Thursday, 31 August 2017

Punjab Nahi Jaungi Vs. Na Maloom Afraad 2; War of the screens

Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Na Maloom Afraad 2, get released head to head this Eid, but that doesn't really fall well when it comes to the shows. A sad reality but this time, cinema owners have been biased in awarding screens to the respective films. The reason being, their direct stakes in the movie, Na Maloom Afraad 2.
According to Irfan Malik at ARY Films, "I am aware that there is a lot of noise about unfair distribution of shows at Nueplex and Cinepax between the 2 Eid releases and I also wish the exposure could have been the same for both in these cinemas but unfortunately its not. The only reason i can think of is that both these Cinemas are also co-producers of NMA 2 and I suppose "Punjab Nahi Jaungi" is a serious threat. Someone said if u cant beat it fair and square u try to kill it! (Joking). We are still negotiating with them though and are hopeful to reach some positive conclusion. We know we have a great film on our hands and approx. 120 screens to play with so hoping for the best. We at ARY FILMS try to create good positive cinema and follow it to the core! May Allah be with all of us."
Malik further added, "Exhibitors have been indirectly contributing to the film making process (until 90s) by giving Minimum Guarantees to the distributors who in return would promote, distribute and guarantee the release of the film on the announced date. In other words distributors brought credibility to the dealings between the exhibitors and producers. This practice provided a solid base for consistent film making between the 60s to 90s. It will be great if we could start the same practice again. I believe exhibition, distribution & production are specialized areas and thus will only give optimum results if handled by specialized people/organizations. I also believe that its a matter of prerogative if a business unit wants to explore other areas of the business. Its a free country after-all."
In defense of the claims being made, Mohsin Yasin, of Cinepax, mentioned that the cinema house was giving equal shows to both movies. However, scheduling as per on the website suggests otherwise.
Nueplex representatives however remained unavailable for all sorts of comments and with a direct stake in the movie, only a diplomatic answer is expected from the aforementioned cinema owners.
Last year there were three major Pakistani films up against each other on Eid-ul-Azha. Still all of them got a fair chance to rope in their audience. This year too, the two movies up competing for foot fall should have been awarded well balanced shows. Until now, the audience has been showing massive interest in both the movies up for release and it would have been best if well balanced shows were awarded to both of them so that the public could enjoy the other, if the first was house full.
Both teams seem to be supporting each other on the surface level but deep down there is a desire to have one's own product fair well than the other's. The producers have perhaps played their ultimate trump card, with three of the biggest cinema chains in Pakistan behind Excellency Films and their direct stake in Na Maloom Afraad 2, it doesn't come as a surprise why major screens have been awarded to the movie. This should have been expected when one was subjected to the screening on the trailer for the movie, twice between the screening of any movie, local or international.
Will Punjab Nahi Jaungi be able to do well, despite the bias? Well, certainly. If the content rings well with the audience, the cinema owners will have to cater to the demand. But it should have been a fair game, after all doesn't it boil down to strengthening our own cinema industry rather than being up against each other and going at the throats for a live session of Game of Thrones here?

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

HIP Reviews: Hands down; Punjab Nahi Jaungi is the best Pakistani film this year, yet!

One attends the star studded premiere of Punjab Nahi Jaungi and is extremely impressed. The film stands out on its own owing to an engaging script and amazing execution.
The triumph of Punjab Nahi Jaungi is in its technical superiority, its ‘heavy’ dialogues & the cinematography. The story does have some loose ends but in comparison to what Pakistani cinema has offered us in 2017, this movie is a welcoming break nonetheless.
Humayun Saeed as Fawad and Mehwish Hayat as Amal, play their parts splendidly. The dialogues are extremely well written. Even at times, when the scene doesn't demand such intense dialogue, Humayun Saeed delivers them with complete honesty. Mehwish Hayat plays a meaty yet quite challenging role which demands her character to evolve rapidly with effortless grace.
Having repeatedly seen the trailer and the poster (thanks to frequent visits to cinema), one could see that proper attention had been given to detail. You might have noticed Humayun Saeed's flamboyant joggers with his kurta shalwar in the posters. By its title & trailer, I went in expecting a Lahore boy vs Karachi girl movie, blurting out stereotypes. However, the story writer and the director has not fallen in that trap and this one's something good and new.
Without spoiling it for you, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, is a story of 2 families with ties of, and I quote “over 100 years”. Both families value their word and their tradition greatly (parampara and all). Things start to get complicated when Fawad Khagga (Humayun Saeed) falls in love with Amal (Mehwish Hayat). The rest of the story revolves around relationship problems between the two, with Durdana (Urwa Hocane) playing a major role. Fawad goes a major male ego trip, while Amal, switches from being a stone-cold strong individual to melting at Fawad’s outlandish antics or cowering to her family’s demands.
To summarize, it’s a Rachel and Ross story in a film with a Pakistani touch to it. We fell in love with Rachel and Ross as the story line was carefully crafted in over 10 years. The writer for Punjab Nahi Jaungi, however, did not have that liberty in two and a bit hours, so the movie may feel a little rushed at times. However, shrewd use of songs (which are quite melodic) has helped.
Often when a director uses pretty locations, it becomes a distraction for the audiences. However, Nadeem Baig has managed to use the gorgeous houses (Donald Trump may want to buy some glittering gold havelies) and beautiful fields aptly in the background while focusing on the performers.

lso, both Mehwish Hayat and Urwa Hocane, look stunningly beautiful, fitting with the overall feel of the film. Mehwish Hayat pulls off the ‘London return’ look and swiftly shifts to the traditional attire with magnificence and finesse.
The supporting cast including Ahmad Ali Butt, Sohail Ahmad, Saba Hameed, Naveed Shehzad and Azfar Rehman have more or less played their part good. Especially Sohail Ahmad as Mian sahab who plays a vulnerable grandfather who is afraid to let go of his long-held values but is also understanding of the choices of the younger generation. He also provides comic relief from time to time, which is a plus because there are a lot of tears in the 2nd half of the movie.
Audiences may find the dynamics between Ahmad Ali Butt and Urwa Hocane a bit odd and also unfulfilled. However, it should be told that a major event in the movie revolves around Ahmad Butt's morale choices, yet his motivations remain sketchy at best.
To sum it up, the director takes a 'boys will be boys approach' for the most part but has been able to justify that impression by managing to end the movie with a more equable and constructive note. One thing the dialogue writer(s) deserve a lot of credit is for moving on from the Shahrukh Khan comparison. Young Pakistani boys are Ranbir Kapoor now not SRK (sorry you had a long run, sir).
All in all, Punjab Nahi Jaungi is the best Pakistani film of 2017, though admittedly our choices are limited.
Now to Na Maloom Afraad 2. Good times for a Cinema fan.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sara Bhatti to play strong female lead in movie debut

Mikaal Zulfiqar's ex Sara Bhatti, is now all set to make a film debut in Farooq Mengal's Rangbaaz. Sara and Mikaal parted ways after 6 years of marriage and have two daughters together. But it's good to see her coming back to her normal routine.

Rangbaaz is said to be an action thriller, the story of a con-artist. “The story involves love and betrayal and the character I’m playing is very strong. That’s the reason why I chose it.” said Sara. The starlet is really excited for her first debut movie and shared moments from the shooting on her social media accounts. She seems to be having fun at the shoot.
The actress also chopped her hair for playing the role of Sasha.
Farooq Mengal's directorial will release at the end of this year, this film will be different from his earlier released war tale Hijrat, which got mixed reviews. Let's see how well this story of love and betrayal plays on box office and among critics.
We wish Sara all the best for her movie debut!

'Maula Jatt's next spell will commence from mid-August in Lahore

We saw Fawad Khan all beefed up and in his rugged-bear avataar for his upcoming role as Maula Jatt in Bilal Lashari's reboot of the cult classic. Hamza Abbasi, who was roped in to play the antagonist, Nuri Nath had also sported a full beard during the time and was often spotted at a gym in Islamabad.
Fawad sported his grizzled look for quite some time but during recent appearances, we've seen the hunk return to his chiseled look - all clean shaven and back to his fitter self.
And so has Hamza. The Pyar-e-Afzal star had been shooting for the last spell of Parwaaz Hay Junoon, physically immersing himself as the Air Force cadet that he plays in the film and is now in his hometown celebrating Imran Khan's victory (if it may be called).
And now, since the next spell for Maula Jatt is all set to commence from the mid of August, one is left wondering, how the two leading men of the film, are going to continue with the shooting in their new advert, minus the heavy beards?
As for the leading lady, we hear Mahira Khan has began rehearsing for her next, Saat Din Mohabbat In alongside Sheheryar Munawar, Mira Sethi and Amna Ilyas in Karachi and will begin shooting for it as soon as the forthcoming Maula Jatt spell wraps up.