped writing scripts,” he says, adding that this subsequently motivated him to write. “In my mind, I always felt directing and writing were both equally respectable tasks.”
Kaleem feels a writer should be open to all sorts of themes and the audience should construe these stories with an open mind. “I have never tackled just one issue and have always tried to explore a broad base of subject matter when writing scripts,” says Kaleem. “I have used my profession to promote nationalism. This is something I am very open about — I am a nationalist.”
Kaleem also reveals his close relationship with actor Shaan Shahid, after spending years together in the same industry. “I have a good rapport with Shaan — we have done a lot of work together,” he says. Kaleem is currently writing two films out of which one, Mission Allahuakbar, is being directed by Shaan. “This film is going to be interesting. I cannot divulge too many details but it’s about a mission,” he adds, saying the film is presently under production in Thailand.
He has written several other films for Shaan’s production house, Riaz Shahid Production, including Guns and Roses, Moosa Khan and Zill-e-Shah. The second film Kaleem is working on is a Pashto romantic drama by Liaquat Khan.
On the side, Kaleem has dedicated some time to creating an art film, Dream for Sale, through which he intends to enter the international film festival circuit. He feels the improvement and advancement in technology has allowed the parameters of film-making to widen in the country. “I intend to shoot Dream for Sale with a Red or Mach3 camera and within a month’s time, the cast of this film will also be finalised,” he says.
“I said back in 2000, that our studio system was getting outdated,” he adds. “We are in a crisis right now but we won’t let our industry die — there are new and young people who will help us move forward.”

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy always wears Pakistan!

Academy award and Emmy Award winning film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has made us proud yet again. On Tuesday, she was given the prestigious Crystal Award in recognition for her efforts in promoting human rights and women’s issues through her films at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
Staying true to her sense of style and love for Pakistani designers, Obaid-Chinoy yet again wore clothes and accessories from local designers. The beautiful Swarovski Pakistani flag-themed clutch she carried is a hand designed piece made by Samia and Azmay Shahzada, and her stunning gold jumpsuit and sherwani coat paired were from Nida Azwer’s Atelier creation. At other ceremonies and international red carpet events, she has worn Bunto Kazmi, Maheen Karim, Fashion ComPassion and Mahin Hussain.
As she tweeted her excitement about being at the ceremony, she told The Express Tribune: “The crystal award is special because this is the first time a Pakistani is being honoured at the World Economic Forum. I feel proud to represent my country and showcase the fact that educated empowered women are making strides in Pakistan.”
She added that she feels humbled by the opportunity to represent Pakistan, and that the award embodies the sentiments that guide her work as a film-maker. “I firmly believe that the pursuit of art and film can change the world by promoting dialogue and acting as a catalyst for change,” she said.
The Crystal Award — introduced by the World Economic Forum in 1995 — honours personalities who are committed to improving the state of the world and are, hence, regarded as both cultural leaders and global citizens.
Apart from Sharmeen, awards were also presented for the role of arts in the society to big names like actor-model Charlize Theron for her Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, and artist Vik Muniz for his membership in the Global Agenda Council.
The award pays tribute to the decisive role culture and art play in the creation of global understanding and peace and is presented every year at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
At the end, Obaid-Chinoy said, “[On Tuesday], I spoke about the power of film in changing mindsets of Pakistani people and the fact that documentaries can be used to spread the word at the grassroots level — people who put their lives at risk every day to bring change in their communities.”

Monday, 21 January 2013

Will 2013 be the year of revival for Lollywood?

The machinery of Pakistan film industry; like the capital of the country few days back, seems to be on halt these days. With exceptions to one or two ongoing efforts and work on upcoming announced films, there doesn’t seem to be much activity in film circles. If we talk about the expectations regarding the ‘New Year’ of 2013, well, to be honest we haven’t got much new to discuss.
Let’s first discuss the long list of already in pipeline films, which we hope would at last be able to make it to cinemas this year. To start with the biggest, Bilal Lashari’s long-awaitedWaar finally needs to see the projector lights this year, and that too hopefully in the first half of these new bunch of twelve months. There were a lot of positive expectations regarding this film last year as far as its release date is concerned, and to many people there was no point of it being not released in 2012, but as per the producer in an interview, it is the distributional framework of the film that remains unchecked. But we hope the production gang would soon come up with good news for the fans.
Another film that was highly expected to release in 2012 was Shahzad Rafique‘s Ishq Khuda. The film was announced twice to be released last year for both the Eids, but things couldn’t get materialised at the end. We hope this Ahsan Khan, Meera and Wiam Dahmani starrer Punjabi flick would also be announced soon to release this year.
Some other delayed but highly anticipated movies like Saltanat by Sayed Faisal Bukhari,The Dusk by Z-Shan Kazmi, Kaptaan by Faisal Aman Khan, Tamanna by Steven Moore,Lamha (Seedlings) by Mansoor Mujahid, Josh by Iram Parveen and Shamoon Abbasi’sGidh, would also hopefully hit the cinemas this year.
There are quite a few newly announced and currently under-production films that will add up significantly to the list of upcoming films. In fact there has been a great anticipatory shift from the films that were announced a few years back but haven’t still made it to cinemas; to these newly announced and better looking films.
The first one in the list of these newly announced films is Shoaib Mansoor’s sociopolitical period film on Pak-India relations. The movie was announced in the former half of the previous year, whereas the name of the movie and cast hasn’t been made public yet. The period love story based during the troubled times of 1947; according to Shoaib Mansoor, isn’t going to be a stereo-typical “boy-meets-girl-across-the-barbed-wire-fence story.” In Shoaib Mansoor’s point of view, “cinema in both countries needs to go deeper to pin down the reasons for the rapidly deteriorating relations between India and Pakistan,”
The second big announcement last year came from Mudhouse and the Golden Doll’s director and star, Hamza Ali Abbasi. Hamza has announced a full length feature comedy film named, Kambakht. Starring none other than Ahsan Khan and Shafqat Cheema, the movie will be based on two characters who come from entirely different financial backgrounds. One is a rich-class man while the other belongs to the under-developed Tribal Areas of the country. Work on this full commercial film is currently in its full swing and we hope the release date for the movie will be announced soon.
Another recently announced feature film that has created a great stir in the industry after its announcement is Humayun Saeed produced sports film inspired by the life of ace Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi. People had been wishing for a long time to see Humayun Saeed back and active in the film scene of Pakistan. And guess what, he is back! There has been a great ambiguity about the film, it was previously reported that the film is based on the struggle and then the stardom life of Shahid Afridi, which changed after a few months and it was announced that the story has just taken few inspirations from Afridi’s life. The plot is still not clear; neither the proper announcement of cast and actual name has been reported so far. But we hope things would get clearer with passing time and movie will soon be completed.
There are two other films currently making headlines in film journals. Both having their own unique links, the films are rated very high. To start with the big one; and we are calling it big because it has been termed as the biggest movie ever been under-production in Pakistan. With Humayun Saeed working on his own film separately, Abdullah Kadwani, his (now rumored to be) former production partner at “7th Sky entertainment”, has also decided to produce something of his own at bigger screen. Produced by Abdullah Kadwani of course, along with the very well-known face of the industry, Shahzad Nawaz, who has also penned the story and the script of the film, the movie has been titled as Chambaili. With the likes of Salmaan Peerzada, Shafqat Cheema, Maira Khan (not to confuse with the Bol and Humsafar star Mahira Khan), Khalid Ahmed, Omair Rana, Sadia Hayat and Shahzad Nawaz himself in the cast; along with a guest appearance by industry veteran Ghulam Mohiuddin, the film is for sure going to blow your minds. As per latest reports on its release date, the drama-thriller is slated to release on 23rd March 2013, keeping it in line with the sociopolitical narrative the film possesses.
The second film enjoying its publicity share these days is veteran Indian actor, Naseeruddin Shah, starrer soon-to-be-released Punjabi-Urdu flick Zinda Bhaag. Produced by Mazhar Zaidi, quite a known person in the journalistic circle of the country,Zinda Bhaag is directed by Meena Gaur (also the co-writer of the film), along with Farjad Nabi. The film deals with the topic of young generation in pursuit of better opportunities outside the country, opting for the not so legal ways to escape the mohallas of Lahore and finally ending up in difficult circumstances. The editing work on the film is almost done according to a latest report, while the film itself is slated for the release in latter half of 2013.
This whole year now relies on these already announced but delayed movies as far as the long awaited revival of film industry is concerned. The more of our own productions here, the less of course will be the crisis. Yes, the local cinemas are currently occupied with English and Indian films, creating a space amongst this immense competition is obviously tough, but this is where these movies have to play their role, specially the ones that are on delay for last two years at least.
The bitter reality on the part of local cinemas is that the big theatres in Lahore and Karachi have already done their planning for the New Year and booked the cinemas in advance for Bollywood or Hollywood movies. But what else could they do as the local quality films aren’t releasing in abundance. So there is only a little ray of hope for local filmmakers to get cinemas for their movies. It’s up to these directors and producers to make efforts and do proper planning regarding the release schedule and availability of theatres, as no local filmmaker would want to experience any unpleasant situation when a Lollywood movie is on the show.
Lollywood is facing the biggest dilemma of its history that too has many folds. The ever decreasing number of movies and non availability of theatres are the main problems. So we will have to have the courage to convert our failures into success by our own selves. Our young lot can make amends along with seniors. Let’s hope the starting year of 2013 has the best in it for Lollywood!
(Copyrights Galaxy Lollywood)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Quaid wanted ‘Mussalmans’ to enter film industry

Where successive Pakistani governments have subjected the country’s once prosperous film industry to official neglect, a recently discovered letter penned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah reveals the country’s founder gave seminal importance to the industry.
“I am in receipt of your letter of December 30th 1944, and I wish more Mussalmans would enter into this realm of film industry, and I shall always be glad to do all I can to help it. I have noted that Mr Mahboob is producing a historical picture “Humayun”, and if I have an opportunity of seeing it I might be able to express my opinion about it, but generally I do wish that more Mussalmans would enter this line, as there is plenty of scope for them in the film industry,” reads the Quaid’s letter, dated January 6, 1945.
The type-written letter clearly bears his personal monogram and is neatly signed by his own hand.
The letter was written in response to a letter by Mohammad Masud, then a young political activist, who sought the Quaid’s opinion on the role of Indian Muslims in the sub-continent’s film industry.
Now in his 80s, Masud resides in Karachi with his grandchildren. While he has never been particularly talkative, many an eager ear has been mesmerised by his narration of pre-partition experiences. From his youth to his old age, Masud has also cultivated a penchant for writing letters to the country’s leaders, past and present. The Quaid was among the few who got back to him.
Pakistani film industry today is exemplified by mustachioed men with ‘gandasas’ staring down plus-sized women as they dance.
Cinemas themselves are dominated by Bollywood and Hollywood. The industry has been on the verge of demise ever since the separation of East Pakistan (and with it, its film industry), and the advent of the VCR.
The state, meanwhile, has had bigger concerns, leaving an industry, which once provided much revenue and was a means of promoting a ‘softer image’, in shambles. No government has tried to restore Pakistani cinema to its former glory – the state does not even acknowledge it as an industry. Similarly, little official attention has been given to film education – not a single state-funded film school exists in the country.
Quaid’s letter could not have been uncovered at a more apt time. It shows the level of enthusiasm a person who represented the entire Muslim population of India at the time possessed, even as he replied to someone as inconsequential as a young admirer – that too at a time when the entire region was embroiled in a crisis much graver than cultivating a film industry.
Masud still pens letters to the country’s present day leaders, often reminding them of their duty to the nation. Most never bother to reply. Only Jinnah had the courtesy and the vision to respond to each letter he received. One can only wish we could have another leader like that.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Renowned classical singer Mehnaz Begum passes away

Renowned Urdu classical singer Mahnaz Begum passed away on Saturday January 19, 2013, Express News reported.
According to Express News, she was travelling to the US from Karachi when during the flight her health deteriorated.
The 55-year-old was transferred to a hospital in Bahrain where she passed away.
She had lent her voice to a number of films as a playback singer. She specialised in ghazals, thumris, khayal, and reciting salam, noha and marsiya.
Born in 1958, she was the daughter of celebrated singer Kajjan Begum.
Among her most famous ghazals to which she lent her vocals are “ab kay tajdeed e wafa ka nahi imkaan”, “mujhe dil se na bhulana” among a host of others.