All Set for a Filmy Eid-ul-Fitr

Every year, cinemas all over the country earn the most during Eid season and the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr is going to be no different. As many as three Pakistani films featuring famous actors will be gracing the screen on the long weekend with the aim of attracting the audience and making as much money as possible at the box office. These films will compete with the Hollywood flicks – Incredibles 2 and Ocean’s 8 – while films from across the border have been delayed for two weeks to give an advantage to local productions. We managed to talk to the people behind the scenes of all these films and so that you can decide in what order you should watch these films.

7 Din Mohabbat In
Cast: Mahira Khan, Sheheryar Munawwar, Jawed Sheikh, Aamir Qureshi, Hina Dilpazeer, Mira Sethi, Amna Ilyas, Beo Zafar, Rimal Ali, Adnan Shah Tipu.
Written by: Faseeh Bari Khan.
Directed by: Meenu – Farjad.


Produced by: Dawn Films and IMGC Global.
7DMI marks the debut of Dawn Films as a film production company and the first film they produced has an interesting name – 7 Din Mohabbat In. From the trailer of the film, it seems that the film has a handsome ghost who challenges a meek youngster to either get a girl or become his slave for eternity, in seven days. Sheheryar Munawwar plays that boy and he has to make one of the four girls fall in love with him – Mahira Khan, Mira Sethi, Amna Ilyas and Rimal Ali. The film also has Hina Dilpazeer in a different role whereas Jawed Sheikh plays the good-looking devil reincarnate.
The film has been directed by Meenu-Farjad who brought us Zinda Bhaag while it has been written by Faseeh Bari Khan, a famous TV playwright. The playwright has ventured into films for the first time (if you don’t count the experimental Jeewan Haathi) and is hopeful that his fans would love the film just the way they have praised his plays. ‘I had always wanted to write a film.’ Faseeh says as he explains what made him write the film. ‘It was something I have always wished to do because I had spent quite a long time writing drama serials. Therefore, when Meenu and Farjad approached me to write a film, I couldn’t say no, in fact, I immediately said yes.’

Faseeh is hopeful that the film will prove to be different if not a game changer for future films. ‘Film is a very unpredictable medium so one has to be on their toes till it’s released but I am hopeful that it will prove to be an offbeat film for various reasons. For the first time in a Pakistani film, a transgender will be performing a significant role in this feature film.  Among the roles of heroines in 7DMI, one has been given to the transgender Rimal Ali who will be performing along with Mahira, Amna and Mira. It will also be a lot different from my work on TV because there, I am known for penning dark drama serials whereas 7DMI is an urban fairy tale, a completely different genre for me.’

The film also features Aamir Qureshi in a negative role, something his father the legendary Mustafa Qureshi was famous for during his career. Qureshi junior believes that the role of Naseer Kankata will remind the audience of his father besides making them laugh for a change. ‘I play the always-ready-to-steal-the-heroine villain who is the plain and simple antagonist here. He is the gali ka ghunda and badmaash who is all set to marry the heroine in the story. The role will remind the audience of my father because when I could relate to him, so will they. He played the villain throughout his career and now it’s my turn but my role also has comic touch which will make the audience laugh.’

Sanam Mehdi, Head of Dawn Films and a renowned playwright herself, believes that with 7DMI, the horizon will expand for Pakistani films. ‘My expectations are high from our film since the audience will get to see a new genre in Pakistani industry. It is an urban fairy tale that will give you the taste of Disney stories, which is a first for Pakistan. Furthermore, Sherry and Mahira are playing roles they have never done before in their careers, be it on TV or films. It's a risk but to be honest they have done justice to their characters and we have tried to package it as a complete entertainer that has something for everyone.’

Cast: Danish Taimoor, Saeed Imtiaz, Aditi Singh, Jawed Sheikh, Nadeem, Shahid, Frieha Altaf, Asad Mahmood, Ali Saleem, Shaheen Khan.
Written by: Babar Kashmiri and Jawed Sheikh.
Directed by: Jawed Sheikh.
Produced by: Momal Sheikh and Shahzad Sheikh.

Veteran film actor Jawed Sheikh directed his first film more than 20 years back and since then has directed a handful of films including Mushkil, Chief Saab and Yes Boss. However, it was through Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa in 2002 that he changed the way films were being made in Pakistan as he took the leap of faith that no one else was willing to take. It was the first film that had improved the sound design, was shot in digital format, featured Indian singers for the first time as themselves and featured a bullfight sequence, and a Ferrari race to name a few things. After the success of that film, Jawed Sheikh became a busy film actor and directed just one film Khulay Aasman Ke Neeche (2008) that didn’t do well at the box office.

Ten years later he makes his return as a director with Wajood which is going to be different from his other films in many ways – it doesn’t feature any member of his family be it brother-in-law Behroz Sabzwari or brother Saleem Sheikh. It is also his first film without regular collaborators like the music composer Amjad Bobby and cinematographer Waqar Bokhari. Will the film do well in cinema is another question, however, the director is confident that it will entertain the audience on the auspicious occasion of Eid.

‘As the trailer of the film revealed, I play a detective in the film who solves a case around which the film revolves.’ Jawed Sheikh says as he talks about his upcoming directorial venture. ‘But what the audience doesn’t know yet is that it is the first Pakistani film that has the backing of Turkish Airlines as a sponsor; in fact if ever a list is compiled of Turkish Airlines’ films, Wajood will be placed just below Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice as we struck a deal with them after the DC film was released.’

The director claims that Danish Taimoor will be seen in a different role in the film and people will fall in love with the two leading ladies – Saeeda Imtiaz and Aditi Singh. ‘The film is about a boy in search of a Wajood (hence the title) and romances two girls in the film, both of whom are newcomers. While one is British model turned actress Saeeda Imtiaz, the other is Aditi Singh, an upcoming actress from India. Both have done a tremendous job and same can be said of the supporting cast that consists of Ali Saleem, Frieha Altaf and Asad Mehmood. Nadeem sahib and Shahid also play important roles in the film and I was happy to work with both of them.’

The film also features veteran actors Nadeem and Shahid together for the first time. The trio began their career in the 70s (Nadeem in the 60s) and since then have worked in countless films but never before did they share the screen, which Nadeem sahib believes is a plus for the audience. ‘Although I have a guest role in the film, it gave me a chance to work with Jawed Sheikh and Shahid together for the first time in our careers.’ Nadeem sahib says without revealing his role in the film. ‘We don’t share the screen together but never ever in our long careers, have we worked together. I have worked separately with Jawed and Shahid but never together, this is the first time and I am sure the audience will be as excited for that as we are.’

Cast: Moammar Rana, Sonya Hussyn, Nadeem, Mariam Ansari, Erum Azam.
Written by: Imran Malik.
Directed by: Imran Malik.
Produced by: Imran Malik and Irfan Malik.
The third and final Eid release will mark the directorial comeback of Imran Malik and the relaunch of Pervez Malik films and what better way to make a comeback than with a patriotic film based on Indian Occupied Kashmir. The film features Moammar Rana in the role of a freedom fighter whereas Sonya Hussyn plays his love interest, and Nadeem Baig the father of the mujahid. For the uninitiated, Pervez Malik was undoubtedly amongst the top three film directors of Pakistan and this is the first film launched by his sons Imran and Irfan after his death. He worked extensively with Nadeem Baig from 1970 till 1992 (in films) and later on TV and the trend continues with his sons.

When asked about his role in the film, an emotional Moammar Rana gives a detailed response. ‘We all know what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in Indian Occupied Kashmir but sadly, we can’t do much as their brothers. However, as a member of the Pakistani film fraternity, I must say that Imran Malik did a great job in tackling the subject of Kashmir Movement in the best way possible. It was an emotional ride for me and whenever I watch the trailer and the Indian character delivers a threat, I still feel angry and feel like responding to him. As for the role, it’s that of a mujahid who leaves everything behind to fight for the right of the oppressed and how he is helped in this regard by his friends and family, that’s what Azaadi is all about.’

The film marks the return of the sensational Sonya Hussyn to films who has previously worked in Jami’s Moor and has been active on TV since. The beautiful actress is quite excited about the film where she plays a British-Pakistani journalist who visits Indian Occupied Kashmir in search of Azaad (played by Moammar Rana) and falls in love with him again. Azaadi is different from Moor because the latter wasn’t a commercial film and the former is; it is both a romantic and a patriotic film in the backdrop of the Kashmiri people and their freedom struggle. That doesn’t mean it’s an action-packed film because we got to sing and dance as well but one thing is certain, it will shake you from within with its realistic locations and action sequences.’

The director of the film Imran Malik made his debut as an actor way back in 1992 and after appearing on TV, he acted and directed Tere Bin Jiya Na Jaye twelve years ago. Here, he returns as a director and hopes to carry on the good work done by his dad, the late Pervez Malik. When asked how he would explain making a film on such a touchy issue, Imran replies with authority, ‘We all know that India has forcefully occupied Kashmir but the world doesn’t pay attention to it since they don’t let media enter the region. As a filmmaker, it was my duty to highlight the issue and make our people realize that we as Muslims will stand for our oppressed brothers no matter what the cost. Azaadi is a commercial film that tackles the subject of Kashmiri struggle and releasing it on Eid will spread the message to a large number of audience. The role of a mujahid was tailor-made for Moammar who can lift huge guns and look real at the same time; Sonya has done an amazing job. As for Nadeem sahib, he is family to me and working with him is a learning experience for all of us.’

There was one more film that was supposed to hit the screens this Eid – Parwaaz Hai Junoon – but that has been deferred to Eid-ul-Adha which will also see the release of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 and Load Wedding. So which film will you watch first this Eid – they all are coming soon to a screen near you!

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