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Movies Review

Top 10 Pakistani Movies of 2016

Top 10 Pakistani Movies of 2016 2

2015 saw an influx of Pakistani films and the coming year holds the same promise. With some great releases lined up, we bring to you the top 10 films expected to release in 2016.

1. Ho Mann Jahaan

The film which kick started the New Year has created quite a buzz among fans and celebs, all eager to hit cinemas to watch Asim Raza’s debut film. Starring Mahira Khan, Sheheryar Munawar and Adeel Hussain, Ho Mann Jahaan is a story of three friends who struggle to break free from stereotypes often found in Pakistan. It touches upon the relationship dynamics the trio share after they graduate and face the realities of life.

While the film has received mixed reviews, there’s no doubt that the music has won crowds over. Leading musicians Atif Aslam, Asrar, Mai Dhai of Coke Studio fame, Abu Muhammed & Farid Ayaz, Tina Sani, Zoheb Hassan, Zebunnisa Bangash and Jimmy Khan have lent vocals for the film.

2. Mahe-eMeer

The movie, which is based on the life and work of poet Mir Taqi Mir, will follow the struggle of a contemporary poet and how his own journey parallels that of the legendary poet. Mah-e-Meer features an ensemble cast with actors Fahad Mustafa, Sanam Saeed, Iman Ali, Manzar Sehbai and Alyy Khan.

Though it was scheduled for release November 2015, it is expected to release in the first half of 2016.

3. Yalghaar

Waar screenwriter Hassan Waqas Rana has been working on his upcoming directorial Yalghaar for quite some time now. The movie, which is based on Pakistani army’s Swat Operation, features Shaan, Humayun Saeed, Adnan Siddiqui, Ayub Khosa and Ayesha Omer, along with singer Umair Jaswal and actor Bilal Ashraf.

The soundtrack for the movie will include eight songs by renowned artists, including Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Shafqat Amanat Ali and Abida Parveen.

The film was initially set for release last year, but it is now expected to be released in the first half of this year.

4. Revenge of the Worthless

Based on the mayhem that swept Swat Valley nearly four decades ago, veteran actor Jamal Shah’s directorial debut focuses on the impact of the insurgency in 2009 and how some people decided to retaliate.

The film depicts the way lives were affected by militancy and how cultural narrative and values changed with the rise of an ‘unreasonable’ power, creating a sense of fear and insecurity. In essence, it is a story of the ensuing monstrosity, struggle and resilience.

The star cast comprises a mix of established artists and fresh faces, including Firdous Jamal, Ayub Khoso, Myra Khan, Iftikhar Qaiser, Najeebullah Anjum, Iram Rehman, Tariq Jamal, Qazi Zubair and Imran Tareen. It also stars Turkish actor Emil Karakose.

The film is expected to release in the first half of this year.

5. Bachaana

Nasir Khan’s romantic thriller is a journey of a sweet and bubbly Indian girl Aalia, played by Sanam Saeed, who undergoes a series of unfortunate events and is forced to place her faith in a man she hardly knows. That man, Vicky (Mohib Mirza), is a Pakistani driving a taxi in Mauritius. The film follows the couple’s adventurous journey of love.

Bachaana will be released in India and Pakistan. With cast and crew from both countries, the film is said to have captured cross-border relations on and off screen and through this project Sanam hopes to bridge the gap between both the countries. Produced by Rizwan Saeed, the film is expected to release early this year.

6. 3 Bahadur 2

The widely popular and successful animated feature film 3 Bahadur is now coming back with a sequel.

Returning as voice actors in the sequel 3Bahadur Part 2 are Zuhab Khan as Saadi, Hanzala Shahid as Kamil, Bahroze Sabzwari as Deenu, Bassam Shazli as Pateeli and Chatpa, and Hammad Siddiq as Ghutka and Shikra.

The sequel will also boast a start-studded cast as more actors will be lending voices to some new characters including actor Ahmed Ali Butt as Gola, comedian Ali Gul Pir as Teeli and Lolly, Sarwat Gilani as Saadi’s mother, Fahad Mustafa as Imran, Salman Shahid as Baba Balaam, Arisha Razi as Amna, Mustafa Changezi as Tony, and Zeba Shanaz as Parrot.

3 Bahadur is an epic journey of friendship, teamwork and courage. Indeed, the first tale of three unlikely super heroes was the beginning of a larger movement of making Pakistani children a part of the nationwide phenomenon that is ‘Team3Bahadur’.

3Bahadur Part 2 upholds this legacy with an endeavor to further inspire the children of Pakistan, with the film set to release in December 2016.

7. Maalik

Ashir Azeem’s upcoming movie Maalik, aims at inculcating in people a “sense of ownership” of their country.

The writer and actor of 1992 drama serial Dhuwan has described Maalik as a “bit of a vigilante film” that shares its premise with Bollywood political thriller SarkarMaalik is a film that draws heavily from Azeem’s TV serial about a retired commando setting up his own security agency to set things right in his country.

The film builds up on Dhuwan’s plot setting. “The canvas of Maalik is much bigger than that of Dhuwan. In the TV series, we explored the world of drug trafficking. Here, we’re talking about politics, mafias and corruption.”

Featuring an ensemble cast, Maalik includes Ashir Azeem, Adnan Shah Tipu, Hassan Niazi, Farhan Ali Agha and Azeem himself, the film is expected to be out by February 2016.

8. Dobara Phir Se

Acclaimed Pakistani director Mehreen Jabbar is all set to start shooting her upcoming venture — Dobara Phir Se, a feature film set in New York.

The talented filmmaker who brought us Ramchand Pakistani is excited to work on her dream project after several years. It stars Adeel Husain, Hareem Farooq, Sanam Saeed, Tooba Siddiqui, Ali Kazmi, Atiqa Odho, Shaz Khan, and child actor Moosa, and has been penned by Bilal Sami.

The story will revolve around love, friendships and growing up. Mehreen is known for bringing present-day issues to light through her films, and her second film will be no different. The release date is yet to be announced. However, it is expected to be released sometime this year.

9. Quetta

Quetta’s storyline is shouldered by non-actors: those who have lived and breathed the characters they are essaying. Filmmakers Faysal Chaudary and Murtaza Chaudary disclose that Quetta does not entail any commercial elements, “It’s a story that we owed to the hilly streets on which we used to pace our tricycles,” they say.

The film hints at putting up a fight against adversity. Penned by Faysal,Quetta’s story revolves around three children who juggle between career prospects as diverse as coal mining and football, to keep both their inner flame and the stove burning.

10. Janaan

The film revolves around a Pakhtun girl who returns from Britain after her education. “The story comically defies stereotypes about Pakhtun families,” says co-producer model-turned-actress Hareem Farooq.

The romantic comedy, which is being co-produced by Reham Khan, will star Armeena Khan as the female lead. Janaan has been written by Osman Khalid Butt and has been directed by Azhar Jafferi who had also directed Hareem’s debut film Siyah in 2013. It is also Hareem and Reham’s debut production venture. The film is expected to release in April this year.

Movies Review

Arth – The Destination – Film Review

Writer: Shaan Shahid
Director: Shaan Shahid
Producers: Hammad Chaudhry, Faraz Chaudhry, Shaan Shahid
Cast: Shaan Shahid, Uzma Hassan, Humaima Malick, Mohib Mirza. Imran Momina, Yasir Hussain, Ali Azmat, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & others.

Arth – The Final Destination (or Arth 2) is the remake of Mahesh Bhatt’s film Arth, a 1982 Indian film which even today is considered a classic for its groundbreaking storyline and powerful performances. This film therefore had big shoes to fill and I must say that Shaan Shahid deserves full credit for not only doing complete justice to this remake in all departments but also giving this classic a brand new identity. Arth 2 can easily be termed as a better and improved version of the original film because Shaan successfully managed to focus on that one character which I felt did not get the attention it truly deserved in the original version while keeping the essence of the original story and characters intact. Raj’s character in the original film was one of the most likeable characters but his journey wasn’t covered as beautifully in the original version of the film as it has been in this remake. The clarity with which Arth 2 has been executed reflects in every single scene; the characters are brilliantly etched-out and the riveting performances coupled with seamless direction and editing make this film a must-watch.

Arth 2 is essentially the story of two individuals who are lost and find their respective destinations in places where they weren’t even looking. The film has a strong message which is in line with its title but is different from the original film. Unlike many other recent Pakistani films, Arth 2 does not try to achieve too much but it stays true to its primary subject which is why it is a clear winner. Shaan Shahid essays the role of a singer (Ali) who loses his fan base as well as his career when he moves abroad. Shaan Shahid breathes life into this beautiful character almost effortlessly which is why you cannot help but feel and root for him every step of the way. Uzma Hassan plays the role of a housewife who also happens to be Ali’s biggest fan. The journeys of both these characters have been told in such a manner that you feel an instant connection with them right from the get-go. Uzma Hassan gives a phenomenal performance throughout; she owns her character completely all through the ups and downs. Humaima Malick and Mohib Mirza’s performances are equally impressive although there are times when you feel that Humaima Malick’s character gets more screen time than needed and it has also been over-sexualized. With this film Humaima Malick proves that she is perfectly capable of giving a solid performance therefore there was absolutely no need to focus on her sexuality so much.

This movie also has some beautifully composed songs to its credit with lyrics which gel in perfectly with different situations. Every song represents a specific point in a character’s journey therefore these songs are not just enjoyable but also unforgettable. Arth 2 is a complete package, a film which you can watch over and over again. It has an amazing screenplay, brilliant performances and it has been shot beautifully. The only disappointing aspect of the film is that the dialogues are mostly in English, there are many times when you want these beautiful characters and those wonderful actors speaking Urdu. That is the only reason why I gave this film 4 stars. I hope that the next time Shaan Shahid decides to make a film as beautiful and compelling as this one, he writes the dialogues in Urdu.

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Movies Review

Rangreza – Film Review

Writer: Akhtar Qayyum
Director: Amir Mohiuddin
Producer: Vision Art Films, MH Films and Malkani Films
Cast: Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf, Goher Rasheed, Ghana Ali, Alyzeh Gabol, Seemi Pasha, Saba Faisal, Saleem Mairaj & others.

Rangreza is essentially a love story and like many other love stories which we have seen on the silver screen lately, this film too has a few social messages as well but unlike some other films which excelled in highlighting these messages while keeping the viewers interested and engaged, Rangreza falls short on many levels. The film is overcrowded with characters you feel absolutely nothing for and the love story doesn’t even start until after the interval. There is a lot of focus on the side characters who have nothing exciting to offer with the exception of Waseem Wallay played brilliantly by Goher Rasheed. Although the character itself is one-dimensional but the energy with which Goher Rasheed has translated it on screen makes it the only performance which stays with you.

Bilal Ashraf plays Ali Zain’s role in the film, he is a famous singer who falls in love with Reshmi ( Urwa Hocane) who belongs to a Qawwal family. The family ties and backgrounds of both these characters are just as unappealing as the characters themselves. Bilal Ashraf’s performance is just as plain and forgettable as his character and Urwa Hocane too doesn’t get a chance to showcase her acting skills. Although there is zero on screen chemistry between the leads but it is also a fact that the screenplay is such that it does not even explore the relationship these two share. Ghana Ali gets a lot more screen time than she deserves just like many other supporting characters. Alyzeh Gabol’s cameo in the film is pointless to say the least! Saba Faisal gives a decent performance in the film although her character too doesn’t have a lot to offer.

Watching this film was like watching an average episode of a drama which doesn’t have a solid storyline and is badly executed. The film does not even have the edge of being visually pleasing and it doesn’t have a single well choreographed song to its credit. Urwa Hocane proved that she can dance really well in Punjab Nahi Jaungi but the director and the choreographer failed to make the most of her ability to do so. The most disappointing aspect of the film is that the leading pair is hardly seen together in a romantic setting. Rangreza has the most unimpressive cinematography and overall it has an artificial feel to it which is why you feel completely disconnected from the happenings all through the film. The dialogues are just as plain as the characters and the story and there are also scenes in which the dialogues don’t even make sense. Overall the film is a big “yeh shadi nahi ho sakti scenario” which leaves a lot to be desired and literally puts you to sleep. Unfortunately such films are the reason why the cinema-goers think twice before watching a Pakistani film!

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Movies Review

Verna – Film Review

Writer & Director – Shoaib Mansoor
Produced by: SHOWMAN Productions
Starring: Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Zarrar Khan, Naimal Khawar, Rasheed Naz, Salman Shaukat, Shaid Mir, Shehzad Mir & Others.

Verna was promoted as a film with a message and it was also quite apparent from the promotions that Mahira Khan and Shoaib Mansoor were the USP of this film. Shoaib Mansoor hasn’t only written, directed and produced this film but he has even written the lyrics for all the songs in the film. Anyone who has seen the trailers of the film must be well aware of the main plot. The question is does the film have enough surprises in store and is it well executed or not? While Verna succeeds in showing the mentality of many of the politicians who are at the helm of affairs in our country faultlessly, it fails to do justice to the other track which covers a victim’s story .  Many of the dialogues in the film have done-to-death written all over them, the kind of things we read and hear about all the time. There are a few hard hitting dialogues in the film but there are so many others which fall completely flat because you hear the characters say those things but you don’t actually feel them.

The trials and tribulations of Sara ( Mahira Khan) aren’t translated on screen in such a way that you truly feel for her. Although Sara’s character is the best thing about the film but there were times when I had a really difficult time connecting to her character. Her strength was admirable but some of her decisions and actions did not go well with the otherwise serious and realistic theme of the film. The introduction to the characters is simplistic and the relationship between Sara and Aami (Haroon Shahid) is probably the worst part of the film. Aami’s character is almost unbearable, his only role in the story is to give people the message that children should be given polio drops. There are times when his scenes are laughable. There is absolutely no chemistry between Haroon Shahid and Mahira Khan perhaps because of the fact that their relationship doesn’t have a lot to offer. The “love” that exists between them doesn’t really come alive on screen which is why it is difficult to feel for them when they are going through hell.

Verna’s plot is interesting but the execution is poor. While Mahira Khan performed well and did the best she could to do justice to her character, there were some scenarios so weak that even her acting did not appear to be effortless. Haroon Shahid and Aami both are the worst thing about this film. Aami’s character is poorly etched-out, he is a disabled man both physically and mentally. I am wondering what Shoaib Mansoor was thinking, did he think that a line of weak characters will make his heroine look even more powerful? This film has some of the weakest supporting characters including the parents from both sides. Zarrar Khan performed brilliantly in the film but his character too didn’t have a lot to offer. There were times when it seemed like Sara was the only wise person around!! Naimal Khawar also did complete justice to her character. Adding a few more strong and intelligent supporting characters would have helped make the film more interesting. Verna reminded me of dramas like Chup Raho and Sangat. This is the first time I watched a film directed by Shoaib Mansoor and the lack of creativity stood out like a sore thumb. He failed to establish a solid relationship between the lead characters which was the film’s biggest drawback. All the songs in the film are meaningful but they are not melodious enough. Even the “happy songs” have not been shot in a creative manner. The director hasn’t used a lot of locations which is why the film has a dull feel overall. Apart from a fierce heroine, this film also needed a likeable hero and more logical ending.

Overall, Verna is neither thoroughly entertaining nor as disturbing as it should have been but at the same time it isn’t as poorly executed as Mehrunissa V Lub U. The script lacks depth as well as clarity. It would have been so much better if Shoaib Mansoor focused only on politics and did not drag women’s rights into the discussion since some of the scenarios are just plain ridiculous!

How many of you watched the film? Do share your thoughts about it.

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Movies Review

Na Maloom Afraad 2 – Film Review

Writer: Nabeel Qureshi & Fizza Ali Meerza
Director: Nabeel Qureshi
Producers: Fizza Ali Meerza & Mehdi Ali
Cast: Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Javaid Sheikh, Hania Aamir, Urwa Hocane, Marina Khan, Saleem Mairaj, Nayyar Ejaz & others.

I am going to be honest, I did not have high expectations from this film especially because of the trailers more than anything else. I was definitely not expecting to be thoroughly entertained and did not expect to laugh hysterically for most part of the film. The trailers and even the songs did not do justice to a film which has a solid screenplay and is shot so well that at times you forget you are watching a Pakistani film. This film definitely has more highs than lows. The characterizations of the three main protagonists are brilliant, their interactions (for the most part) enjoyable and some of the dialogues are remarkably witty.Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider and Javaid Sheikh own their characters completely right from the get-go and in this sequel are more improved versions of their respective roles. Shakeel’s (Javaid Sheikh) is definitely the most enjoyable one among them all.

What I absolutely loved about this film was that it is a side-splitting, all out comedy. The writers do not hold back at all but at times they even go overboard. One aspect of the film however which did not appeal to me and which wasn’t even needed was the excessive use of foul language, the F word (although muted) is used number of times and there are plenty of other scenes in which the crass jokes are added unnecessarily. The toilet humor makes you cringe a couple of time but there are plenty of scenes in which it is tolerable and even hilarious!

The plot of the film is also unpredictable, the writers couldn’t have given the viewers a more solid entertaining plot. It is however not logical; since this is a comedy film therefore I feel it is unfair to decipher every tiny detail based on logic! I must say that it is one of those very few Pakistani films which has a solid and well thought out storyline which went well with the theme of the film. Like other films written by Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza, this one too highlights the trials and tribulations of the common man residing in Karachi in particular but the script on the whole will be relatable for any Pakistani viewer since the issues faced by every Pakistani are the same. It addresses class difference and much more. Watching Marina Khan act on the big screen after a long time was an absolutely delight. Nayyar Ejaz is brilliant as Sultan al- Baklawa; it has to be one of his best performances. Saleem Mairaj and the actor playing his companion were absolutely brilliant in their respective roles.

Na Maloom Afraad 2 can easily be termed as a film which is fun and also an impressively “stylish” film which is visually stunning as a whole. The biggest shortcoming of the film is that it failed to include the talented female leads in the story effectively. Like Actor In Law and Na Maloom Afraad, this one too relegates the female characters in the background and does not really incorporate their characters properly in the story. This is especially sad because Hania Aamir andUrwa Hocane both have given remarkable performances even though their characters have not been explored properly. Both the actresses were even excluded from the songs, which I felt was rather unfair because they deserved more screen time. Instead of showing Sadaf Kanwal’s item number, they could have been part of a song which took the story forward in some way. The song “Chal Hug Ley” was also a disappointment because the girls in bikinis could not dance and their bare bodies were supposed to be the only attraction. I definitely expected better from a director like Nabeel Qureshi at least in this context. Urwa Hocane dances so well and Hania Aamir I am certain could have shown her dance moves too if she was given a chance to do so. The songs and the way they were shot was the biggest disappointment in the film.

Overall, I would give this film 3.5 out 5 and recommend it to anyone who does not mind a few jokes which are in bad taste. This film will make you laugh especially if you watch it with a friend. Even with a few shortcomings, you will leave the cinema hall happy because NMA 2 is definitely an entertaining film. The styling, makeovers and the cinematography give this movie a unique and modern look. Nabeel Qureshi’s creativity reflects in many scenes and I especially liked the scene which came before intermission. The background score is also highly impressive. This film has a completely different flavor from PNJ therefore if you enjoyed one, you should definitely watch the other. Those of you, who like me found the gold commode repulsive should go watch this film as well, you won’t be disappointed! There is more to that commode than meets the eye 😉

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