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Yasir Bilal Kiyani

Thursday, 3 December 2015

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Pakistani Cinema Blog is no more updating, Please Like & follow our FB page (  for All the Exciting updates and news related to Pakistani Cinema. You can browse our Blog to read/view Old Archives and News from 2010 to 2014.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The star behind the Moon | Na Maloom Afraad

Actor Mohsin Abbas Haider seems to be on a streak of good luck. His brief stint as a rapper-singer in the show Mazaak Raat riveted the audiences’ attention towards him, but it’s with Na Maloom Afraad that he has established a standing in the industry.

Five years ago, Haider used to think that he could achieve fame and success overnight, but was given a reality check when he shifted to Karachi from Faislabad.

“I went to Napa to learn singing and thought that becoming a star will be an overnight process. That’s when I realised I was terribly wrong,” Haider tells The Express Tribune.

Today, his debut film Na Maloom Afraad has turned out to be a surprise package for Pakistani cinema, managing to garner both critical and commercial acclaim. However, his journey to the big screen does not just include TV as a milestone, as he spent considerable time in radio, something that is reflective in his ability to sing.

For now, Haider has no plans of making the drastic decision of quitting TV, as he feels that the cinema industry is still in its nascent phase. “I think I’ll continue with TV and will not just focus on films because, currently, our film industry is in the crawling stage,” he comments. “With one or two films releasing in a year, we can’t term this as the industry’s revival,” he adds.

Haider’s relationship with Na Maloom Afraad director Nabeel Qureshi goes a long way back. The duo has known each other since its early days in the industry and used to spend time together, brainstorming creative ideas. His chemistry with Qureshi is evident in his performance in the film.

Haider has often been panned by critics for over-acting, but he remains undeterred. “I never bother thinking about opinions others have about me. Many people a draw parallel between my stints in TV and film, ignoring the fact that what I do on TV and what I did in the film are two different things altogether,” remarks the actor.

Haider has closely followed and learnt from the works of actors, such as Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Talat Hussain, Salman Shahid and Waheed Murad. He is open to the idea of working in Bollywood, given that the script is substantial.

“I’d love to broaden my horizons. But it’s better to work here in a first-rate Pakistani film rather than opting for a B or C-category Bollywood project,” he states.

Citing the example of Fawad Khan and Imran Abbas starring in Bollywood films Khoobsurat and Creature 3D, he says that the former did a film that suited his style of acting, while the latter chose a “lame film for a debut” because of his indecisiveness.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2014.

Rightful battle?: Bilal Lashari’s Maula Jatt ready to roll

Not so long ago, it was announced that the iconic Maula Jatt film will be remade by not one but two producers. But the film’s remakes, which are being produced by Bilal Lashari and Faisal Rafi of Crew Motion Pictures, have triggered a creative firestorm. After the original Maula Jatt franchise’s producer, Sarwar Bhatti, said that the two can’t proceed with the projects as they haven’t bought the film’s rights, Lashari tells The Express Tribune that his film is ready to roll.

“We are legally covered for the film, which will soon enter the production phase,” says Lashari. The Waar director shares that he wasn’t aware of the allegations being levelled against him by Bhatti. Commenting on the authenticity of his project, he states, “Nasir Adeeb, the writer of the original Maula Jatt film, its prequel Wehshi Jatt and sequel Maula Jatt in London, has rights to the Maula Jatt franchise.” Adding, “Adeeb is a part of our team and has also written the dialogues of our remake of the film.”

Lashari earlier described his interpretation of the film series as much darker and grittier than the original films. He had mentioned that his film will be a “stylised take on Pakistan’s original film genre.” Maula Jatt tells the story of a feud between Maula Jatt (Sultan Rahi) and Noori Natt (Mustafa Qureshi), set against the backdrop of Gujranwala. The Maula Jatt character has dominated Pakistani pop culture for many years.

Where the debate over copyrights of Maula Jatt may have revealed loopholes, it’s important to note that Wehshi Jatt itself was inspired by Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi’s short story titled Gandasa. Since Qasmi passed away in 2006, it will take another 42 years for his intellectual property to be openly available for public use.

Bhatti had previously expressed his resentment at the news of the remakes, stating that both the producers will be at fault legally if they proceed with their respective projects. “I met Lashari and have told him that he is not making the film legally. I informed him that whoever has invested in his project will suffer because he has not bought the rights to Maula Jatt from me. I also met Rafi and, unfortunately, nothing materialised,” Bhatti had said in an earlier conversation with The Express Tribune.

Maula Jatt was considered a resounding success of Pakistani cinema during the 1980s and spawned a number of sequels to become Pakistani cinema’s first unofficial film franchise. It had a successful running at the box office for several years in Punjab, with a cinema in Lahore screening the film for almost six years. The original Maula Jatt is currently being remastered in England for a release in Blu-ray and 3D technology.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2014.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Shaan calls Shah Rukh's film an 'Ocean's 12' rip-off

Pakistani film actor Shaan has criticised Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's upcoming movie, Happy New Year, calling it a rip-off of famous American comedy-heist film Ocean’s 12, the Gulf News reported on Tuesday.

“Happy New Year is what — Oceans 12? Let’s be honest. They have to realise that they don’t have any scripts anymore, whatever scripts they have, it starts to become an art film,” said Shaan speaking to Gulf News.
The actor who recently starred in Operation 021 is currently in Abu Dhabi for the International Showbiz Expo, where he is expected to discuss the growth and prospects of the Pakistani film industry.

He also added that Pakistan and India should work together to produce superior films.

“We actors don’t have to win votes, so we don’t have to belittle each other. Actors can still be friends. We can still make good films and go beyond boundaries. That will only happen if major stakeholders like Shah Rukh or Aamir will shoot a film in Pakistan,” said Shaan, who plans to do a remake of Mahesh Bhatt’s much-admired film Arth.

Shaan has also been cast in two upcoming Pakistani films, Yalghaar and Gidh.

While in the UAE, the Pakistani actor is also expected to walk the Red Carpet at the opening night of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on Thursday.

Pakistan’s first spy thriller

Hats off to Zeba Bakhtiar and her son Azaan Sami Khan for producing Operation 021, a fast-paced action thriller, which gave the audience a glimpse of the sordid world of espionage and intrigue. Based on a screenplay by the Australian writer and director Summer Bodhi Nicks, places, periods and people are conjured up in depth and detail as the throbbing engine of the drama pulsates through closed rooms and open spaces at a fast pace. On closer examination, the film appears to be part documentary, complete with dates and timings, part adventure story with traitors and double agents; and part indictment of the greed of a superpower, whose operatives will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

The theme is quite simple. An Afghan national named Abdullah, played to perfection by the Baloch actor Ayub Khoso, whose left eye is  permanently closed, wants to save his country from continued strife after 30 years of war. To achieve his end, he works in collusion with a Pakistani patriot to save the two neighbouring countries from further turmoil. Their plan, which has to be completed within 21 hours, is full of peril. Failure would mean certain death for the two collaborators.

The plot revolves around possession of a microchip in which is stored information about the location of valuable minerals and three trillion dollars worth of deposits of lithium — the stuff that is used universally in cell phones. The bad guys are, of course, the CIA, represented by three men who report to a woman. The big question is: where is the chip, or rather, who the hell has the chip? Is it the Afghan Abdullah, who converses in Persian? Or one of the Pakistanis from across the border, who is also not afraid to sacrifice his life?

Shaan Shahid came across as his usual charismatic self. I was also impressed by the performances of Shamoon Abbasi and Aamna Shaikh. There was no overacting by any of the others, no unnecessary theatrics and none of the scenes were plugged into a barbecue pit of hot, sweaty emotion. The few brief glimpses of the beautiful Imaan Ali certainly made my day. To add a touch of authenticity, dialogues took place against a cluster of partisan rants in the background. All this was, of course, the good part. But, with no disrespect to Bakhtiar or her son, there were a few grey areas.

One of these was: too many scenes were shot in semi-darkness, and why did the director Jamshed Mahmood Raza, popularly known as Jami, and his co-director Summer Nicks, not throw in a few more lamps into that huge depressing room reeking of Stygian gloom where the local Afghan CIA operative who displayed a cynical philistine artiness held his meetings and conducted his interviews? I understand the place couldn’t possibly have looked like a suite at the Waldorf Astoria. But heck, all I am asking for is a little more illumination.

Another factor that bothered me was, I was never quite sure just where a particular action was taking place. Was the CIA quartet that surfaced from time to time located in Langley, on the Afghan border or somewhere in Pakistan? The insertion of a location somewhere on the screen, as is done in American movies when there is a rapid switch of vistas, would have been quite helpful. I also thought that both the music, as well as the sounds produced by the weapons, were too loud. However, all said and done, it was jolly good entertainment and I look forward to Zeba Bakhtiar’s next project. She certainly has the talent.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2014. (Artciel By Anwer Mooraj)
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