Saturday, 26 November 2016

Sadia Khan and Mikaal Zulfiqar's upcoming film will highlight the 1971 war

Model-turned-actor Sadia Khan is leaving no stone unturned this year as she takes up one acting project after another, the latest one being a period drama based on the 1971 war.
"The script made me sign the film. Everybody has already spoken about India and Pakistan, but this is probably the first film on the split between East and West Pakistan," Khan tells Images of her upcoming venture.
The film, which is based on the fierce war that broke out between East and West Pakistan in 1971, will be directed by anchor-turner-filmmaker Kamran Shahid.
"It takes the viewer back to the 70s and shows the struggle of the people," she adds. "It managed to intrigue me since it's very different from what we get to see these days."
This project follows her cinematic debut with Bollywood film Dunno Y2 Life Is A Moment, and her first-ever Pakistani film, Abdullah, opposite Imran Abbas which [finally] saw the light of the day this year after being showcased at several international film festivals including Cannes. She recently wrapped up shooting for the remake of her hit serial, Khuda Aur Mohabbat; and is currently shooting for the period drama opposite Diyar-e-Dil star Mikaal Zulfiqar.
"I've worked with Mikaal previously and I must say, he's very helpful," she says of her co-star. "Unlike a few actors, he never throws tantrums on sets and is always there whenever I need assistance with my scenes."
Apart from the leads, seasoned actors Resham, Shamoon Abbasi and Alyy Khan will also be seen playing prominent roles in the film. It will aso feature a special appearance by Rachel Gil in one of the tracks.
Khan revealed that she plays a character that evolves as the film progresses: "My character has a lot of variations. She's a very simple girl but due to a few situations that occur in her life, she turns into a strong woman. She has a heart of gold and I am thoroughly enjoying essaying her."
Like the film's setting and plot, the music of the movie is reminiscent of the days of Ghulam Mohiuddin and Babra Sharif. Composed by Sahir Ali Bagga and Naveed, the music of the film will surely be "something to look forward to," promises Khan.
The film will mostly be shot in Lahore while one spell of the shoot is scheduled to take place in Dhaka. Set for release in March next year, here's hoping that the film is able to live up to our expectations.

Rahm is appropriate for an international market: Ahmad Jamal

KARACHI: With the slump caused by the boycott of Indian films, one positive thing that has happened is that the gap is being filled by Pakistani flicks that would otherwise never see the light of the day. However, some of them may still be gone in the blink of an eye as local audience does not yet appreciate films that are not big budget, formulaic song-and-dance entertainment ones.

One such film, Rahm, was released on November 18. Fast forward one week, and the Ahmed Jamal directorial is nowhere to be seen. Starring Sanam Saeed, Sunil Shankar, Sajid Hasan and Nayyar Ejaz, the film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and revolves around a woman who has to choose between her honour and saving her brother’s life.
But Jamal is not disheartened that the film did not find success in Pakistan. “My purpose of making this film was to give the audience an option beside the mainstream song-and-dance films,” he told The Express Tribune. “We did not expect the film to take the box office by storm in the first place. Rahm is more appropriate for an international market.” While the film already had a niche market, Jamal feels it still suffered due to lack of sufficient publicity. He made the film to commemorate the life of the great playwright, as 2016 marks his 400thdeath anniversary. Jamal shared that adapting Measure for Measurewas not a difficult task. “The society in England during Shakespeare’s time was quite similar to the current day Pakistani society. That’s the beauty of his writing, it’s timeless,” mentioned Jamal.
“I would say the screenplay, written by my brother Mehmood, is 80% faithful to the play, which talks about the ideas of justice, mercy and morality.” The director added that the film was important to him because it depicted the concept of justice and morality without killing — something that is relevant to our society.
It is interesting to note that we have been adapting Shakespeare and the works of other playwrights but Rahm was likely the first Pakistani adaptation of a theatre play to film. Moreover, our original screenplays lack in substance no matter the technical expertise, therefore compromising on the art of storytelling. When asked whether there should be more adaptations in order to strengthen our stories, Jamal responded in the positive. “Our literature is also strong. We can rely on that too.”
When it comes to Pakistani cinema, it may feel like a boat caught in a storm. Jamal believes that our reliance on imitation and formulaic stories will not sustain our film industry for long. “We need a balance where all kinds of films can survive. Ours is an emerging cinema and if we only rely on pleasing our local audience with entertainment films, we are missing out on a bigger international market. Look at Iranian films; they perform better than Bollywood films internationally.”
 On a similar note, Jamal does not consider Rahm an indie film. “Even though there are no dance sequences, the film is shot in a very mainstream way.” While it did not find success locally, he aims to take it to the international market. “We are planning a UK release early next year. We are also in talks with distributors from France and Germany so things are in place,” noted Jamal.

The much awaited Chalay Thay Saath teaser is out and it has our hopes high

Syra Sharoz’s much awaited debut, Chalay Thay Saath is set to hit the screens soon and the fresh teaser is proof that this movie will live up to its expectations — hopefully.

The teaser highlights Kent S Leung and Syra’s fun chemistry with Behroz Subzwari sharing later that Kent has to go through certain hardships if he wishes to stay with Syra.

Furthermore, Mansha Pasha, Zhalay Sarhadi, Faris Khalid and Shamim Halai are seen playing jubilant roles. Shamim is seen welcoming Kent in Urdu and him translating it through his phone app

“The film is about the different kind of relationships you deal with in life whether they are with family or friends,” Syra told The Express Tribune earlier.

If the teaser looks so good, we certainly can’t wait for the trailer.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Here is the Teaser:

Sunday, 20 November 2016

7 things you need to know about Chalay Thay Saath

It was a wintry afternoon when we entered a cozy yet spacious hall to attend the press conference of the upcoming film, Chalay Thay Saath. The attendees were soon shaken out of the misconception when the Executive Producer, Sheikh Shiraz Mubashir, boomed, "Welcome to the exclusive teaser preview of Chalay Thay Saath!" Pens were tucked away and necks, of all the journalists and bloggers present at the event, swiveled in unison towards the opposite side of the room which hosted a mid-sized screen, anticipating the teaser to appear any moment. The screen remained blank. And the audience turned back towards the cast and crew which sat there smiling assuredly. They had successfully managed to pique our interest.

Mubashir continued to tell us about the romantic drama/comedy (as the director and writer, Umer Adil, likes to put it) while Mansha Pansha, Zhalay Sarhadi, Shameem Hilaly, and Osama Tahir nodded encouragingly. At this point, you must be wondering, "What about Syra Shahroze and Kent S Leung?" Well, Syra came towards the end of the exclusive preview, hence, missed the chance to interact with journalists and we have a strong feeling that International actor, Leung, will have his own 'exclusive preview'.

The film, which has an ensemble cast consisting of Syra Shahroz, Kent S. Leung, Osama Tahir, Mansha Pasha, Zhalay Sarhadi, Behroze Sabzwari, Faris Khalid, and Shameem Hilaly, can be expected to bring in a fresh narrative at a time when hackneyed narratives are bringing the film-related intelligence quotient down.

Moving on, let's have a look at seven things we got to know about Chalay Thay Saath during the exclusive preview.

The film is not just about the road trip 

After seeing the teaser, one might feel that the film revolves around a road trip of four friends - (Mansha Pasha, Syra Shahroz, Faris Khalid, and Osama Tahir) - but the makers assured that there is more to CTS than what meets the eye, such as Zhalay Sarhadi, whose character in the film has us intrigued as not much about her has been released. Time and (trailers) will tell, we're guessing! "CTS features a road trip, yes, but more importantly it introduces you to the culture of Gilgit-Baltistan, a love story, and friendship," shared the director and producer, Umer Adil. "It is a unique Pakistani film and it explores different relationships. Hopefully, the audience will love it."

While speaking about their 70-40 day stay in Gilgit-Baltistan, Zhalay Sarhadi said, "We didn't face any issue during the shoot and it's a misconception [that the people are unaccepting and there are security issues]. People were very hospitable. If we needed water or anything during the shoot, we could just knock on any door and we got what we wanted."

An unconventional love story

 The love story of Kent and Syra's characters is an essential part of CTS and we say it's unconventional because he is a Chinese guy. While we've often seen films show desi girls/boys fall for goras - they usually belong to first world countries like America or England. This will be the first time that we'll see a Pak-China love story and this sounds promising. Don't worry, you won't be bombarded with subtitles because Shamim Hilaly was kind enough to confirm, "Thankfully, Kent knows English warna masla hojata."

Focuses on Pak-China friendship

From Pak-China love story, let's move to the friendship between the two countries, which is often under-rated. "We've seen films that highlight our relationship with the US and even Afghanistan, but we wanted to focus on Pakistan and China's relationship," the director explained. We often take our friends for granted and this is probably what Pakistan has been doing with China so far, but CTS will change that. This, however, doesn't mean that the movie is an ISPR-funded project, but yes, the ISPR was informed about the project.

CTS will give an identity to Pakistani cinema: Director

CTS is a Romantic drama slash comedy and highlights the truer side of Pakistan. "Once you watch the film, you'll notice that it isn't inspired by any foreign film," the director promised while answering a question about why he decided to make a film. "Recently, you must've seen that our films are influenced by certain international films so we decided it's better to develop something of our own instead of taking inspiration from them."

That takes us to one of the most widely used 'foreign element' in our film making: The item number!

Chalay Thay Saath has no item number

Now this piece of information might disappoint a few, but for film enthusiasts, who want Pakistani cinema to have its own identity, it comes as a welcome respite. "It is a pure family film which a sister can see with her brother without getting awkward," the Executive Producer shared happily. "Also, I'd like to add that it has no item number." This piece of news was welcomed with a tumultuous applause and veteran actress, Shamim Hilaly, was quick to add the reason behind the decision, "Item numbers are incorporated for added attraction and our film doesn't need that. It's good enough without it." That's the confidence we need from our makers! However, Mansha Pasha hinted towards something special when she said, "But Faris is doing a solo item number so watch out for that!"

CTS is a story of four friends

The teaser, which you will see in a few days, shared that it is a story of four friends. They embark on a journey to Skardu where they are joined by Shamim Hilaly's character. The character played by Faris is especially disgruntled when he finds out that an elderly woman is going to be part of their road trip. Why is she there? How does she become part of their group? And when and how does Kent S. Leung become part of the proceedings? We'll see all that and more when the film releases.

Umer Adil had decided the cast when he was writing the script

"Every character was written with a certain actor in mind and thankfully, all of them agreed to be part of the film," the writer and director revealed when asked how did they decide on the cast. The makers shared that all actors have done justice to their roles and that's primarily because the characterisation was done with these specific actors in mind.

The film releases in the first quarter of 2017 and will be distributed by IMGC (DC) distributors. Unfortunately, we cannot share the teaser with you since the makers want to keep it a secret for a few days. All we can say is that we agreed with Hilaly wholeheartedly when she protested, "It ended too soon!" at the end of the teaser preview.

Thora Jee Le's trailer takes you on a journey of reminiscence

With an array of films finally releasing in Pakistan, varying from shoestring budgets to multi-million rupee projects, the film industry has seen its fair share of ebb and flow in the successes it has given this year. However, while some of those narratives focused on their galvanizing star powers, others worked because of their stories. One such example of an upcoming film solely focusing on introducing new faces with the help of a seemingly solid story is Mehtab Rashdi’s Thora Jee Le.
While HIP had previously reported about its post-production stage, the trailer for the film has finally been released and it has left us with mixed feelings.
Narrating a coming-of-age story set in the metropolitan, the trailer takes one on a journey of six friends, where old flames meet new problems, and past stories are rekindled with friendships in the milieu. All set to a pace of narration in the background, the two-minute long video questions whether the past should be left there, or perhaps, visiting memories is what gives life its meaning.
Although the narrative for the film seems strong if we judge it from the trailer, one cannot help but notice the very film-school 101 style of its aesthetics, which seems akin to student undergrad films. That being said, full points on creating a fresh storyline that caters to the younger crowd of the nation.
Starring debutants Bilal Abbas, Kasim Khan, Fatima Shah Jillani, Ramsha Khan, Salman Faisal and Ahsan Mohsin Ikram alongside 'Lux Style Award' winner model-turned-actor-turned-singer, Rizwan Ali Jaffri, in lead roles, the film is all set to take us on an excursion of reminiscences, and we can't wait!
Check out the teaser and tell us what you think the comments section below.

Urwa Hocane joins Punjab Nahin Jaoongi love triangle

After her phenomenal performance in Udaari, Urwa Hocane has made a mark not just in Pakistan but across the border as well. And now, Urwa is getting ready for even bigger projects, this time with Humayun Saeed.
Hocane will be starring along Saeed and Mehwish Hayat in a romantic-comedy film titled Mein Punjab Nahi Jaoongi (MPNJ), her publicist confirmed to The Express Tribune.
The star will begin shooting for the film alongside the rest of the cast later this week in Bahawalpur. The film is said to orbit around a love triangle between Hayat, Saeed and Hocane; and likely to be shot in Lahore and Karachi, with one spell taking place in some parts of Romania.
The soundtrack for MPNJ is being composed by music producer Shiraz Uppal.
Hocane began her film debut with Na Maloom Afraad and the actor has been on a roll ever since. She is also working on two other upcoming Pakistani films Rangreza and Jhol.
In an earlier interview with The Express Tribune, Saeed had hinted at the possibility of a JPNA sequel.
Directed by Nadeem Baig and written by writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, the film will also star Ahmed Ali Butt, Samina Peerzada and Saba Waseem.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A week of Waheed Murad movies

A festival marking the death anniversary of legendary Lollywood actor Waheed Murad kicked off in Lahore on Friday. Seven of the actor’s super hit films will be screened at Odeon Cinema for seven consecutive days, which will also include his death anniversary on November 23..
Murad’s close friends and family members are invited to attend the screenings along with various celebrities from Lahore’s entertainment sphere.
The screenings were supposed to begin with Naag Muni on Friday evening, while Dil Mera Dharkan Teri, Mastaana Mahi, Parkh, Saheli,Dewar Bhabi and Baharo Phool Bharsao are to follow suit, each film getting three shows daily.
Murad passed away at a young age of 45. After his death, fans established the All Pakistan Waheedi Club which has been observing his death anniversary ever since. This year, the group decided to hold an entire festival as a special tribute to its beloved star.
The Club itself handpicked seven films that will be a part of the festival, after several negotiations with distributors and cinema-owners in the city. Odeon Cinema has also been especially decorated in light of the ongoing event.
“Waheed Murad’s film career is a seminal part of Lollywood’s legacy and therefore we try to remember him on the occasion of his death anniversary every year. This year’s tribute will continue for one whole week,” said Naveed Akhtar, secretary general of the All Pakistan Waheedi Club.
Prior to this year’s festival, Akhtar and his colleagues have held similar events in other parts of Pakistan as well. Earlier they would screen the films based on their popularity but this time around they have only chosen the projects co-starring Rani.
“You see, we want to pay tribute to not just Waheed but also to his super hit pairing with Rani,” explained Akhtar. “Murad and Rani were truly one of the greatest on-screen couples Pakistani films have ever seen. Their work together is still watched and loved by many film enthusiasts.”
Born on October 2, 1938, Murad began his acting career at the age of 21 with a film entitled Saathi. In no time, the actor became the chocolate boy of Pakistani cinema soon after, delivering hits like Armaan, Zameer,Gun Man, Waday Ki Zanjeer, Aahat, Dilruba, Zalzala, Andleeb andHeera Aur Pathar, amongst many others. Murad also worked as a producer and scriptwriter and was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan for his contributions to Lollywood.

Balu Mahi's first teaser will leave you wanting for more

The first teaser of Ainy Jaffri and Osman Khalid Butt-starrer Balu Mahi was released on Tuesday.
The one-minute clip shows the first look of the Haissam Hussain directorial as well the first glimpse of Jaffri and Butt as an on-screen couple.
 The teaser  features a qawwali ‘Rang De Chunar’, composed by Sahir Ali Bagga and sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
 The song opens to a festive scene with Jafri and Butt racing through candles and oil lamps.
While the first poster of the film bore an uncanny resemblance to the 2015’s epic Bollywood saga Bajirao Mastani, the teaser looks very similar to Bin Roye‘s Tere Bina Jeena.
It attempts to portray Lahore and northern Pakistan on a larger-than-life canvas and celebrate romance in a unique manner.
The film will also mark the feature film debut of supermodel Sadaf Kanwal.
Balu Mahi 
is a travel film with elements of romance and comedy, making it perfect for the Valentine’s Day week.
Produced by Sadia Jabbar, Balu Mahi has been written by Saad Azhar, this rom-com is slated to release next year on February 10.

Ahsan Khan, Ayesha Omer team up for film

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     After his jaw-dropping performance in TV serial Udaari, Ahsan Khan has made a mark not just in Pakistan but across the border as well. But now, Khan is getting ready for even bigger projects, this time around with Ayesha Omer in a romantic-comedy film titled Rehbra.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Khan delved into details regarding his upcoming project. “Rehbra is a rom-com by Amin Iqbal who is a well-known TV director. I’ve worked with him in two serials and I always knew he had the potential to make a film,” he said.
When asked about his reason to choose this film, he added, “We haven’t had a good romantic film in so long and the screenplay and music of this particular film are really good.”
While both Khan and Omer have previously worked in films, this is the first time they will be working together. The former shared he is thrilled to work with Omer as the leading lady in the film.
The film also stars Miss Pakistan USA 2015 Sarish Khan who happens to be veteran actor Sahiba Khanum’s granddaughter.
Rehbra will go on floors starting December and is slated to release on Eidul Azha next year.
In an earlier interview, Omer revealed she is considering a couple of forthcoming serials with roles she hopes will push women empowerment. “A lot of our projects have been about women being suppressed but I think empowerment needs to be shown as well.” She also disclosed a Bulbulay film is on the cards but still has to be worked on.