Pakistan’s movie industry met its downfall during the 1990s and 2000s. This was the time when big screen actors migrated to television, because there was no variety and Punjabi movies ruled the cinema. During the 1960s to 1980s, Waheed Murad, Nadeem Baig, Shabnam, Shaan Shahid, Resham and Reema Khan were the regular faces to be seen on screen.
However, during the revival of Pakistani cinema during 2012-13, television actors adorned the silver screen with their powerful presence. During 2015, a number of Pakistani movies were released which heralded the rise of this industry. This blog will highlight some of the successful movies, of the year 2015, in terms of their quality and the revenue that they generated.
“Jawani Phir Nahi Ani”
“Jawani Phir Nahi Ani” (JPNA) was one of the most prominent movies in the year 2015. It earned over Rs 260 million in the box office, and became the highest grossing movie in Pakistan’s history. It is an adventure comedy directed by Nadeem Baig starring Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmad Ali Butt, Vasay Chaudhry, Sohai Ali Abro, Mehwish Hayat, Javed Shaikh, and Ayesha Khan. The movie revolves around three friends who are afraid of their wives. Twists and turns await all the protagonists, resulting in comedy that has the audience in fits of laughter.
“Karachi Se Lahore”
“Karachi Se Lahore”, starring Shehzad Sheikh, Ayesha Omar, Javed Shaikh, and Eshita Syed, is a comedy movie that sees the protagonist travel from Karachi to Lahore to stop his cousin from marrying his girlfriend. I believe that it did well because of the acting skills of its cast and the witty script.
It’s a movie you can watch with your family and friends. Did you know that this is the first Pakistani movie to have its premier in Hollywood? Now that is something big!
“Jalaibee”, directed by Yasir Jaswal and starring Danish Taimoor, Zhalay Sarhadi, and Adnan Jaffar, became a successful movie for presenting a story in a way that has never been seen in Pakistani cinema. The movie is about two orphaned friends who fight their way out of a debt. However, ‘The Unit’, collector of the debt, is pursuing the two friends. Jalaibee depicts reality where the thirst for money, lawlessness, and political turbulence prevail. It is a story of survival, and particularly resonates with the people of Karachi.
“Wrong No.” is a comedy starring Javed Shaikh, Danish Taimoor, Sohai Ali Abro and Danish Nawaz among others. Two plots run parallel to each other; one in Karachi where Sallu (Danish Nawaz) wants to run a business of his own, but his father (Javed Shaikh) wants him to become a butcher, which is their family business.
On the other hand, Haya (Janita Asma) comes to Karachi from Lahore on a business trip to meet Shehryar (Danish Taimoor) who wants to work with Haya in the same company. The adventurous twists have the viewers captivated as wrong numbers create confusion and laughter from the beginning till the end.
The cinematography of “Wrong No.” was exceptional and contributed to its mass success.
“3 Bahadur” was also one of its kind. The movie didn’t do much business, but was the first full-length Pakistani animated movie. “3 Bahadur” was popular amongst children and adults alike. It blended the elements of supernatural powers, evil villains, and humour to develop the idea of courage in the minds of the younger viewers, especially at a time when injustice is widely prevalent in our society. Furthermore, the animation in “3 Bahadur” and the dialogue delivery of the young actors’ added value to the movie, which captured the attention of viewers of all ages.
I loved “3 Bahadur” because it highlights the importance of bravery, something that every child must learn.
“Moor” is a story that has the power to melt hearts. It made its premiere at the prestigious 20th Busan International Film Festival. Moreover, it was also Pakistan’s entry for the 88th Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. Shot in the picturesque areas of Bostan, Quetta, Khanozai, Karachi, Hyderabad, and Sukkur, it stars Samiya Mumtaz, Nayyar Ejaz, Ayaz Soomro, and Hameed Sheikh. The movie presents the life of a family that is struck with an emotional tragedy.
It presents an insight into the corrupt practices being followed in the railway system.
The strength of “Moor” lies in its plot. It highlights the plight of a woman who is trying to protect her family. Moreover, the fact that it is shot in some of the most beautiful places in Pakistan has contributed to its success with the audience.
The Pakistani movie industry has seldom focused on the life of an athlete however, this changed with the release of “Shah”. The movie is about Hussain Shah, a boxer from Lyari, Karachi, who won the bronze medal at the 1998 Summer Olympics.
Adnan Sarwar was successful in bringing the trials and achievements of Shah to life. Although “Shah” could not make its way into the top 10 highest grossing movies, it was a beautiful portrayal of the life of a forgotten boxer in Pakistan.
“Manto” established Sarmad Sultan Khoosat as one of the best actors/directors in Pakistan. Also starring in Manto are Sania Saeed, Saba Qamar, Adnan Jaffar, Danyal Adam Khan, Shamoon Abbasi, Arjumand Rahim, and Faisal Qureshi. It is a biographical drama that allowed the audience to enter Manto’s consciousness and understand the way he viewed society. Released nearly sixty years after Manto’s death, the movie captured the essence of Manto’s literary and personal life.
It is a grand attempt at conceptualising the elusive author. I left the cinema feeling like I personally knew him.
This year, the Pakistani film industry advanced into a new era. It introduced us to the genre of contemporary comedy and entertainment which the industry had not indulged in before. This shows that the industry is evolving, adapting, maturing and most importantly developing a versatility that will keep us captivated for years to come. I’m excited to see the films that will grace our silver screens in 2016!