Friday 12 November 2021

'Khel Khel Mein' highlights human cost of 1971 war

10:19 By Lollywood Online , , 2 comments

The trailer for Sajal Aly and Bilal Abbas Khan-starrer Khel Khel Mein is finally here, delving into the heart of the 1971 war and the subsequent birth of Bangladesh following the split between East and West Pakistan. The trailer opens with a flashback to the moment of the split, with a turban-clad man announcing, “Your country has been broken apart. You are no longer in Pakistan, but in Bangladesh.” The announcement is met with a sob from a young man, who then falls to his knees in despair.

According to the trailer, the film follows a group of students, led by Sajal’s character, who wish to put on a theatrical performance on the fall of Dhaka at a competition being held in the same city. The decision is met with backlash from faculty who do not wish to provoke unnecessary “controversy”. The trailer then follows the trials and tribulations the students, particularly Sajal’s character, undergo in order to put on the play in Bangladesh, which includes hostile attitudes from those on the other side on the border as well as friction from those at home. The trailer ends with a voiceover from Sajal and Bilal, “Aik jaisa hi pyaar nikle ga, dil ki lelein talaashiyan donoun. Aik ghalti hui, kisi se bhi, maang lete hain, maafiyaan donoun. [The love you find will be the same in both of our hearts. A mistake was made, by one or the other, let us both ask for forgiveness].”

The story appears to centre the people at the heart of the conflict, placing the responsibility of the split between East and West Pakistan on external factors. Judging from the trailer, Khel Khel Mein appears to employ a non-linear narrative, with flashbacks from the past constituting a large part of the film.

The teaser for the film, which releases earlier this month, starts off with the narration, “Hum men se kisi ne bhi ye nahi socha tha ke aik chingari puray jangal ko jaladegi, humen laga tha ke ye aik waqti azmaaish hai [None of us could’ve even imagined that a single spark will set fire to an entire forest, we thought that this was only a temporary test].”

According to the filmmakers, Khel Khel Mein will lift the curtain on the creative genius of youngsters that holds the power to spark change in the mindset of an entire society. Its star-studded cast also includes Marina Khan, Javed Sheikh, Samina Ahmed and Manzar Sehbai. The Nabeel Qureshi directorial will release under the banner of Filmwala Pictures.

The film was cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) for release in cinemas, with the Punjab Film and Censor Board (PFCB) also issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC). Khel Khel Mein is all set for release on November 19 and will be the first local film screened in cinemas as they resume business after a pandemic-related break of around 20 months. A senior official of the CBFC told The Express Tribune, "CBFC and PFCB collectively held a screening of the upcoming film Khel Khel Mein. Both bodies have issued a NOC to the film, as well as a universal rating as the boards found no objectionable content. Khel Khel Mein will be released on November 19, and all the board members were pleased with the film during the censor meeting, believing that it will be a good start to the resumption of local cinema.”

Cinemas were allowed to begin regular operation on October 15 owing to the drop in Covid-19 cases in the country. Last month, after cinema houses were given the go-ahead to resume business, most local distributors and producers were unwilling to release films due to the uncertainty involved and fear of incurring financial losses if cinemas were to shut shortly after opening.

Appreciating director Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza for coming forward with Khel Khel Mein despite the risks involved, chairman of the Film Distributors Association Ch Ejaz Kamran said, “Film producers and stakeholders continuously demanded a reopening of cinemas from the federal government during the days of closure. Now, when cinema houses are operational and business has resumed, it is the responsibility of every stakeholder to come forward and start releasing films to get the industry back on track. The fact that Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza have come forward with Khel Khel Mein is highly appreicated.”

He added further, “Their example should be followed as they are willing to release films at a crucial time for cinemas. We all expect Khel Khel Mein to usher in a new beginning of the post-Covid era, and will hopefully attract viewers back to cinema houses.”

On the importance of the Christman season for new releases, Kamran shared, “At the moment, we are struggling to convince people to release their films, but we are hopeful that the new films will make it to cinemas in the upcoming Christmas season and business will get back on track. There are a number of films that have been completed, with producers on the lookout for the right opportunity to release them.”


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