Friday, 30 January 2015

Unravelling the jalaibee

Initially expected to release during the summer of 2014, Jalaibee will is now set to hit the cinemas in March this year. PHOTO: PUBLCIITY
One of the highlights of the upcoming film Jalaibee is that, along with boasting a cast of young and fresh faces both in front of, and behind, the camera, it is being helmed by the versatile Yasir Jaswal. The young writer-director spoke to The Express Tribune about his soon-to-be released film and the amount of time and effort that was invested into making a film in a growing film industry like that of Pakistan.
Jalaibee is a film about eight people and how their lives are intertwined after a sequence of events,” says Jaswal. “Two of the major characters in the film are Billu (Danish Taimoor) and Bugga (Ali Safina), friends who get entangled in a debt with the local mafia called The Unit,” he adds, specifying that a central theme of the film is greed and how it wields its sledgehammer on those involved.
Describing the movie as a “caper film,” he says that the teaser of the film, which was released a year ago, reminded people of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino movies. “Many genres in Pakistan have not been explored before and one of them is that of caper films.”
He states, “Directors like Ritchie and Tarantino are kings of the caper genre, with movies such as Snatch and Pulp Fiction under their belts,” so he feels people can be excused if they notice that his film bears a resemblance with such films. But despite comparisons, he reiterates that the movie is entirely original, clarifying, “There are many artistes with similar ideas but what helps make artistes’ work stand out is how they grasp and project the subject under a different light.”
On the casting process of the film, he says is grateful to work with a talented group of actors. Defining his vision for the role of Bugga and how he only had Safina in mind for it, he says, “His energy just made him a perfect fit for the role.” He shares that many people had been approached for the role of Billu before Taimoor, but “his audition for the part blew everyone away.” Jaswal states that Taimoor’s performance in the film will be different from the kind of roles he usually portrays on television.
One person whose performance Jaswal reserved special praise for was that of Wiqar Ali Khan. Khan will be essaying the role of a British-Pakistani in the film. “While looking for people to play the part, we considered several international actors but decided on him because of his charm, charismatic personality and, above all, the slick vibe he emits. That made him perfect for the role.”
As to whether the film carries the quintessential item number, which is gradually becoming a staple in Pakistani films, Jaswal laughingly reveals, “There are two ‘performance songs’ inJalaibee but no ‘item numbers’ as such.” Stating that he finds item numbers ‘derogatory’, he says, “None of the female characters in the film are showing any skin as I don’t like the idea of that.” He likens the role of Zhalay Sarhadi to that of Jessica Alba’s from Sin City, but clarifies that there is “absolutely no vulgarity in the film.”
Initially expected to release during the summer of 2014, Jalaibee will is now set to hit the cinemas in March this year. Explaining the reason for the delay, Jaswal says “The production team had run out of funds and the reason behind releasing the teaser was strategic. Wanting to get financers on board, we worked on the pre-production of the film quite extensively, which resulted in delay of the film’s release.”
Apart from writing and directing Jalaibee, Jaswal has taken up the role of a music director. He describes the soundtrack of the film as ‘extreme’ due to the diverse range of artistes featuring in it. His brothers Umair Jaswal and Uzair Jaswal along with artistes, such as Shizzio, Zohaib Kazi and underground band Lahu, have contributed to the film’s soundtrack.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Yasir Jaswal’s Jalaibee gets a release date

The cast of Jalaibee takes a selfie. PHOTO: JALAIBEE FACEBOOK PAGE
KARACHI: One of this year’s most anticipated films has gotten a release date! Yes, Yasir Jaswal’s star-studded Jalaibee will finally hit the screens on March 20.
The team behind the film announced the date on their Facebook page. They also unveiled the films’s first poster.
RELATED: Yasir Jaswal offers first glimpse into his ‘Jalaibee’

The poster and release date come over a year after its trailer was released on December 25, 2013. The trailer had piqued the curiosity of many who saw the stylised eye-pleasing visuals, powerful sound design, engaging dialogue and contemporary music appealing.
The trailer also revealed the first ever usage of an American muscle car in a Pakistani film.
Jalaibee mostly features a cast of film-debutants including the likes of the versatile actor Adnan Jafar, Asal Din Khan, Ali Safina, Danish Taimoor, Uzair Jaswal, and VJ cum model Wiqar Ali Khan. Zhalay Sarhadi is the only one in the crew to have had past silver screen experience, from her role in Ramchand Pakistani.
The film has been produced under the label of REDRUM Films in association with Jaswal Films and Sermad Films.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The most highly anticipated movies releasing in 2015

With back to back blockbusters released last year like ‘Dukhtar‘, ‘Na Maloom Afrad‘ and ‘Operation 021‘, movie buffs have been treated to some fantastic local entertainment in 2014 and we can conveniently say that Pakistani cinema has finally revived and there’s absolutely no looking back now.
With so many films under production we are hoping to see many films hit the screen in 2015. Revenge of the Worthless, Jawani phir nahi aani, Hijrat, Bin Roye are films that we are hoping to see soon but haven’t heard any official word on in terms of release date.
Here are a few films that we have officially (or unofficially) heard are being released this year:
Teen Bahadur
Produced by the Academy Award Winning Film Director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and made entirely in Pakistan, ‘3 Bahadur‘, is a fully animated feature film. In fact, the first animated movie of Pakistan which will be introducing Pakistani children to their own superheroes- ones  with whom they can relate, those who speak their language, live in their areas only and represent them. The movie is scheduled to release in summers, on May 29th to be precise- a treat all children must look forward to during vacations.
Khwaab Aik Haqeeqat
 Claiming to be Pakistan’s first ever thriller after the revival of Pakistani cinema, ‘Khwaab Aik Haqeeqat‘ is all set to come out sometime this year – at least according to their Facebook page. Starring Maira Khan and Khalid Nizami and Aamir Qureshi, the movie is a fantasy based horror film. So far, just the posters of the movie have been released and they are doing a great job at setting the scary mood.
 For all those who are sick of movies based on wars and problems our country is plagued with, prepare yourself for some pure entertainment with Yasir Jaswal’s ‘Jalaibee‘.  The fun twisted movie stars several popular and handsome faces like Ali Safina, Danish Taimur and Wiqar Ali Khan. The cast also includes two statuesque beauties, Sabika Imam and Zhalay Sarhadi
Main Manto
One movie I had been desperately waiting for to release ever since I found out it’s in its post-production phase is undeniably Sarmad Khoosat’s ‘Mai Manto‘. I have a strong feeling it is going to come out real soon. Besides Khoosat himself, the movie boasts of several veteran actors including Saba Qamar, Faysal Qureshi, Mahira Khan and Sania Saeed-  it is indeed going to be a masterpiece!
Claiming to be Pakistan’s budget movie, Shaan Shahid and Adnan Sidddiqui starrer ‘Yalghaar‘ is another movie to have entered its final production phase. Based on a true story of a successful military operation conducted in Swat district, the movie’s first trailer is expected to be launched by mid-January and is tentatively slated for 2015 release. The war movie’s cast also includes Humayun Saeed, Gohar Rasheed, Sana Bucha Ayub Khoso, Bilal Ashraf, Ayesha Omer, Sikander Rizvi, Umair Jaswal, and Armeena Khan. A tentative release date for the film id December 2015.
Good Morning Karachi
After doing rounds on the international film festival circuit for almost two years, Sabiha Sumar’s ‘Good Morning Karachi‘ has finally graced the cinema theatres in Pakistan in the first week of January. The film stars Amna Ilyas as Rafina  an ambitious girl who leaves behind the small lanes of Karachi’s Shah Faisal Colony and joins the glamorous but cut throat world of fashion. Sawera Nadeem, Saba Hameed, Farhan Ali Agha, Aamina Sheikhand Khalid Malik are also among the cast. You can still catch the film in a few theaters.
Thriller ‘Hotal‘ by Khalid Hassan has already been screened in the Delhi International Film Festival; and has also been awarded along with the protagonist, Meera Ji herself, bagging the award for the best actress! The film should be hitting Pakistani theatres in March. The movie also has a number by Jasmine Sandlas, knownfor her song Yaar Na Miley from Kick’.
Halla Gulla
Directed by Kamran Akbar Khan, ‘Halla Gulla’ stars Javed Sheikh, Ismail Tara, Ghazala Javed, Asim Mehmood, Muneeb and Sidra Batool. Judging from the tagline of the movie which says ‘Pakistan’s first SOLID entertainment film’, looks like the filmmakers have now realized that Pakistani audience is hooked on entertainment movies. The makers of ‘Halla Gulla’ are also following Nabeel Qureshi’s footsteps.
Another full fledged entertainment movie that we hope makes it theatres this year is Hamza Ali Abbasi’s directorial venture ‘Kambakht‘. Calling his first love not acting but directing, Abbasi wasn’t supposed to be in the movie until Ahsan Khan dropped out but we are surely glad about seeing our favourite actor on the celluloid screen too now. Other veteran actors in the cast include Humayun Saeed, Shehryar Munawar, Sohai Ali Aabroo, Saba Qamar, Fizza Zehra and Gohar Rasheed.


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Zara Sheikh’s ‘Devdas’ set to release in February

After a delay of almost four years the much awaited Pakistani film ‘Devdas’, starring Meera and Zara Sheikh in lead characters, is reportedly set to hit cinema screens on February 20, 2015.
Directed by veteran filmmaker Iqbal Kashmiri the film has been produced by a novice filmmaker Nadeem Shah who will also make his acting debut in it. According to NDTV the film has been facing hindrance in the release owing to presence of some objectionable drinking scenes in the movie and lack of budget.
Shah also visited India in 2013 in hopes to release his movie across the border but the things didn’t materialize.
Based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel the film narrates a story of a forlorn lover Devdas  (Nadeem Shah) belonging to wealthy Bengali family who loves his childhood friend Paro (Zara Sheikh) but couldn’t marry her due to strong opposition from family. The guy turns into a habitual drinker and find solace in the arms of a courtesan Chandrmukhi (Meera).
The film music has been composed by Wajahat Attre whereas lyrics are by Saeed Gillani and Ahmed Faraz.
Bollywood has made two successful attempts based on Chattopadhyay’s novel  – starring Indian first superstar Dilip Kumar and Shahrukh Khan.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Jawani Phir Nahi Aani’ to release in 2015

Jawani phir nahi aani, a film that follows the trials of a middle-class man and boasts some of the leading names of the industry will be released in 2015.
Produced by Humayun Saeed’s production house Six Sigma entertainment the family movie is the story of four friends on a life-changing journey from Thailand to Lahore.
The romantic comedy follows one bachelor and his three married friends as they navigate commitment, family, and ‘clingy’ wives. Director Nadeem Baig told HIP that the film is ultimately a ‘family reunion film’ where all the members of a family must learn to get along.
The cast Ayesha Khan, Hamza Abbasi, Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat, Wasay Chaudhry, Sohai Abro, Ahmed Ali Butt, Javed Sheikh and Omer Sharif. Th director also revealed that actress Bushra Ansari will be adding a touch of herdesi humour with a Saima Chaudhry style character.
Actor and producer described Jawaani Phir Nahi Aaani as ‘a really fun movie’.  “With five to six hip songs and will be shot in Bangkok. We just want it to be an entertainer!” he said in a recent interview.
Read: The most highly anticipated movies releasing in 2015
The cast and production team has given us quite a few memorable things in past and we wish they do the same now. Wasay Chaudhry, who has written the script and acts in the film. gave us Dolly ki ayegi baraat – a new age comedy, Mehwish was brilliant in Man Jali while Hamza and Sohai’s Pyarey Afzal was the most watched serial of 2014.
Watch out for Saeed in his other upcoming projects like Kambakht, Arth 2, Yalghar and Malik.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The return of a visionary - Saeed Rizvi

For a director who has called the shots for over 2000 TV commercials, it is rather surprising that Saeed Rizvi is a man who likes to stay away from the spotlight. From the late ’70s to the early ’90s, Rizvi was behind every other successful ad campaign, and that is what prompted him to get on board a bigger ship and make the first Sci-fi film of the Sub-continent in 1989, titled Shanee. He soon gained popularity for his horror film Sar Kata Insaan (1994) as well as the Pak-Russia venture Tilismi Jazeera (1997) before he bid adieu to filmmaking with a romantic venture Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (2000).
Now, after a hiatus of 18 years the director/producer is making a comeback into the field he knows best, and hopes to take the ailing industry forward with his project. “I will be spending the next one month in the US for the preparation of my next project which will be a romantic horror; the likes of which have never been experienced in Pakistan,” revealed Saeed in an interview with Instep. “All I would like to disclose about the project is that the movie will follow the ‘woman-in-white’ theme, will have a fresh cast and combine live action with Animatronics (a cross between Electronics and Animation), something that hasn’t even been tried in Pakistan before.”
However, 18 years is a long time for any director to stay away from the playing field. But Saeed Rizvi believes that taking a break didn’t mean he was rusting away in retirement; in fact he was learning the tricks of the trade and updating himself unlike his contemporaries.Profile_Shanee
“The biggest problem with our people is that we don’t want to learn once we have started making money whereas in the US or the UK and even in Iran and India, filmmakers keep updating themselves with new technologies that help them in their upcoming projects,” asserted the veteran director. “I am glad that I had the chance of going abroad and learning from world renowned technicians and teachers and that helped me understand a lot of things about filmmaking and its new techniques. I will be trying to use what I have learnt in my upcoming project and with that, I hope to inspire new filmmakers who have the ideas but don’t know how to utilize them.”
Having said that, Rizvi believes the revival of the film industry in Pakistan is only a couple of good films away, provided that the filmmakers keep the country’s demographics in mind. “I am glad that people are making films in Pakistan but their biggest issue is that they don’t understand that language is as important as the story,” Rizvi pointed out. “English is far more commonly understood in India than in Pakistan, even then almost all Bollywood films are in Hindi. That’s because they understand that their target market prefers Hindi; if they want to watch a film in English then they might as well go and watch a Hollywood film.”
Even though Rizvi relates the example with India, he has been very vocal against the screening of Indian films in Pakistan. Nevertheless, he believes that showing Indian films is good as long as it helps the struggling Pakistani cinema stand on its feet.
“As a member of the Censor Board, I get to watch a lot of films before the general public; some of them are very good while some are really bad. It is a good thing that our cinema industry is receiving oxygen in form of Indian films but for how long can we rely on them?” he asked. “We must start making good films so our dependency on foreign films can end and we can start depending on our local material. We have the talent to produce quality material and Na Maloom Afraad showed us that; all we have to do is work with dedication and we will succeed.”
Unlike some of our veteran directors who don’t believe in following role models, Saeed Rizvi admits that he is a big fan of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, James Cameron and Peter Jackson, to name a few Hollywood directors.Profile_Talismi-Jazera
“In order to make good films, we must follow the work of these filmmakers who combine script, story and sentiments together in their movies and deliver a complete package. For us, it is a tutorial that we can easily learn from and I am certain that if we follow their work, we can take one step forward which can later become a giant leap,” he said.
He even goes down the memory lane to quote an example from his own career. “When I was making Shanee in the late ’80s, people criticized me a lot and labeled me ‘the next Javed Jabbar’ since Javed bhai had made Beyond the Last Mountain in the ’70s – in English,” he shared. “Shanee worked because the script, the treatment and the execution was all in English, and that’s why it is still remembered after so long. I would advise upcoming directors to make a film the hard way and instead of trusting their monitors and advisors, they should follow the grueling way of filmmaking and come up with a product for local Pakistanis. You might make a film with a monitor and a laptop but you can’t make people like that product for a long time.”
Saeed Rizvi has always had a penchant for extraterrestrial creatures and that is why he chose Shanee as the topic of his first film. Fast forwarding to 2015, Aamir Khan’s recent blockbuster also follows the same theme and the fact that people are enjoying it seems to excite him. “I haven’t been able  to watch PK due to personal commitments but I want to watch it as soon as possible. Many people have told me that the first scene of the film in which the spaceship descends to Earth reminds them of Shanee. If the first scene of the biggest hit in Indian cinema reminds them of my film – a Pakistani film – I would take that as a compliment, any day,” he shared.

Friday, 9 January 2015

A glance at Good Morning Karachi

Good Morning Karachi, formerly Rafina, is really a GOOD movie. I'd rate it as 3.5/5.
It's a nice drama genre venture featuring the gorgeous Amna Ilyas as Rafina. Viewers' response is not satisfactory because most of them are mentally rather aesthetically conditioned to appreciate PK like crap pieces.

Well, Releasing this much late in Pakistan too has caused a dent to its reception at the common viewers end.

The progression of the story of Sachithanandam Sathananthan's and Sabiha's Good Morning Karachi went on with a logical affirmation until it reached the concluding moments. 
The cinematography complemented the genre, though drifted a little at places. The standard of acting was so good especially Saba Hamid, Beo Raana and Atta Yaqoob performed really well.
Lighting, mostly low-key, endorsed the story, but didn't put a manifold meaning of the frame in question. The use of steady and handheld cams delivered. In addition, a few long shots of the old Karachi's life in flats and the ECUs of the characters n props were a feast with the photographic precision. 
The sound design was good, nevertheless the editing of both sound and pictures was poor. Sudden cuts weren't adding something to the story, instead they left an unpleasant mark on the face of the film.

The abrupt end disappointed the viewers. If it was the novella's conclusion of which it's an adaptation, a piece friendly to the film medium could have been chiseled and appended to the story while writing the screenplay. So that the end might have been made more dramatic and convincing.

What damaged the film the most was adding the mullah dimension into an otherwise impressive story of the personal success of an ambitious lower middle class girl to become a modeling talk-of-the-town charisma.

The climax of the conflict was really good. At one side it was the funeral procession of the protagonist's practical sympathizer and her mother in law to-be and it was mandatory for her to attend it; while on the other side, it was the final launch of the protagonist's ramp walk which was her ultimate dream too. Rafina was to select one event and miss the other due to the simultaneity of the two. And Rafina selected to miss the funeral...

I'm sure, documentary expert Sabiha, the director of Good Morning Karachi, would do much better in her next feature film. 

Review by Ahmad Hammad

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Film based on Aitzaz Hasan slated for mid-2015 release

The event not only marked the launch ceremony of the film, but prayers were also held for Hasan -- as it was his first death anniversary as well. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
Veteran director Shehzad Rafique is said to launch his latest directorial venture, Salute, in mid-2015, which will be based on Aitzaz Hasan – the brave teenager from Hangu who embraced a suicide bomber on January 6, 2014, saving the lives of 300 of his schoolmates.
Salute’s filming will commence in March.
The director held a launch ceremony for his upcoming film at the Alhamra Arts Complex in Lahore, which was attended by Executive Director Alhamra Captain Atta Mohammad Khan, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Syed Noor and many others.
The event not only marked the launch ceremony of the film, but prayers were also held for Hasan on the day, which also marked his first death anniversary. In fact, the director even narrated the incident of how Hasan sacrificed his life for others, while Captain Muhammad Atta narrated a poem for the departed soul.
Speaking on the occasion, Rafique said, “The bravery of Aitzaz Hasan proves that it is not only the duty of the government and the army to protects its homeland, citizens also have a duty.”
Shehzad Rafique, director of the film upcoming film Salute. PHOTO: PUBLICITY 
“Aitzaz Hasan is our national hero, whom we should acknowledge at a national level. I intend to show this film in every school of Pakistan to spread its message of belief, courage and sacrifice,” the director said.
Syed Noor, the director of Choorian (1998) and Majajan (2006) – who is considered one of the best directors in the country, expressed his great wishes for the project, and was hopeful that it would represent Pakistan at an international level.