Instep Today

The calendar of Pakistani film releases in 2020

Things may not always go according to plan in the Land of the Pure, but if they do then here are Pakistani films we’re looking forward to seeing in 2020

We’re one month into the new year and the first film, Sarmad Khoosat’s highly anticipated Zindagi Tamasha, is already under review by religious bigots despite being cleared by all censor boards in the country. One can only hope that this doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the year, which promises to pull the film industry up after the slight dip it suffered in 2019. With only a handful of notable films in 2019, one has to say it wasn’t the best year for cinema at all. And we’re hoping 2020 will be better.

Film pundits have eagerly counted almost 36 films that should release in 2020 but realistically speaking, knowing how the industry operates, the actual number may be much less. That said it still is looking better than last year and here’s why. We have ace directors Nadeem Baig and Nabeel Qureshi back in the game and we have not one, but two titles coming from Sarmad Khoosat who may not be able to compete in numbers but his films will definitely be positioned for critical fame and acclaim. Maybe they’ll be Pakistan’s official Oscar submission; Zindagi Tamasha certainly has potential. The year is scheduled to see big films with bigger casts (Fawad Khan, Mahira Khan, Fahad Mustafa, Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat etc), smaller films with heart and soul and lots of debutants, whether writer, producer, director or actor, nourishing an industry that needs nurturing.

Here’s what we’re looking forward to…

Zindagi Tamasha

Scheduled release: February 2020, if all goes well

Director: Sarmad Khoosat

Writer: Nirmal Bano

Starring: Arif Hassan, Eman Suleman, Samiya Mumtaz and Ali Kureshi

So much has been said about Zindagi Tamasha already; all one can say and hope for is clearance for release, albeit a delayed one, since the film was originally scheduled to release this weekend.

Kahay Dil Jidhar

Scheduled release: March 2020

Director: Jalal Rumi

Writer: Kamran Bari

Starring: Mansha Pasha, Junaid Khan, Sajid Hassan, Atiqa Odho, Roma Michael, Kamran Bari

A tale of friendship, transformation and self-discovery, Kahay Dil Jidhar revolves around four friends whose lives intertwine after they choose their respective career paths. The film will see Mansha as a fierce journalist and news anchor while Junaid will essay the role of a valiant police officer. The recently released first teaser of the film looks promising.

The Legend of Maula Jatt

Scheduled release: Tentatively Eid ul Fitr, May 2020

Director: Bilal Lashari

Screenplay: Bilal Lashari

Story: Nasir Adeeb and Bilal Lashari

Dialogues: Nasir Adeeb

Starring: Fawad Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Humaima Malick, Gohar Rasheed

Possibly the most long-awaited, anticipated and biggest film of the year, The Legend of Maula Jatt promises to sweep all competition out of the way, whenever it releases. The million dollar question: when exactly will it release? We’re hearing Eid ul Fitr as a tentative date, which means it may be Fawad versus Fawad if Money Back Guarantee stays in the race for Eid releases.

Money Back Guarantee

Scheduled release: Eid ul Fitr, May 2020

Director: Faisal Qureshi

Writer: Faisal Qureshi

Starring: Fawad Khan, Wasim Akram, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Gohar Rasheed, Kiran Malik, Mani, Jan Rambo

A satirical comedy, Money Back Guarantee marks the return of superstar Fawad Khan to Pakistan’s big screen (excluding cameos) for the first time since Khuda Kay Liye; MBG will be Fawad’s first full length Pakistani film (unless The Legend of Maula Jatt beats it to release) and he is joined in the film by Mikaal Zulfiqar, Wasim Akram, Mani, Gohar Rasheed, Kiran Malik and Jan Rambo. It’s quite an ensemble cast.

With more than 70 per cent of the principal photography finished and shooting of at least one track done, Money Back Guarantee is on the fast track to release this summer. With an extensive star-cast, the film will be a modicum of Khan’s box office strength. Mahira Khan is amongst many actors expected to make a cameo; Ali Safina has also been spotted on the set. Pakistan’s most iconic stylist, Nabila, has been roped in for styling of film’s main ensemble cast. It has also been confirmed that Mani will be featured in the film as part of the ensemble cast and a cinematographer from outside Pakistan is shooting the film. It’s going to be a big film but will it break previous box office figures set by films like Jawani Phir Nahi Aani remains to be seen.


Scheduled release: Eid ul Fitr, May 2020

Director: Sarmad Khoosat

Writer: Sarmad Khoosat

Starring: Saba Qamar, Sania Saeed, Nimra Bucha, Eman Shahid, Umair Rana, Hamza Khwaja

Sarmad Khoosat’s second film of the year will be Kamli, starring three of his Manto co-stars - Saba Qamar, Sania Saeed and Nimra Bucha - along with Eman Shahid (who has worked with Sarmad in plays). Speaking to Instep previously, Sarmad had said that the film is female-centric and that it doesn’t have an urban setting.

In an interview to Variety, he stated further, “A tragic love story at heart, Kamli is going to be a fresh mix of a rustic setting captured in a contemporary, universal sensibility. Unlike other films of the genre, Kamli is not only going to depict the vibrancy and humour of rural Punjab but also its poetic lyricism and love-lore in an international film aesthetic.”

Dum Mastam

Scheduled release: Eid ul Fitr 2020

Director: Muhammad Ehteshamuddin

Writer: Amar Khan

Starring: Imran Ashraf, Amar Khan

Produced by Adnan Siddiqui’s Cereal Entertainment, Dum Mastam will bring Imran Ashraf to the silver screen, for the first time, and that too as romantic hero. The stellar actor who came under the spotlight for playing unconventional roles in drama serials like Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, is on TV right now in the popular Kahin Deep Jaley, his first stint as romantic hero. Dum Mastam has been written by the acclaimed Ehteshamuddin, who gave us Superstar in 2019 and has been written and directed by newcomer Amar Khan. It’s an interesting mix of people, which makes the film something to look forward to.


Scheduled release: Eid ul Fitr 2020

Director: Abdul Khaliq Khan

Writer: Abdul Khaliq Khan

Starring: Sami Khan, Mani, Mubeen Gabool, Saleem Mairaj

Lafangey is a horror comedy, according to Sami Khan, who shared in an earlier interview that the film entails the journey of four individuals as they overcome their fears and realize their true potential. It’ll be refreshing to see a film braving to walk the path less trodden.

Tich Button

Scheduled release: Sometime between Eids, in the first half of the year

Director: Qasim Ali Mureed

Screenplay: Faiza Iftikhar

Starring: Feroze Khan, Farhan Saeed, Sonya Hussyn and Iman Ali

One of the most anticipated films of 2020, Tich Button marks Urwa Hocane’s debut as producer as well as Farhan Saeed’s debut on the big screen. It will also bring Feroze Khan back to cinemas with Sonya Hussyn and Iman Ali. Pitched as a romantic drama with a good dose of comedy and action, the film has been shot in Pakistan and Turkey.


Scheduled release: Post Eid ul Fitr 2020

Director: Amin Iqbal

Writer: Assad Ali Shah and Shakeel Chohan

Starring: Ahsan Khan, Ayesha Omar, Momina Mustehsan, Sarish Khan, Sohail Sameer, Hina Bayat, Ghulam Mohiuddin

A romance with satire and sweet music, Rehbara will mark Ahsan Khan’s return to the big screen after Chupan Chupai (2017) and will feature Ayesha Omar in a central role since Karachi Se Lahore (2015). The film’s remaining shoot, including a song, was recently resumed once Ahsan and Ayesha’s dates matched and the film is expected to release on either one of the two Eids or in-between.

London Nahi Jaunga

Scheduled release: Eid-ul-Azha, July 2020

Writer: Khalil ur Rehman Qamar

Starring: Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat, Kubra Khan, Gohar Rasheed

Director: Nadeem Baig

Director Nadeem Baig, producer/actor Humayun Saeed and writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar is a trio that understands the pulse of the nation. Their last project together - drama serial Meray Pass Tum Ho - broke all sorts of records including injecting life into cinemas where the last (double-episode) was screened. Tickets were sold out and exhibitors from the US were interested in screening it as well.

Writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar has, in recent months, made himself a real-life antagonist by sharing some misogynist views. But they are his personal views – as offensive as they maybe. In terms of writing for the screen though, he has written some success stories. Punjabi Nahi Jaungi (2017) which also starred Mehwish Hayat and Urwa Hocane, won critical nods and was a massive commercial success, fetching huge numbers at the box office.

The same trio is now making another run at the big screen with London Nahi Jaunga. Helmed by Nadeem Baig, the film will star – apart from Humayun Saeed – actors Kubra Khan, Mehwish Hayat and Gohar Rasheed, with the latter essaying the role of Humayun Saeed’s best friend in the film. According to the actor/producer and director, the film is not a sequel to Punjab Nahi Jaungi but is within the same genre, a family entertainer.

Quaid e Azam Zindabad

Scheduled release: Eid ul Azha, July 2020

Director: Nabeel Qureshi

Writer: Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza

Starring: Fahad Mustafa, Mahira Khan

Nabeel Qureshi’s next after Load Wedding (2018), Quaid e Azam Zindabad is certainly one of the most anticipated films to come out in 2020; Fahad Mustafa will star as a notorious cop in this entertainer that casts Mahira Khan in the lead with him for the very first time. The film is said to be an action-comedy with lots of twists and turns and quick-witted humour. We hear that the term ‘Quaid e Azam’ is a reference to money and hints at the corrupt officer who’s always making a buck under the table.

Ishrat – Made in China

Scheduled release: July/August

Director: Muhib Mirza

Writer: Ahsan Raza

Starring: Muhib Mirza, Sanam Saeed, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin and lots of surprise appearances

Muhib Mirza and Sanam Saeed, both stellar actors in their own right, will be returning to screens together since Bachana (2016); both actors have appeared in other projects, namely Arth and Cake respectively. And this is Muhib’s debut as director. Ishrat will also mark the debut of HSY in the role of antagonist, along with a fun ensemble cast that will prevent things from ever getting dull. There’s a lot to look forward to in this film, especially the soundtrack which – from bits and pieces we’ve heard – is catchy and super fun.

These are just some of the titles that have surfaced as confirmed for 2020 but we’re sure there will be additions and possible deletions. We know that Yasir Nawaz will be releasing Chakkar and will probably announce the film once its leading man is confirmed. There are over a dozen more titles, which are still in preliminary stages of production, and may or not make it this year. But 2020 does look like a big year for Pakistani films and we’re ready to head over to cinemas near us!


Scheduled release: Winter 2020

Director: Nabeel Qureshi

Concept & story: Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi

Screenplay & dialogues: Ali Abbas and Basit

Starring: Ahmed Ali Butt

Having played supporting roles in several successful films, Ahmed Ali Butt will be make his debut as leading man in the upcoming feature, Fatman. To be produced by Fizza Ali Meerza - who is also producing Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad (ft. Fahad Mustafa and Mahira Khan with Nabeel Qureshi helming the project), Fatman is said to be a non-commercial film based on a significant issue – body shaming - that is like a plague having spread everywhere including Pakistani society.

The film is a superhero film but not exactly the most typical one. As Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza noted earlier, “Fatman is a thrilling action comedy drama that will revolve around an ordinary person who accidently turns into a superhero.”

The story of a man and his son, the rest of the cast remains unclear at this time.