Friday, 31 July 2015

7 reasons to watch Karachi Se Lahore

Roadtrip films often turn out to be thrillers. With films like Zibah Khana orTexas Chainsaw Massacre where the trip takes a Wrong Turn and ends up on aHighway to Hell, Wajahat Rauf’s Karachi Se Lahore is definitely a breath of fresh air.
With plane fares too high and weather too stormy, many are now calling up their chums to hop into cars and embark on roadtrips to various areas of Pakistan; and this is why KSL is screening when vacationing is at its peak time.
So what's so special about Karachi Se Lahore?
Starring Shehzad Sheikh, Yasir Hussain, Ayesha Omer, Ahmed Ali, Ashir Wajahat, Javed Sheikh and Ishita Syed, KSL follows a story of three friends Zaeem, Moti and Sam who decide to take their neighbour, Maryum and Zezoo’s father’s Jeepo from Karachi to Lahore in an attempt to bring back Zaeem’s love interest, Aashi.
Looks like your typical love story right? Thankfully the film isn't a yawn and here's why:
1. Local humour:
As promised by the director, local humour perhaps gives KSL the casual friendly vibe it needs. With characters hailing from Karachi, jokes about the local lingo and city-specific scenarios make the film relatable. Just like Na Maloom Afraad was able to strike the right chord with engaging jokes, KSLdoes the same with humour which is neither too uncouth nor very brusque..
 2. Moti is an absolute pearl:
Yes, Moti is a pretty strange name for a grown man, but Yasir Hussain as Moti outdoes himself once again as the hairy man in shorts and a jacket who knows when to use his witty one liners to get a laugh. Known for his impressive acting in theatre, Yasir is undoubtedly the film's star. Not only is his acting great but he's also written the script for KSL. Funny yet sensitive, Moti’s role shows that stammering doesn’t mean one can’t be the life of the group. It’s your ‘personality’ which actually counts.
3. The age-old Karachi vs Lahore debate takes the big screen:
Released at a time when divisions in the country are dominant, it appears that with all its flaws, KSL tries to bridge the gap between Pakistan's diverse cultural groups. Given that Karachites and Lahorites both get super defensive when it comes to their cities, it's interesting to notice that not once did anyone bash the other city for any of their famous differences. In fact, the film overflows with love for each city. A plus point is how the mehmaan nawazi of Pakhtuns and the traditions of Sindhis get a mention.
4. The music is rockin:
Good music is always a perk in a film. One way to gauge if people liked the music or not is to see if they remember the jingle or lyrics even after the film has ended. KSL’s music, by Sur Dervesh, a collaboration between Noori and Shiraz Upal, is something to look forward to.
5. Stereotypes are broken:
Is the film preachy? Nah. But it creatively breaks society's stereotypes of particular races or groups. KSL's leading lady, Ayesha Omar, is refreshingly strong-minded. She doesn’t just nod or shake her head when asked a question, she exercises her own authority. Except, of course, when she has to do a dance to as part of a rescue mission for the third friend.
6. So many debuts, so little time:
While Bin Roye and Wrong Number each featured a couple of actors trying their hand in films for the first time, KSL is full of them.
Apart from Javed Sheikh and (almost) Ahmed Ali, all the actors are appearing on the silver screen for the very first time. Even though many quarters have criticised TV actors for opting for films over drama or theatre it has to be said that all the actors in KSL impressed the audience unfailingly. Ayesha Omer, who has been in the industry for at least a decade, doesn’t go overboard with her acting and apart from the fact that Shehzad Sheikh can’t be too loud, he did a decent job too. Ahmed Ali as the trying-to-be-uber-cool friend with his accent doesn’t seem too plastic either.
7. Watch out for the cameos:
Cameos by our favourite celebrities are always fun to watch, even when they're forced (Adeel Hussain’s cameo in Bin Roye comes to mind). But in KSL, except for one character, the cameos got the audience cheering and hooting. Three famous music artists make cameo appearances. Can you guess who?
KSL has its issues too, like too-long or unnecessary scenes without which the film would have been tighter and more crisp. And although it gives a shoutout to the citizens of Pakistan, advocating the fact that children can be rude to elders, like waiters, is not something to be proud of even when it has become a sad norm.
Nevertheless with KSL heading to Los Angeles, Pakistani cinema looks ready to take its own road trip and take on the world.

Humayun Saeed hosts party to celebrate success of Bin Roye AND Wrong No.

KARACHI: Humayun Saeed is a superstar in the truest sense. And he has a heart of gold. The actor hosted a grand party recently to celebrate the success of Bin Roye as well as Yasir Nawaz’s Wrong No. — a film which released on the same day as Bin Roye and has since been fiercely competing with it at the box office.
What’s even more thrilling is that Humayun didn’t just invite the team ofWrong No., he invited the cast and crew of several upcoming Pakistani films including Wajahat Rauf’s Karachi Se Lahore, Jami’s Moor, Asadul Haq’s Dekh Magar Pyaar Say, Asim Reza’s Ho Mann Jahan, his own production Jawani Phir Nahi Aani, Dr Hassan Waqar Rana’sYalghaar and Hamza Ali Abbasi’s Kambakht.
“Actually, my friends were planning to throw a birthday party for me (his birthday was on July 27) but I told them instead of celebrating my birthday let’s celebrate the revival of Pakistani cinema. So we decided to cut the cake on Yasir’s (Nawaz) birthday (July 25),” Humayun told The Express Tribune.
That’s not it. Humayun got a special cake made with posters of all the aforementioned films and all the directors cut it together.
 “This has never happened before in our industry,” veteran actor Javed Sheikh said who was also present at the event.
Yasir Nawaz too was pleased by Humayun’s gesture. “It was great. This should happen more often. People don’t realise that we are not making films for money, we are doing this for passion. Even though it is a big hit,Wrong No. still hasn’t reached break-even because we are still a small industry. Insha Allah it will reach break-even soon and in a few years our films will fare even better but in the meanwhile it is important for all of us to remain united,” he said.
He added that during the promotions he repeatedly said Bin Roye‘s success would make him happy, and now that the film is doing well he is really happy for the entire team of Bin Roye. “Someone made a negative comment about Bin Roye on my Facebook page and I deleted it. I explained to that person it is important for us to stay away from leg-pulling and appreciate each other’s work,” Yasir said.
Asim Reza, whose debut film Ho Mann Jahan will hit screens after Muharram, termed Humayun’s gesture positive. “We all need to get together. It would never turn into an industry if we keep doing our own thing. It was a great party and we had a lot of fun but we should meet more often to discuss serious issues as well,” he said.
Karachi Se Lahore‘s director Wajahat Rauf said it was very kind of Humayun to invite him. “It was a very exciting moment (all the directors cutting cake) for us. We should do it too when our film is a hit insha Allah.”
Karachi Se Lahore is releasing in cinemas across Pakistan on July 29. The film’s lead actress Ayesha Omar was also present at the party. “I think it’s very very cool of Humayun and very generous of him. But Humayun is like that. Khulay dil wala. I would like to mention Samina (Humayun’s wife) as well because she always manages everything and is such a fantastic host,” she said.
Other celebrities present at the party included Sikander Rizvi, Sohai Ali Abro, Maria Wasti, Saqib Malik, Syra and Shahroz, Shehzad Sheikh, Momal Sheikh, Anoushey Ashraf, Nida Yasir just to name a few. Bilal Lashari and Hamza Ali Abbasi flew from Lahore and Islamabad especially to attend the event.
“I planned it in just one day because I was in the US and wanted to host it as soon as I got back,” Humayun said. ”I apologise to those who I missed to invite. Especially Jami. I had sent him a message but it somehow didn’t get through. He texted me the next day saying why I didn’t invite him. So I sent him a photo of the cake that had Moor‘s poster on it and told him there’s no way I would miss his name intentionally,” he added.
Humayun stressed that it was important for everyone in the industry to stick together at this crucial juncture. “Wrong No. and Bin Roye both did well in spite of being pitted against a film as big as Bajrangi Bhaijaan. If our films weren’t good enough they would have been washed out. But they are going strong. My friends are calling me to ask for Bin Roye tickets because all the shows are house full,” he said.
The superstar said he always wanted this to happen: Pakistani films screened alongside Indian films. “We all need to work together and must support each other no matter what. Those who would join the industry in five, ten years will benefit from this. And at least we would be remembered for helping revive the Pakistani cinema.”
Absolutely! Humayun’s name is certainly one that won’t be forgotten. It’s heartwarming to see all our A-list actors and actresses show such amazing comradery and we wish we get to witness many more such events in the future.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Bin Roye finally releasing in India!

After initially being banned in India, Mahira Khan and Humayun Saeed starrer Bin Roye is now set to hit theaters across the country on August 7,  according to,Bollywoodlife.
Bin Roye was scheduled to release across the border alongside Bajrangi Bhaijaan on July 17. The screening was cancelled due to protests by a group called Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (MNSKS).
MNCKS’ anti-Pakistan viewed are believed to be the reason behind their opposition to the release of Pakistani films in Maharashtra.
There have also been reports suggesting that the makers of the film did not want it to release in India alongside a Salman Khan-starrer.
Bin Roye is faring well at the international box office. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for its success across the border as well.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Karachi Se Lahore has been invited to premiere in Hollywood: Ayesha Omar

KARACHI: Ayesha Omar is really excited about the release of her film Karachi Se Lahore. And why shouldn’t she be! It’s her debut film and what better way to start this new journey than to have her movie premiered in Hollywood.
“Yes I am very excited but a bit nervous as well,” Ayesha said while speaking to The Express Tribune. “All day I am busy giving interviews and promoting the film in the best way we can. There’s too much happening so it’s a bit nerve-wrecking as well.”
She added the entire team is working really hard to promote the film as best as they can. “If I had to choose between nervousness and excitement, I am more excited than nervous. I am very confident about my film. Wajahat (the director) has made something amazing,” Ayesha said.
When asked what kind of feedback she has received on the trailer she exclaims, “Fantastic feedback! I have got zero negative feedback. My friends are not from the industry and they are brutally honest with me. And they are all saying the movie looks like a lot of fun.”
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the film, she says, is that all the characters have been given equal importance. “It’s easy for directors to fall in love with certain characters and only concentrate on those characters. Sure some characters have more lines or they appear on the screen more times. But Wajahat has been very just. You won’t see a poster with just the two main characters.”
Karachi Se Lahore is a road movie about a guy — played by Shehzad Sheikh who plans to travel from Karachi to Lahore to stop his girlfriend’s wedding. Shehzad’s character asks his neighbour — Ayesha — to lend him her father’s jeep. She agrees but on one condition: she and her brother would accompany Shehzad and his friends to Lahore.
“We are neighbours but we hate each other. He begs me for my father’s jeep but doesn’t ask me to come with him. So I force him to take me and my brother. The movie is about how our relationship evolves during the journey.
“My character starts feeling sorry about herself because she feels she doesn’t have someone who would fight for her in the same manner. But at the same time she doesn’t stop being herself. There are a lot of subliminal messages that are coming out of this movie: No body stops being themselves they just evolve and become more accepting,” Ayesha said.
She also revealed that she shot for her dance number Tooti Frooti with an injured foot. “I hurt my foot a day before the shoot. There was no way we could have delayed the shoot because we were on a tight schedule. So yeah it was tough but we kept shooting. My toe is still swollen because I never got it checked and took it too easy,” she chuckled.
She added that she made a conscious effort to make sure her character in the film wouldn’t reflect her immensely popular TV character — Khoobsurat. “Everybody knows me as Khoobsurat so I had to be careful in not letting that character overshadow my role.”
Speaking about her experience of working with Shehzad and the other cast members Ayesha said, “Shehzad was really patient and cool to work with. We would discuss the scenes in detail.
“We had great chemistry all of us. Javed sb is amazing. He is so much fun, full of life. But I had the most fun working with Yasir (who has also written the film). We are like buddies.”
The team is also excited to take their film to Hollywood. “We have been invited to take Karachi Se Lahore to Hollywood for a premiere. It’s the first Pakistani film to have a premiere in Los Angeles. Fingers crossed. We are all planning to go. The film is going to have a worldwide release,” she said.
Director Wajahat Rauf also confirmed the LA premiere plan to The Express Tribune although he did say it is still in the works. ”We are waiting for certain things to be finalised.”
Ayesha’s co-actor and the other lead star of the film Shehzad Sheikh is also confident about the film. “I am 80% excited and 20% nervous.Karachi Se Lahore will do great as we have all worked really hard and the content is super,” he said.
He added that it was amazing that their film is being released internationally — in countries such as the UAE, UK, New Zealand, Australia and the US. “Going to the Hollywood premiere is like a dream come true. We are proud to represent Pakistani cinema on a global platform.”
Speaking about his experience of working on the film, especially with his father, the legendary Javed Sheikh, Shehzad said, “It has been such a fun ride working with everyone. Our chemistry is great. It has been a wonderful experience to share the screen with my dad and Rashid Nazsb. So much to learn from!”
Javed Sheikh sb is equally excited and confident about the film. Although he doesn’t have any scenes with his son, the veteran actor says he is proud of Shehzad. “He has done a great job as Wajahat told me. I have seen a couple of scenes. He is improving day by day. This is the beginning of Shehzad Sheikh. He is working very hard.” Javed sb added that it’s nice working with fresh talent.
Karachi Se Lahore releases on July 29 in cinemas across Pakistan.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Karachi Se Lahore: En route to the big screen

For Wajahat Rauf, the journey from an almost-MBA to filmmaker has been no less of a road trip itself. And it is with his soon-to-be-released feature film Karachi Se Lahore that the director would finally be completing a journey that has been in the making for a long time.
Tracing tracks to the starting point, Rauf opens up about his own beginning as a 16-year-old assistant to Saqib Malik, while working as a copywriter in an ad-agency. “I would constantly ask Saqib [Malik] to give me pointers and filmmaking tips every now and then,” Rauf tells The Express Tribune.
He then went to the United States to acquire a graduate degree in Business Administration and switched his majors to Mass Communication, without informing anyone — including his parents. “They didn’t even know that I had changed my majors until the time of my graduation”.

This pattern of taking risks — and following his heart — set a precedent that was to continue in his life and most importantly during his turn as director.
Treading into completely new territory with a road film like Karachi Se Lahore that too in a revamped and rebooted film industry, is a risk not many filmmakers would have taken.
“A lot of us have seen Hollywood and Bollywood road movies but never a local one,” shares Rauf
“The concept for the movie had always been there and while working on the final draft, I asked Yasir Hussain to come on board and help me with the dialogues as he has a great sense of humour.”
Shot at some of the most scenic locations in the country Rauf himself had to put in the extra miles to ensure that he was able to capture the beauty of scenery. “Before we started filming our Director of Photography (DoP) Rana Kamran and I went on a road trip ourselves to scout for filming locations.”
The movie has been shot in areas like Kund Malir (in Balochistan), interior Sindh and Lahore and these locations would only serve to enhance the audience experience. “These locations are like a character on their own. None of the shots that you see in the movie will feel out of place or unnecessary.”
However, he still believes that the real beauty of the film lay in the performance of the cast and singled out Shehzad Sheikh’s performance as something special. “He absolutely nailed it. The character he is performing in the film was just tailor made for him. Unlike some of the other actors, I have noticed that he has this energy inside him — and a point to prove.”
Rounding off the rest of the cast are Javed Sheikh, Ayesha Omar, Yasir Hussain and Ahmed Ali. Surprisingly, it didn’t take Rauf long to assemble his cast. “[Javed] Sheikh sahab was sold on the idea from the time I narrated the script to him whereas Ayesha Omar got to know about the film from someone else and told me she was on board for the project.”
Managing such a huge cast and crew was no easy task especially on the road and such a long trip was bound to yield at least, few memorable experiences. One moment that has become etched into Rauf’s memory is when the cast narrowly escaped a ‘shark attack’.
“We were filming in Kund Malir in the morning. One day I woke up and found everyone from the cast and crew swimming in the ocean. I kept shouting out to them to come back, as we were wasting light, but it was to no avail. All of a sudden all of them came running back towards the shore. Apparently they had seen a few sharks.”
With highlights from his trip set to be viewed in the cinemas on July 31, Rauf wants to wait and see the audience response before he sets out on his next adventure. “For now there are a few TV serials in the pipelines. About the next film we’ll have to wait and see how this one does. If it does well — We’ll definitely begin work on our next by the coming year.”

Friday, 24 July 2015

First official look of 'Hijrat' is out

Hijrat, directed by the extremely talented Farouq Mengal, is the latest upcoming Pakistani Film. As per the movie's Facebook page, "Hijrat is a love story that plays out in the foreground of an exodus that rendered millions homeless during the Afghan war. Many lives were turned upside down after due to the war, and the movie touches upon the lives of those whose spirits were broken by the homes they lost and whose hearts were broken by the shelter they found."

 Hijrat stars Supermodel and twice Lux Style Awards winner Rabia Butt and model-turned-actor, and winner of the Reality Show Hero Bannay Ki Tarang, Asad Zaman. This is Butt's first feature film. Wiam Dahmani, the Moroccan model co-stars with them in the film along with the beautiful and talented Saima Baloch, Ayub Khoso, and Azra Aftab.

Take a look at the trailer below and let us know your thoughts on this upcoming movie.

Hijrat - Teaser
Hijrat is a love story that plays out in the foreground of an exodus that rendered millions homeless during the Afghan war. It touches upon the lives of those whose spirits were broken by the homes they lost and whose hearts were broken by the shelter they found.
Posted by Lollywood on Monday, October 21, 2013

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Yalghaar: locked and loaded

A few days ago, the trailers for Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad created a ruckus online after their respective trailers were released. And with still a good amount of time to go before the movies hit cinema screens, they have only accentuated audience anticipation.
With the trailer for the much-anticipated Yalghaar being released in cinemas, director Hassan Waqas Rana received a similar response, as the trailer became a topic of discussion right after its release.
Releasing the official first-look trailer for the movie on chand raat, the director could not have chosen a better time to preview the trailer for a film which offers movie-buffs a feast of action and CGI-heavy sequences.
Having spent the last few days working on the post-production of the film at Pinewood Studios (England) the director felt that with a tentative release date of fall 2015 in his mind, now would be an ideal time to preview the trailer.

“After the trailer finished, the audience gave a standing ovation — that was something really overwhelming for me,” he told The Express Tribune.
The trailer does not reveal much about the plot details but offers a look at some of the integral characters in the movie, most notably Shaan, a long-haired Humayun Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui and the battle-ready duo of Umair Jaswal and Bilal Ashraf.
With a lot of hype surrounding the film due to its ensemble star cast, it should not come as a surprise if a host of outrageous and daredevil-ish action sequences end up leaving you with goose bumps. One such highlight of the 208 second clip is a sky-diving sequence performed by the lead characters.

As revealed during a conversation with the director, these sequences appear to be just a ‘tip of the iceberg’ with more dangerous and adrenaline-rushing scenes in store for audiences. “We’ve shot the skydiving sequence but there is also a submarine sequence (involving halo diving on the ocean) as well which we would be filming very soon.”
Being a director, of such a project, did not mean that Rana was spared of performing such risky feats with the director narrating some of his own adventurous experiences while filming. “The helicopter sequence that audiences see in the beginning of the trailer was shot by me while I was standing on a helicopter skid without any support. Even in the sky diving sequence I had a camera attached to myself as I shot the sequence mid-air.”
One of the first Pakistani directors and films to incorporate VFX on a large scale,  Rana noted that rather than serving as a distraction from the real acting, the technique would only serve to ‘enhance’ the audience experience.
“CGI is used to enhance the viewing experience and also to stylise the shots, I think technology is there to help you but you have to learn how and where to draw the line.”

Audiences have been made to wait for the action movie which had been announced a while ago, but it seems like the two year gap between Waar and Yalghaar was not wasted. That time period was used to train the actors for their physically challenging roles.
“A lot of time was spent on training the actors for the roles they were supposed to play, they were supposed to be fit enough to handle weapons, hand to hand combat, sky diving etc.”
Described as a movie about one of the greatest feats of soldiering in the history of the Pakistani military, the Swat operation — Yalghaar will also be a tribute to the victims of APS attack in Peshawar.It will not only be dedicated to the children of Peshawar attacks but their names and pictures will come on screen before the end credits of the film, with the consent of their parents.
 Expected to release later this year the cast also includes veteran actor Ayub Khosa, Sana Bucha, Armeena Khan, Ayesha Omer and Sikander Rizvi.