Monday, 30 October 2017

Khuda Kay Liye Bol Verna… Shoaib sahab ajayenge: Mahira Khan

KARACHI: November 17 marks the release date of one of the most anticipated Pakistani films in 2017, Verna. Along with it having Mahira Khan’s star power, Verna also marks the return of the showman Shoaib Mansoor in the director’s chair after six years. With so many expectations from the film, The Express Tribune sat down with its two leads, singer-actor debutant Haroon Shahid and Mahira.

Interestingly, Mahira shared she has always been nervous, whether it’s before a shot, or when her film’s poster and trailer are released. “I always find something wrong and think it could’ve been better. I think this film particularly has a lot of expectations because of me,” she said. “They are not calling it just a Shoaib Mansoor film, they’re calling it a Mahira Khan film too. And after the first poster and teaser, I freaked out. I will be disappointed if people are a bit lukewarm about Verna.”

While we wait to see how the film fares, it’s important to consider how the local film industry has evolved since Mansoor last made a film. Nowadays, film-makers and the audience alike incline toward social messages wrapped in an entertainment package. Verna, for many, would be a full-blown intense thriller.

Mahira believes whatever the genre or the mood, good content wins. “There have been films which have great content and didn’t work on the box office, but only because the audience wasn’t ready for them. Yet, they later on become cult classics. And then there are expensive films with mediocre content and they have flopped too. So, I believe Verna is still a relatively commercial film, and people are definitely ready for it.

” In Verna, Khan joins two new actors Shahid, and Naimal Khawar. As a debutant, Shahid praised Mahira for the energy she brought to the set. “You, as an actor, always bring an energy with you on set. And there was a set without Mahira and there was a set with Mahira. And with Mahira, I felt there was somebody for me to get feedback from. For now, I learned it was all about being in the moment in acting.”

The Symt frontman also compared acting to being in a band. “Acting is like being in a band, you know. Every time you’re on the set, you’re with your band and you have to be comfortable and be able to talk to that other person so that you can create something. And I am lucky that I get along with Mahira and everyone and can talk to them about anything.”

When asked as to why he thought Mansoor cast him instead of going for a trained actor, he said, “I have learned that Shoaib Mansoor feels if a person is good to talk to, he can act well too because he wants to keep it natural. Basically, he picks up personalities, he doesn’t choose actors.”

 Adding on the point, Khan said, “Shoaib sahab likes musicians and he very strongly believed that the character Aami looked just like Haroon. Secondly, he likes people very rarely and I think he likes Haroon. I also like to believe he likes me too.”

Mansoor’s previous films, Khuda Ke Liye and Bol, were a major catalyst in giving birth to the modern Pakistani cinema. Asked how she would complete the sentence ‘Khuda Ke Liye Bol Verna…”, Mahira said, “Khuda Ke Liye Bol Verna… Shoaib sahab ajayenge. I think this would be the title of his next film ‘Shoaib sahab ajayenge’, because you know, he’s like Mr India. He’s good at disguise. You never know where he is.”

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Verna's latest track 'Khushi Ki Baat' shows a distraught Mahira Khan

Tragedy has struck and the couple is estranged - Verna's latest song is out and it's giving us the jitters.

A far cry from the previous track, 'Khushi Ki Baat' follows the bad blood between Mahira Khan and Haroon Shahid as they cope with their (troubled) situation. Though we don't know what it is that leads to their fallout, but it's grave and it's haunting.

Mahira seems visibly shaken and distressed and you can sense her emotions in the powerful scenes in the music video. Haroon, on the other hand, is seen as more pensive and mournful.

 'Khushi Ki Baat' has been written and composed by Shoaib Mansoor and sung by Richie Robinson and Zeb.

Verna comes out on November 17.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

2nd teaser alert: 'Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor' is undoubtedly Disney/Pixar level

Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor is Pakistan’s answer to all Pixar and Disney animated movies in Hollywood. The upcoming Pakistani animated film just released its second teaser and we are just as impressed as we were with the first one – if not more!

The 22-second teaser comprises fine quality animation anchoraged in an indigenised story-line and localised characters, making it a definite seller.

The movie surely seems to promise a new bench mark for films in this genre in terms of quality and aesthetics.

Whether the plot and the characters are just as gripping as the visuals of the teaser is something only time will tell.

Previously talking to The Express Tribune, the director of the movie, Uzair Zaheer Khan explained the idea of the film.

Khan didn’t quite go into specifics, thus building more curiosity for the film. “Allahyar is a young Pakistani boy from the north, who has ideals and ambitions that get challenged when he’s thrown into an adventure where he discovers a world he never knew existed.”

We can’t wait for this movie to hit the screens!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Upcoming film Maula Jatt's cast and crew accused of copyright violations

Waar director Bilal Lashari's Maula Jatt is one film that has kept everyone on their toes; the latest twist being that the makers of the original 1979 Maula Jatt have accused Lashari and his team of copyrights violations.

Speaking to Images, director and producer Muhammad Sarwer Bhatti accused Lashari and veteran writer Nasir Adeeb of "misleading" him, saying the rights to recreate Maula Jatt were never sold.

In the notice, Bhatti warns the star cast, which includes Mahira Khan, Fawad Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi and Humaima Malik to "stay away from this project and announce [their] dissociation with illegal film [in the] making as soon as possible.

"You are blessed with a good reputation in the respective field and the team who is reproducing this film illegally is not concerned about your reputation but we believe you must take care of your own reputation if no one else is doing so," the letters further read.

Bhatti further claimed that when he heard the news about Lashari "remaking Maula Jatt", he approached the Waar director who reassured him that his next venture isn't a Maula Jatt recreation.

The veteran producer quoted Lashari's social media post where he had said his upcoming feature is neither Maula Jatt 2, nor a sequel of the cult classic, nor a remake of it either.

 "So in good faith, I decided to let the matter go," Bhatti told Images.

However, the veteran filmmaker then came across an interview of the accused on a news channel in which Bilal says he is working on his second film, "titled Maula Jatt".

Bhatti then took up the matter with Kamran Lashari, Bilal Lashari's father and prominent civil servant, informing him of the alleged copyright violations and asking him to guide the budding filmmaker in the matter.

"They were supposed to meet me on the issue. But that meeting never happened," Bhatti said. "Instead, I see an article in The Express Tribune that said Maula Jatt rights have been sold to Bilal Lashari and Ammara Hikmat."

"This is blatant violation of the copyright law," Bhatti claimed, adding the veteran writer of Maula Jatt Nasir Adeeb doesn't own the rights so he cannot sell them either.

"It is my legacy, my pride. I will do everything to punish him," Bhatti added, saying the producer has the complete ownership of copyrights.

Bhatti's son, Mohammed Muttaqi and CEO of Bahoo Films Corporation, said, "It is just a way of falsely satisfying themselves and the people who are working with them."

 When asked about copyrights certificates proving his claim, Bhatti said he will share them as and when needed, especially once the legal proceedings advance.

On the other hand, sources close to the film told Images none of the actors or crew have received any legal notices. If and when they do, they will act accordingly.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Rape is one of the ugliest forms of crimes against women in Pakistan: 'Verna' director Shoaib Mansoor

Mahira Khan is all set to play the protagonist in Shoaib Mansoor’s upcoming venture, Verna, where she will likely play the victim of sexual abuse. Mansoor has also helmed Khuda Kay Liye and Bol – and all of them impart a social message.

The critically acclaimed director has always raised his voice against the injustice in the society, and his films are living, breathing proof of it. Talking about his latest movie, Verna, which deals with the issue of sexual abuse and rape, the director took to social media to give his two cents on the matter – and we are moved.

Shoaib recently penned down a note on Facebook and wrote, “Rape is one of the most prevalent and ugly forms of crimes against women in Pakistan.”

“Although the women’s movement has tried to grapple with this scourge and worked with the law makers as well as the law enforcing agencies, the mindset of the society remains the biggest challenge that needs to be tackled,” he wrote.

 Stating the statistics, Shoaib said, “According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, one woman is raped in Pakistan every two hours. Globally Pakistan has been ranked third from the bottom as the most dangerous country for women in the world.

” He went on to write, “A substantive push is needed to show clearly how rape is used as a tool by powerful in the society to humiliate and invoke fear among the vulnerable. All this happens in the context of patriarchy where the bodies of women have become the battle ground for men to fight their battles of honor, power and revenge.”

Talking about the Mahira starrer, “With the thought that a feature film on this sensitive issue can make more impact than years of struggle through smaller interventions on TV or by NGOs, I have made this effort and named it Verna.

“I have chained all my three films together since all deal with women empowerment… ‘Khuda Kay Liye Bol Verna’. I sincerely hope it will not only spark off the process of shifting people’s patriarchal mindsets but will rejuvenate the movement against this crime,” he wrote.

“Most of all I hope that it will at least make women reflect that rape does not rob them of ‘honor’, it is something they earn and no one can snatch it away from them,” added the director.

“Things happening around me bother and hence I am forced by my conscience to take them on. My films reflect the anger that I feel on social injustice of all forms. So every time I am about to embark on a film it is my anger that drives my movement of thoughts not the hunger for success and money,” he further said.

“It doesn’t mean that I have a thing against films based on pure entertainment. Not at all. By all means they should be made and succeed and I have all the due respect for their makers. I am happy at the recent success of Punjab Nahi Jaungi and Na Maloom Afraad 2 and wish success to all other that are in line to hit the screen. We need these films to rejuvenate the industry in our country. But we also need some to say something thought provoking. I hope I am provoking some thought,” he concluded.

Verna is all set to hit the screens on November 17. The movie also stars Haroon Shahid and Zarrar Khan in titular roles.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

I rejected 'Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2' because my role was not substantial: Syra Shehroz

Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 (JPNA2) is expected to be the Pakistani blockbuster film of 2018, following the steps of its prequel. The film has been in the news because of its star-studded cast. Humayun Saeed, Vasay Chaudhry and Ahmed Ali Butt will continue on with their roles in the upcoming sequel while Fahad Mustafa will replace Hamza Ali Abbasi.

Earlier this month, the news of Syra Shehroz pairing up with the Actor In Law sensation Fahad Mustafa made headlines, but according to the latest buzz, Mawra Hocane has now signed up to essay a role in the much-awaited sequel – and there’s no sign of Syra.

 This obviously created some curiosity and The Express Tribune exclusively spoke to Syra to get to the bottom of the matter.

The Mere Naseeb starlet also stated, “Nadeem Baig is one of the finest directors we have in the Pakistani film industry, but the role I was offered didn’t amount to what I had in mind, so I politely declined and told Nadeem bhai that I won’t be doing this role in JPNA2″

But Syra was quick to add, “Nadeem bhai and I will definitely be working together in the near future.

” Syra made her film debut this year with Chalay Thay Saath. Although the film did not fare well at the box office, her strong performance and superior acting prowess were critically acclaimed.

On the other hand, Syra’s film Project Ghazi has been put on hold due to technical faults.

JPNA2 will mark the Pakistani film debut of Mawra Hocane. She was previously in the news for a film alongside Umair Jaswal, but it got delayed or shelved due to unknow reasons.

The Sammi star will be pairing up with Fahad Mustafa for the first time in this upcoming flick. She made her film debut in Bollywood in 2016 with the movie Sanam Teri Kasam alongside Harshvardhan Rane, who also marked his debut with the film. Mawra was praised for her heartwarming performance in the emotional romance drama.

Earlier this month, Humayun Saeed and director Nadeem Baig visited Turkey for the recce of their upcoming film. It has now been decided that JPNA2 will be shot in Turkey for the most part and bits of it will be shot in Dubai.

Jawani Phir Nahi Ani released in Eidul Azha 2015. The movie featured an ensemble cast which comprised Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Vasay Chaudhry, Ahmed Ali Butt, Javed Sheikh, Ismail Tara, Ayesha Khan and Bushra Ansari.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Mawra Hocane joins cast of 'Jawani Phir Nahi Aani 2'

KARACHI : Mawra Hocane is on a roll!

The Sammi starlet is all set to join the cast of the sequel of Humayun Saeed starrer Jawani Phir Nahi Aani.

The movie also stars Fahad Mustafa in a titular role. Previously, talking to Fifi Haroon, Saeed revealed that the shooting of the movie will start from next month in Turkey. The cast will also be shooting a portion of the movie in Dubai.

The news come after Mawra signed a pre-partition drama Aangan. Ahsan Khan has also reportedly been roped in for the same show.

A little birdie also tells us that this upcoming venture will be made on a massive scale, deeming it one of the most expensive TV productions to date. Expect a larger-than-life set that will make the project all the more believable.

Previously, it was reported that Rishi Kapoor was also offered a role in the movie. The actor later turned down an offer to star in Jawani Phir Nahi Ani sequel. Rishi revealed the main reason behind his refusal.

The Kapoor & Sons actor said he wouldn’t work in Pakistani films because his “country won’t like him to do it.”

“Recently, I was approached for a Pakistani film; it was the sequel to one of their biggest hits. I heard the story and found it interesting. Now, of course, it is not possible to act in it. The situation was ironic,” Rishi was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Rangreza's first poster is finally out and it's brimming with romance and mischief

Strongly moving towards its release at the end of this year, the highly anticipated movie Rangreza finally released its aesthetically powerful poster. The poster shows the main cast of the movie, Bilal Ashraf, Urwa Hocane and Gohar Rasheed as depicted in their roles. It’s a portrayal of various emotions displayed by the actors – love, hurt and even mischief. And it definitely has us excited!

Following Janaan’s widest release for a Pakistani film internationally, Rangreza is now set to break a new record number of countries as part of its worldwide distribution strategy, establishing a whole new benchmark for Pakistani cinema on a global platform, stated a press release.

Making one of the most expensive Pakistani film productions to date, Rangreza is a musical romance directed by Aamir Mohiuddin, featuring Gohar Rasheed, Bilal Ashraf, Urwa Hocane and Saleem Miraj in the principal cast.

Musical legend, Abida Parveen, features prominently on the sound tracks, composed by the film’s writer, Akhtar Qayyum. The film is presented by Vision Art Films, Usman Malkani Films, Distribution Club (PVT) Ltd, Munir Hussain Films UK and Pepe’s Piri Piri and will be distributed worldwide by B4U Motion Pictures.

Munir Hussain, Head of Munir Hussain Film UK says, “I’m very excited to bring another highly anticipated film, which will showcase the growing strength of Pakistani cinema. We have some creative plans in place for the release and we are grateful to Mr. Sunil Shah and B4U for their excellent support and guidance.

” Director Aamir Mohiuddin also shared his thoughts, “Rangreza is a movie that will touch millions of hearts. The entire team has put in their best and this will be another significant milestone for the Pakistani cinema.”

Sunil Shah, Head of Film Division, B4U Motion Pictures expressed, “ We are delighted to be further commenting our great partnership with Munir Hussain Films UK with the release of Rangreza, following unprecedented success of our previous outing together, Janaan.

” He continued, “Munir Hussain has such a pioneering and passionate vision for Pakistani cinema on a global platform and we are honoured to be jointly taking Pakistani cinema to another level with Rangreza, across a record number of international territories.

Pakistan goes Pixar-esque with ‘Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor’

A couple of months ago, the teaser of a Pakistani animated film Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor went viral. With picturesque views and the eventual “Pixar-esque” introduction of our character Allahyar caught everyone’s attention as to how much Pakistani animation has progressed and whether Allahyar will break any new grounds at all.

A couple of months ago, the teaser of a Pakistani animated film Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor went viral. With picturesque views and the eventual “Pixar-esque” introduction of our character Allahyar caught everyone’s attention as to how much Pakistani animation has progressed and whether Allahyar will break any new grounds at all.

The Express Tribune spoke with director Uzair Zaheer Khan about the upcoming film, which is intended for winter release. What many may not know is Khan was also involved with the acclaimed Burka Avenger series as well. And it’ll interesting to see how his visual language and style has evolved with Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor.

Explaining the idea of the film, Khan didn’t quite go into specifics, thus building more curiosity for the film. “Allahyar is a young Pakistani boy from the north, who has ideals and ambitions that get challenged when he’s thrown into an adventure where he discovers a world he never knew existed,” he said, adding that Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor is a coming-of-age story with a wildlife conservation theme.

He said that the aim was to make a film that’s entertaining, meaningful, and caters to the local audiences in terms of language, culture and values.

 The cast of the film includes Ali Noor, Natasha Humaira Ejaz, Anam Zaidi and Azfar Jafri. With a ‘very-musical’ cast, the film is bound to have multiple songs. Khan confirmed, saying “The songs in the film have been composed and produced through partnerships between Ahmed Ali and artists like (Ali) Noor and (Natasha Humaira) Ejaz. We make sure that the message is embedded within the entertainment and not delivered on the nose.

Khan’s previous outing Burka Avenger had a distinct visual style with striking color palettes. As to how Allahyar will be different from that, when it comes to world building and treatment, Khan said, the tv series was very stylised and designed with requirements and constraints of the project in mind. “With Burka Avenger I wanted to set a local benchmark for animated series. Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor is a feature film and therefore requires a much higher production value,” he said. “As we aspire to eventually compete in the international market with our consecutive films, we’ve tried to deliver top quality, while keeping the cost of production at par with local live action films.

” While giving importance to style, the team hasn’t forgotten about the substance either. Where Burka Avenger had a social message about women’s rights and education, (as Khan mentioned earlier) Allahyar will highlight with wildlife conservation. The director believes animation is the perfect medium for that. “Animation is a powerful medium. We feel it is incumbent on us that through our film, along with a full dose of entertainment, we try to bring about positive change.

” Whether Allahyar is going to set a new benchmark when it comes to Pakistani animated films or not remains to be seen, but for now, Khan is clearly confident about the film. “We are looking forward to making Pakistanis proud of what we’ve achieved here with this film,” he said.

Friday, 6 October 2017

'Na Maloom Afraad 2' banned in Punjab due to 'inappropriate content'

After five weeks and collecting more than Rs100 million at the box office, the Fahad Mustafa-starrer Na Maloom Afraad 2 has been banned in Punjab.

The reason has been cited as the film’s inappropriate and ‘obscene’ content.

 None of the stakeholders were available to comment on the situation, except the film’s producer Fizza Ali Meerza.

 “I don’t understand why they came up with an excuse to ban the film five weeks after its release,” Meerza told The Express Tribune.

As to how the issue was triggered, she stated, “Some random newspaper in Lahore with no credibility or readership wrote that the film has vulgar and inappropriate scenes. It’s sad because now this isn’t just about this film. Now if anyone thinks there is something wrong with any film, will they pull it off the screens just like that?”

She continued, “I find it difficult because they have done it before too and I think we are in the wrong business now.”

While she was disappointed with the sudden ban, Meerza said they will not back down. “Yes, we will fight back. We are not going to stay quiet because this affects our industry as a whole too. We will get the Na Maloom Afraad 2 back in the cinemas.”

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Praises pour in for Mahira Khan after Verna's teaser release

Mahira Khan has been completely mum about the entire Ranbir Kapoor and the viral pictures fiasco. The lady seemed to have vanished off social media for good. But yesterday she made a powerful comeback with her Power Di Game.

Mahira Khan's upcoming film Verna, saw its teaser released yesterday and what a powerful re-entry on the mainstream it marked for Mahira. The teaser came across as a message that Mahira Khan was indestructive and not to be messed with at all.

The teaser showed a fierce side of the actress, something which we have never seen before. And we're very much glad we'll get to see Mahira in an avatar the lady has not taken up ever before.

With us in awe of the thirty second teaser; what was heartening, was to see was Mahira's friends and of course the industry taking to social media to compliment the star on such an impressive glimpse in to her upcoming movie, directed by Shoaib Mansoor.

Now that the teaser of Verna has been released, we cant wait to see the movie on November 17th 2017 where Mahira Khan is essaying a role she has never done before. We loved it, but what did you think of Mahira Khan in the teaser?

Do share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.

Monday, 2 October 2017

"Main tou Punjab hoker aagai" The Punjab Nahi Jaungi fever hits Shaniera Akram!

The Punjab Nahi Jaungi fever refuses to die. The film has become the highest grosser of the year domestically and has still been earning crazy revenues overseas. The craze is far from dying out just yet and the latest celebrity to have been bit by the Punjab Nahi Jaungi bug happens to be none other than our National Bhabhi, Shaniera Akram.

On a recent trip to Punjab, Shaniera Akram shared a beautiful picture of hers amongst green fields and tweeted, "Main tou Punjab hoker aagai"

What made the picture even more likable was the fact that Bhabhi used Urdu to express her feelings with #PunjabNahiJaungi. And of course Khagga sahab picked up the tweet and gave an adorable reply.

So, as sweet as he is, Humayun Saeed, our very own Khagga Sahab, promised he'll be having them over soon for a special screening perhaps.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

'Azaadi' is all set to hit the big screen this November

With the revival of cinema, it is good to see people be enthusiastic for our local movies exactly as they would be for a Hollywood or a Bollywood release. This is exactly how we felt when we saw the trailer of Sonya Hussyn and Moammer Rana starrer movie Azaadi. Since then we've been eagerly waiting for its release date. Well guys the wait on that is finally over and we couldn't be more thrilled!

A Pervez Malik Film and an ARY Films product, Azaadi is all set to release this year in November, and with the poster looking quite sleek, we got in touch with Sonya Hussyn, to ask how proud she is of the movie.

"I have invested a lot of myself for Azaadi and it's been a worthwhile journey. Like I have said repeatedly, I am very proud of the message of the film and what it tries to convey. It is a very honest homage to Pakistan and its armed forces but what excites me the most is how inspirational my character is going to be for the young girls".

"It was only natural for a film as huge as Azaadi to delay slightly as there are a lot of aspects that come into consideration since a lot of action is involved. Also the post-production needed due attention and I have dubbed for most of the film and it looks amazing. Our cinematographer, Ben (Jasper) is truly gifted."

With Sonya quite content and looking forward to Azaadi, we also got in touch with the producer of the movie, Irfan Malik and asked him what took him so long to set a release date, considering the teaser came out back in February.

"Normally it takes almost a year to complete a film like this one as the team had to travel to the remotest areas to capture authentic locations, but it surely was worth the effort. I didn't want to give out an official release date and then change it later like many films have done as It takes away from the credibility of the film I feel. So I waited to complete sequences that had 'difficult' written all over them and Alhamdulillah we are on track now with one song and some action sequences remaining to be shot in August/September and post production running parallel."

With the final touches being added in full swing, Azaadi has our full attention as it is about a man, played by the legendary actor Nadeem Baig, who has dreamt his entire life for the freedom of Kashmiris. The film is commemorating the struggle for Kashmir.

With Moammer Rana bringing with him that cinematic appeal and Bang Bang famed Ben Jasper behind cinematography, we look forward to watching the movie soon. We will also see Javed Sheikh, Maryam Ansari, Ali Fateh, Samama, Waseem, Erum and Ali Bilal to name a few.