It is no news that the coronavirus outbreak turned lives upside down this year. Anything planned for 2020 either got postponed, cancelled or changed the way it was supposed to take place. People, organizations, businesses and so much got affected by the global pandemic that sustaining has become the focus over recovering. While some industries found a way to shift online to keep the business going, others had to be completely shut.
Those who couldn’t get going include restaurant businesses, event management companies, photographers/videographers and the film industry. It hasn’t just affected Pakistani cinema, films that were supposed to release worldwide have either been pushed to an unknown date or are releasing online.
Ups And Downs Of Pakistani Cinema
Speaking of Pakistan, 2019 saw a huge decline in the cinema business compared to 2018. There was no big banner production or blockbuster that year. Filmmakers, exhibitors and distributors were hoping to have a successful year at the box office in 2020. However, Covid-19 changed the game with no sight of release anytime soon. Year’s first release was supposed to be in March. It was Junaid Khan and Mansha Pasha starrer Kahay Dil Jidhar that will mark the former’s film debut. He is playing the role of a policeman while Mansha will be seen as a fierce journalist.
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The next film in line was Sakina Samo’s directorial debut Intezaar that made it to multiple international festivals instead. With the second wave of Covid-19 picking up, we still don’t know when these two films will see the light of the day. In addition, multiple big banner releases were also underway, scheduled to release on Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Azha 2020.
Quaid e Azam Zindabad
One of the most anticipated films to come out of Pakistani cinema, Quaid e Azam Zindabad was even expected to release in December but the pandemic isn’t over yet. Starring Fahad Mustafa and Mahira Khan, the film is directed and produced by the dynamic duo of Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza, simultaneously. One hopes to watch the film on the big screen very soon. In addition, the duo had also announced another film for release in 2020. Starring Ahmed Ali Butt, it is titled Fatman. However, the shoot could not be completed due to Covid-19. While it was supposed to released by the end of 2020, a new release date is yet to be announced.
The Legend of Maula Jatt
The long-delayed The Legend of Maula Jatt is another highly awaited, upcoming film. Featuring a star cast including Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Humaima Malick and Gohar Rasheed, it is touted as Pakistan’s most expensive film ever. With Bilal Lashari directing it and Ammara Hikmat co-producing the action-thriller, hopes are high.
Tich Button that marks Urwa Hocane’s debut as a producer is also in the pipeline. Having pushed to a later date, the film was all set to release earlier this year. The cast including Feroze Khan, Farhan Saeed, Sonya Hussyn and Iman Aly recently finished the remaining spell as SOPs eased a couple of months ago. Packed with action, romance and drama, the film has fans excited.
London Nahi Jaunga
Riding high on the success of Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat are gearing up for another potential blockbuster. Titled London Nahi Jaunga, the upcoming Nadeem Baig directorial is penned by seasoned yet controversial writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar. The London spell of the film is yet to be shot and it is being delayed due to the global pandemic. “Naam bhaari par gya,” as Humayun Saeed put it in a recent interview. The film will also feature Kubra Khan in an important role.
Ghabrana Nahi Hai
Films that are currently on set include Saba Qamar and Zahid Ahmed starrer Ghabrana Nahi Hai. It is a romantic comedy being produced under the banner of JB Films. Saba and Zahid have shared the screen multiple times on TV. Their couple looks great onscreen and the two are incredibly talented. Let’s wait and see what the film has on offer for the viewers.
Yasir Nawaz’s Chakkar that features Ahsan Khan and Neelam Muneer is also being shot in Karachi. With Neelam said to be Covid-positive, things must have slowed down but the film is very much in the pipeline. Given the kind of films Yasir Nawaz has directed so far, one knows that the upcoming film is also going to be a commercial, masala film.
Pardey Mein Rehne Dou
Wajahat Rauf’s next after Chhalawa is Ali Rehman Khan and Hania Amir starrer Pardey Mein Rehne Dou that was also going to release this year had the coronavirus not hit us. He was in fact shooting when the first lockdown was implemented, resulting in a break. However, as the situation got better a few months ago, things have been back in action.
Also on floors these days is Shoaib Mansoor’s next, titled #ABG, going by the hashtag circulating online. The film stars Maya Ali opposite Emmad Irfani of Cheekh fame. The writer-director’s last venture Verna turned out to be a disappointment despite having Mahira as the protagonist. We hope this one has something intriguing to offer to viewers. Earlier this month, Mahira Khan announced that they recently wrapped up Neelofar in Lahore. Covid-positive at the moment, Mahira has three upcoming films in the pipeline. She will be sharing the screen with Fawad Khan in Neelofar as well.
Meanwhile, writer-producer and breast cancer survivor Asma Nabeel also announced her film earlier this year. Titled Fly, the film will see Hajra Yamin and Wahaj Ali share the big screen for the first time. The onscreen pair generated hype after they came together in drama serial Ehd e Wafa. Mehreen Jabbar has also been working on a script by Syed Mohammad Ahmed. The two will soon be announcing their upcoming film too.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that viewers have become so comfortable watching a movie on their phone or laptop screens that one wonders if they still wish to have the big screen experience. That said, some films, or even the idea of watching a film, has to be somehow connected to a cinema screen. With cinemas shut all over the world, the dynamics are changing. Nonetheless, one hopes to see everything going back to normal and that also includes watching a film on the big screen. With so many big banner, high profile films in the pipeline, Pakistani cinema has a lot to offer to movie buffs in 2021.