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December 28, 2019

Movies released during 2019

Islamabad

December 28, 2019

As 2019 closes, we look back at the movies and rest with more concern than contentment. The political circus was the main concern for media on 24/7 routine. Deadly train fires charcoaling numerous precious families, judicial verdicts, and politicians with dubious credentials coming in and out of prisons was only one part of the year. And yes, health concerns of former presidents and prime minister was another saga of the year. However, here, one must restraint oneself to movie alone. Ironically, the grass wasn’t any greener here either.

2019 saw close to thirty Pakistani films. Young new directors, producers, screenwriters and actors were seen making their impressions and others fading instantly into oblivion. The newcomers in every discipline entered film industry and that itself is encouraging good omen for 2020. TV production house were behind many of them and that is need of the hour. Let us begin with Geo Films ‘Laal Kabootar’ released in March on Eid, directed by Kamal Khan with Ahmed Ali and Mansha Pasha. Based on street crime in Karachi, it played modestly well at the box office and is now entering many film festivals abroad. This was an encouraging team by a new team and we expect more from them in 1920.

The next Eid was good for the box office with director Yasir Nawaz giving sequel ‘Wrong Number 2’, this time with Sami Khan. The summer brought Meera’s ‘Baaji,’ directed by Saqib Malik who is a shining name in TV commercials but prefers to keep a low profile. ‘Baaji’ scripted by Irfan Urfi, was the fateful account of yesteryear’s actress making a comeback, threatened by youngsters. ‘Baaji’ too played not only moderately well at the box office but received good critical reviews. Director Ehteshashamuddin’s ‘Superstar’ too revolved around the dark side of showbiz with Maira Khan in lead, supported by heartthrob Bilal Ashraf (now selling biscuits to a princes on small screen). In working for TV commercials, you do end up doing several intriguing assignments, notwithstanding selling tea, real estate and shampoo. We moved on to two hits ‘Heer Maan ja’ and ‘Parey Hut Love’, directed by Azfar Jafri and Asim Raza respectively. These light-heart comic romances carried big names in contemporary stardom with Mahira Khan in a brief glamorous role as guest artist. The low-budget ‘Daal Chawal’, perhaps the only Urdu film from Lahore, funded by Punjab Police, talked on rising unemployment and courageous role of people who take care of law and order. Notable TV writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar’s ‘Kaff Kangana’ again with Sami Khan, saw him as a hero bitten by love bug who carried away her girl from across the border. It was a good attempt with rich production effects. Babar Ali’s return on big screen in ‘Betabiyan’ was an utter shame and disappointment. He should be more careful in accepting film assignments in his mid-career. The year ended with director Zulfiqar’s ‘Sacch’ filmed entirely in Scotland, a family production directed by husband, produced by wife with debuting lead by their daughter. Reads nepotism right and left.

In foreign films, Hollywood came with ‘Avengers’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Lion King’, ‘Fast and Furious’, ‘Frozen 2’ (animated tribute to original). More sequels poured with ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Star Wars.’ ‘The Climbers’ from China, a million dollars venture on 8,000 meter plus high Mount Everest was good attempt both for film goers in China and international audiences.

As we look ahead into 2020, may be there would be fewer shocks on the political scene. We would have more good films on big screen and fewer youngsters glued to their cellphones. That is only a wish but wishes at times do come true with good intentions.

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