Saturday, 28 November 2015

‘Shah’ director Adnan Sarwar announces next film

KARACHI: Without a doubt, Adnan Sarwar was one of the major breakthrough artists of Pakistani cinema during the past year. The director managed to captivate audiences with his debut release Shah, a shoestring budget film that went on to become one of the most talked-about projects of 2015.
Aiming to continue with the momentum he has gathered, Adnan has already started work on his second project — a yet-to-be-titled film slated for an October 2016 release.
According to a press release, second-unit photography for the film is set to begin in Karachi early next month whereas principal photography will begin in March 2016.
“Unlike our first film wherein my team and I were virtual unknowns, there are now a lot of expectations with this next project,” said Adnan.
“The only thing I can say at this point is that the film will once again be a completely different kind of story and genre and that it is not a biopic. I have respectfully turned down the standard romantic comedy roles that were offered to me after Shah. My team and I have a clear vision of what we want to bring to Pakistani cinema and our next film will be another step in that direction.”

Thursday, 26 November 2015

3 Bahadur to return with a sequel

The widely popular and successful animated feature film 3 Bahadur is now coming back with a sequel.
Returning as voice actors in the sequel #3Bahadur Part 2 are Zuhab Khan as Saadi, Hanzala Shahid as Kamil, Bahroze Sabzwari as Deenu, Bassam Shazli as Pateeli and Chatpa, and Hammad Siddiq as Ghutka and Shikra.
The sequel will also boast a start-studded cast as more actors will be lending voices to some new characters including actor Ahmed Ali Butt as Gola, comedian Ali Gul Pir as Teeli and Lolly, Sarwat Gilani as Saadi’s mother, Fahad Mustafa as Imran, Salman Shahid as Baba Balaam, Arisha Razi as Amna, Mustafa Changezi as Tony, and Zeba Shanaz as Parrot.
The children’s film, which grossed more than Rs6.5 crores at the local box office, is Pakistan’s first and highest-grossing animated full-length super hero feature film. It was released on 22nd May 2015 across Pakistan.
Speaking about 3 Bahadur, Academy Award Winning Film Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said, “3 Bahadur was a very special project for me because it inculcated a sense of pride and ownership in Pakistani children. Now, with #3Bahadur Part 2, I want to make sure that Saadi, Kamil and Amna inspire bravery and fearlessness in every child across the country.”
3 Bahadur is an epic journey of friendship, teamwork and courage. Indeed, the first tale of three unlikely super heroes was the beginning of a larger movement, making Pakistani children a part of the nationwide phenomenon that is ‘Team3Bahadur’.
#3Bahadur Part 2 upholds this legacy with an endeavor to further inspire the children of Pakistan, with the film set to release in December 2016.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Nadeem Beyg takes leap to next

KARACHI: Taking up from where he left off, Nadeem Beyg is now geared with plans to introduce his next feature film to the Pakistani audience. Following the resounding success of his project Jawani Phir Nahi Ani(JPNA), this time around Beyg’s directorial venture will be a romantic-drama.
“Since my first film was about comedy, people are expecting to see comedy in this one too. But this will not be the case,” Beyg told The Express Tribune. The script for the film is being written by Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar.
Best known as the writer of iconic television serials, Qamar has delivered projects such as Boota from Toba Tek Singh and Landa Bazar. Only recently, he wrote the scripts for Sadqay Tumhare and Pyarey Afzal

The movie is being produced under the banner of Humayun Saeed and Shahzad Nasib’s production company Six Sigma Entertainment. Currently, Beyg is helming the TV serial Dillagi which will mark Saeed’s comeback on the small screen after a four-year hiatus.
Of roping in actors for the film, Beyg revealed that his team is still working on developing the script for the film. Whether or not he will be asking his friend-and-frequent collaborator Humayun Saeed to appear in front of the camera once again, Beyg deemed it as too early to say anything.
Even though Beyg has classified his next feature film project as a ‘romantic-drama’, he still hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to directing comedy movies in the near future. “There are two more films in the pipeline. Both are being written by Vasay Chaudhry and they will be comedy films,” Beyg added.
Beyg’s directorial debut, JPNA, smashed box office records this year and became the highest-grossing Pakistani movie of all time surpassing the likes of Waar and international film releases such as Fast and Furious 7.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

‘Karachi Se Lahore’ spin-off to hit cinemas in 2016

“Remember Joey from Friends and how he went onto have his own spin-off show? That is what we’re aiming for.” This is how director Wajahat Rauf summarised his follow-up project to Karachi Se Lahore. During a conversation with The Express Tribune, the director revealed that the spin-off will focus entirely on the character of Moti, which will be reprised by Yasir Hussain.
Of his decision to feature Moti’s life in the spin-off, Rauf shared, “Following the release of Karachi Se Lahore, Moti became a tremendous hit amongst the audiences, so Yasir and I decided to make a separate film starring just him.”
Having received plaudits for his performance as the stammering comic in Karachi Se Lahore, Moti is viewed as one of the breakout characters for Pakistani cinema in 2015 — so much so that he went onto having a life of his own when he hosted the Lux Style Awards 2015.
While the prospect of a movie being anchored solely by Yasir is exciting, his role as Moti seemed a better fit for a supporting actor who provides comic relief. In response to this concern, Rauf stated that they had taken these factors into account while drafting the script. “The spin-off is going to explore Moti’s character in more detail and we may even touch a little upon his backstory.”
Terming the previous movie as “more of a boys-boys film,” Rauf said his follow-up film targets all sorts of audiences; a decision which inadvertently led to an overhaul in the cast.
Expected to be shot at multiple locations, the spin-off will not be an off-road adventure like its predecessor. “This will be more of a romantic-comedy and will follow the adventures of a young couple set right after the events of Karachi Se Lahore,” said Yasir who is also writing dialogues for the film.
Unwilling to reveal the names of the cast members, Rauf stated that the film is currently in its pre-production phase with the scripting process now out of the way.
But according to Yasir, a few cast members from the original film are expected to make cameo appearances. “I have written parts for them but it all depends on whether they are available or not since all of them are busy with their work on television and other films,” he said.
Expected to hit the floors by February 2016, principal photography for the film will take place in Karachi, some locations in Punjab and the northern areas.
Speaking of a tentative release date, Rauf is hopeful that the film will be released by September 10, 2016 (Eidul Azha). Shiraz Uppal and Noori composed the soundtrack for the previous film as part of the musical ensemble, Sur Dervesh. But this time around, Shiraz will produce the soundtrack alone.
The Karachi Se Lahore spin-off is not the only local film sequel in the works. Follow-up movies for Na Maloom Afraad, Waar and 3 Bahadurare also being planned.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Hollywood Reporter pits ‘Moor’ for Oscar

KARACHI: If breath-taking visuals accompanied by a true human drama were not enough, fans of the Pakistani film Moor have another reason to rejoice. Recently world’s prime film publication, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) put Moor among its dark horses for winning the academy award for Best Foreign Language Film.
THR, which was the first-ever Hollywood focused entertainment paper has made a list of 12 films that could make it to the Oscars and the “off-the-radar international titles to watch as awards season heats up.”
The list also includes films from South Korea, Thailand, Iceland, Romania, Japan and Singapore, among other countries.
Jami, who is in Goa these days for the Indian premier of his film, is ecstatic about being enlisted among the dark horses but opts to remain grounded for now.
“It’s a huge surprise honestly,” Jami tells The Express Tribune. “Be itOperation 021 or Moor, I am always skeptical about the response to the kind of movies I like to make.”
But the overwhelming response Moor has received across the globe gave him the strength to continue push his vision on the silver screen.
“I am gaining courage to believe in my style of filmmaking,” says Jami, adding it’s important to make movies that just don’t revolve around ‘what’s in’. “Knowing the Oscars, it takes a huge campaign to get nominated and I’m not sure if we can make the cut. But being considered by THR is uplifting.”

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Upcoming film Dance Kahani flips the lid on Pakistan's hip-hop subculture

We might not know a lot about it, but Pakistan has a thriving hip hop subculture. And upcoming film Dance Kahani will put the country's B-boys in the spotlight.
Slated for a 2016 release, Dance Kahani will star hip hop dancers (hailing from Karachi to Lahore, Peshawar to Quetta) in a story about a British-born Pakistani girl (played by Scottish dancer Madeleine Hanna) who moves back to Pakistan and tries to reconcile with giving up her dream of becoming a ballet dancer.
 The film will be ad man Omar Hassan's feature film debut, although it wasn't meant to be.
Images talked to the director to find out more about Dance Kahani.
Images: Why did you choose dance as the subject of your first film?
Omar Hassan: Dance Kahani is actually not the first movie project that I worked on. I had initially penned another film and was in the process of production planning for it when I stumbled across local dancing talent at Actone Dance studio.
That's where I met Vernin, a very talented local kid, a green jacket, a top freestyle hip hop dancer and an unbelievably incredible free runner.
Vernin along with other kids, instead of wasting away their lives on the streets of Karachi, were dedicated to spending their time on a studio floor, committed to the art of dance. Coming from all classes and various walks of life, these kids forgot all their woes once they were on that floor. They were doing something positive with a dream of making it big one day based on their talents.
These kids inspired me so much that I immediately shelved my first script and started working on a story that would give these boys a platform and would showcase what our youth is capable of when given an opportunity. It would also convey the message to our youth that if you believe in yourself, whoever you may be and wherever you are, your dreams can come true.
And this is one of the reason that it was decided to actually make their dreams come true by casting real dancing talent in the film, pick them up from various corners of the country and showcase them on the big screen for the entire country and the world to see.
Images: ​How long has Dance Kahani been in the making?
Omar: A very small team worked on the film, hence it has taken time. It was penned and planned in 2012 with shooting commencing and being completed in 2013. Post-production was done completely in Pakistan and it was indeed a big learning curve to edit and grade an entire film which was based on the 4K shoot format, so it took quite some time. But being complete now, we are all set to release [the film] in the coming months.
We also wanted to wait till the time that the Pakistani audience has matured though the resurgence phase of the Pakistani cinema which we feel has happened now and the time is now right for them to accept and appreciate a movie like ours.
Images: How did you find the cast of Dance Kahani? Where is the foreign cast of DK from and how did you rope them in?
Omar: We had Actone helping us with our casting process. Initially, we were thinking of going with only the Karachi boys, but with so much talent around the country, we recruited from all over Pakistan through an extensive search exercise.
We have talent from Quetta, Hazara town, Gujrat, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and even Peshawar, all doing Hip Hop, popping and free running.
It is pretty incredible when you think that some of these kids come from a not so urban Pakistan and excel in a very modern and technical form of dance, defying all stereotypes.
We only one international member in our cast and she is playing the lead. Madeleine Hanna is a trained actor as well as a ballerina and contemporary dance artist from Scotland.

Casting her was actually not so difficult. We had contacted a couple of international talent agencies who not only gave us access to their talent database but floated our project requirement within their talent pool. We received over 30 CVs from very talented girls mostly based out of the UK. We shortlisted the ones who fulfilled our criterion and conducted multiple dance and acting auditions over the Internet. Out of all the shortlisted candidates, Madeleine was the perfect fit not only with her looks, great acting and brilliant dancing skills, but she was also quite interested in coming down here and spending time here for the film.
Images: Music must also play an integral part of your film. Who are the people who have worked on the film's soundtrack?
Omar: Music is definitely a very important part and in fact a highlight of our film. The soundtrack however has been integrated more on the Hollywood pattern rather than on the lip-syncing song and dance Bollywood routine. And we have quite a diverse soundtrack, from English numbers to Punjabi, from Dubstep to Rock and even bhangra. However, we will be revealing the soundtrack and the artists involved in the near future. But again, all musicians involved are Pakistani and of course very talented.

Friday, 20 November 2015

‘Saya E Khuda E Zuljalal’ release pushed to next year

 KARACHI: You can never really be sure about the release of a Pakistani film until it actually hits the screens. The film that was slated to release this month, Saya E Khuda E Zuljalal (SKZJ), will now come out no sooner than next year.
Citing the laborious production process as the primary reason for the delay, director Umair Fazli told The Express Tribune, “We encountered a few logistical problems that have forced us to postpone the release.” According to Fazli, the movie is currently under post-production and that only colour correction remains to be completed.
Although Fazli was not willing to commit to a specific release date, it is likely that the film is heading towards a 2016 release. “We were looking at December for a possible release but it is pretty saturated in terms of movies, with a Shah Rukh Khan movie also slated to release. So if not next month, then we’ll hopefully release the film next year.
He added, “For now, we are only looking to finalise the movie and once it is complete, we will take it to the distributors and decide upon a potential release date.” Unlike other upcoming Pakistani films, SKZJ’s post-production is taking place locally, only in Lahore. The movie is being edited by Farhan Ali Abbasi while Jehan Films, the production house behind the project, is taking care of the rest.
SKZJ is not the only Pakistani film to have its release pushed ahead. Ho Mann Jahaan was initially expected to release opposite Jawani Phir Nahi Ani on Eidul Azha but the film will now come out in January.

We didn’t want to be preachy. ‘Ho Mann Jahaan’ is not a sermon: Sheheryar Munawar

“It’s either sheer talent that brings you in the spotlight or working your way step by step to the top. I, for one, never had the flair for acting. So, I had to take the latter course – almost three years behind the camera, where I actually found solace. But then, Dad lent me a hand with voice training lessons and there I was, on screen! One should always take a good look for taking the plunge.”
This is how Sheheryar Munawar recollects his journey. The actor might not have been around for long but he wasted no time in establishing his identity as the uber-efficient urban Pakistani specimen on TV. And this is exactly how his career’s organic growth lead him to the character of Nadir in the upcoming Asim Raza film Ho Mann Jahaan.
Interestingly though, he does not play Nadir on screen. He ended up swapping his character with co-star Adeel Husain’s own natural fit, the character of Arhaan. “The decision to swap our characters was Asim’s. I was the obvious choice for Nadir and Adeel for Arhaan but we were both game for stepping out of our comfort zones,” he tells The Express Tribune.
Sheheryar says Arhaan was a real challenge. “It was a lot of work. Words like ‘interest’ were supposed to be pronounced as ‘intrast’. It took me a while to absorb the style and tone,” he says.
Not sure about a real-life marriage just yet, Sheheryar says, “I have been married to the film for the past 14 months. We worked 14 hours a day for an entire year. We were all knit together. We celebrated every little achievement. First day of shoot, first song; had we not done that, we wouldn’t have been able to come up with the film.”
Ho Mann Jahaan also marks Sheheryar’s debut on the producer’s seat. “Being the producer and actor wasn’t different for me. It was just more work because I had to be present at the shoot even on my off days. I was the first to arrive and last to leave.”
Sheheryar aimed to keep Ho Mann Jahaan a feel-good film for the audiences. “We didn’t want it to be preachy so we steered away from that. It’s not a sermon. It’s about gaining acceptance with the older generation, not just with a career but an entire lifestyle.”
Getting back to his mention of ‘intrast’, Sheheryar says, “All three characters belong to different stratums of society. The film is about them overcoming every challenge that comes their way. One compliments the other’s strengths and weaknesses. The two boys are poles apart, thanks to their backgrounds, but Mahira’s character acts as the lynchpin between them.”
Ho Mann Jahaan will see the actor-producer, who was never a film man himself, explore new avenues. His own beginnings seeded in theatre. He recalls, “I had opted out of Phantom of the Opera that was being run again, because I was enrolled at IBA and had too much on my plate. Hamza Ali Abbasi replaced me in it.” The next time the two talked business, Hamza wanted Sheheryar on board for his film Kambakht.
“We shot it almost three years ago,” says Sheheryar, who has known the actor-director-activist for five to six years now. With their camaraderie clearly showing, Sheheryar did not shy away from taking a dig at Hamza.
“He got busy updating Facebook statuses and the film never saw the light of the day.” Sheheryar says Hamza wants to release the film now though. “I will kill him if he does,” he quips, adding that although the unreleased project’s script and performance are good enough, its production value is out of date.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mah-e-Meer to release first week of January 2016

The Fahad Mustafa and Iman Ali starrer, Mah-e-Meer was slated for a November 6th release however, without being given any reason or a new date, the film was so far just 'delayed.'

A source close to the team of Mah-e-Meer has revealed that it is due to some delays in post production why the film has been delayed. Currently the film is in its color grading (the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture, video image, or still image either electronically, photo-chemically, or digitally.of the movie) phase and is now slated for a release the first week of January 2016.
The source stated that there is a slight chance it might release last week of December, but most probably it will be first week of January.
 Mah-e-Meer has been written by Sarmad Sehbai and directed also by him and Anjum Shehzad. The film stars Fahad Mustafa, Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Manzar Sehbai, and others.
Mah-e-Meer means promiscuous moon, is inspired by the work of Mir Taqi Mir, one of the first Urdu poets. It follows the struggles of a contemporary poet and draws parallels with events in Mir’s life, his conflict with the royal court, his romance with a courtesan, his ideals of bringing Urdu poetry to the people in the streets, and his eventual madness in full moon; all of which are reflected in his poetry.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Humayun Saeed pushing boundaries with ‘Yalghaar’

Humayun Saeed, the most bankable film artist and commercial figure of Pakistan, will be seen moving outside his comfort zone to tackle the sensitive issue of terrorism in his upcoming movie Yalghaar. The actor will be seen as the antagonist in the epic war drama, which is being directed and produced by Hassan Waqas Rana and said to be one of the biggest movies coming out in 2016.

Humayun plays a strong role - that of a militant with several aspects to the character. This is going to be the first time that he will be seen portraying such an intense character, and is confident that this will prove to be a break away from his usual roles. While Humayun was enthusiastic about stepping into unexplored territory with this movie, the preparations for this complex role turned out to be an arduous task. He met with real life captured and arrested militants, to understand their mindset and mannerisms.

Humayun is currently in Islamabad to shoot his parts of the movie. The first promo of Yalghaar was launched a couple of months ago, and created a lot of buzz for its excellent production quality and intriguing storyline. The movie is slated to release at some point early next year.

Speaking further about his role in Yalghaar, Humayun states, "It is a very different role from what I have done in the past. The audience will definitely be surprised. I feel that it is the right time for me to experiment and explore my horizons. My character in Yalghaar is very well written and has various aspects to it. I feel it is the strongest character of the movie, and I cannot wait to see how the audience reacts to it".