Pakistan’s once-ailing film industry is now back on its two feet. Those who predicted that 2015 will be a huge year weren’t disappointed as the Biggest Blockbuster in the history of Pakistani cinema came out this year – Jawani Phir Nahi Aani. But sadly, there were a few films that were expected to do well but couldn’t and they formed the majority these 12 months. Let’s take a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2015!
The first film of the year that made it into the heart of all came out in May – 3 Bahadur. Pakistan’s first animated flick had everything a person could expect from an animated movie of international level. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy left no stone unturned in completing this film which came out as mind-blowing. Featuring voice overs from Behroz Sabzwari, Alyy Khan, Khalid Ahmed along with Zuhab Khan, Muneeba Yaseen and Hanzala Shahid, this film entertained all from 8 to 80 – and made a comeback in cinemas during the Winter Vacations.
After a gap of few months came out 3 films (2 on Eid ul Azha, 1 two weeks later) that managed to do well on the box office. Bin Roye, Wrong Number and Karachi Se Lahore. They were at that time given tough competition by Bajrangi Bhaijan but managed to do well. While Bin Roye was a romantic love story featuring Humayun Saeed and Mahira Khan, Wrong Number was an out and out comedy from Yasir Nawaz. Danish Taimoor gave his first hit through the flick whereas Sohai Ali Abro and Janita Asma made their respective film debuts as leading ladies. Wajahat Rauf’s Karachi Se Lahore managed to make people laugh and although the road-story formula seems outdated, it went well with catchy songs and some exceptional acting from writer-actor Yasir Hussain.
This Independence Day saw as many as 2 local films do well in the cinema circuit – Moor and Shah. Jami’s film may have taken a lot of time to complete but it is one of the most well-shot flicks of recent times, anywhere in the world. Hameed Sheikh, Shaz Khan and Abdul Qadir led the cast which also featured veterans Nayyar Ejaz and Shabbir Rana. Strings (music and vocals Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia; lyrics Anwar Maqsood) made their debut as film composers through this film and came up with an amazing soundtrack. The film was given tough time by Shah, the story of Syed Hussain Shah (played by Adnan Sarwar), an underdog Pakistani boxer who raised Pakistan’s flag wherever he went.
Geo Films’ Manto came next and excelled with actor-director Sarmad Khoosat at top of his game. Saba Qamar as Noor Jehan may have been controversial but for the fans of the great writer, anything Manto is gold. The best flick of all, however, came at the end – Jawani Phir Nahi Aani on Eid ul Azha. Humayun Saeed’s production was written by Vasay Chaudhry and directed by Nadeem Baig and destroyed all box office records that ever existed. It managed to make people laugh out so loud that they went again and again to feel good. Ahmad Ali Butt took away all the good scenes on his debut and was supported by Hamza Ali Abbasi, Vasay Chaudhry and Humayun Saeed himself. Sarwat Gillani, Ayesha Khan and Sohai Ali Abro looked dashing but the woman who stole the hearts of all was none other than Mehwish Hayat. There were other performances as well from Ismail Tara, Jawed Sheikh and Bushra Ansari who have hardly ever disappointed their fans.
I don’t want to dwell much on what made these films bad but Sabiha Sumar’s Good Morning Karachi came out on New Year’s Eve and disappointed all except the filmmaker herself. It should have been more suited to TV screen where anything can become popular but as a film, it was below average. Guy Ritchie-inspired Jalaibee came two months later and failed to recover its budget from what can be termed as a half-baked story and half-cooked production. The most disappointing film of all was Asad ul Haq’s Dekh Magar Pyar Say which was released on Independence Day and was off the screens the next week. The dream pair of Humaima Malick – Sikandar Rizvi couldn’t click when it matters the most and despite being extremely well-shot, the film didn’t do well. Last but not the least was Resham’s comeback movie Sawarangi which was released in selected theatres and couldn’t get a decent run, especially after Censor Board Chairman Fakhre Alam’s comment that it was below par. Now Fakhre Alam and Resham once acted in a film too (Very Good Duniya, Very Bad Log), maybe he had a bad experience then and spoke now.
Once upon a time Bollywood released Devdas featuring Shah Rukh Khan. Pakistan did the same with a local version of SRK (Nadim Shah) and the film fell flat on its face. The lovely Paaro and Chandramukhi were played by Zara Sheikh and Meera and you know why the film flopped. Then came Jawad Bashir’s home video titled Maya which was supposed to be a horror film but made the audience laugh. The director’s wife Hina Jawad played the double role and was unconvincing in both. Both these flops seem nothing in front of Kamran Akbar Khan’s Halla Gulla which wins the award of being the worst film produced in Pakistan this century (alongside Sultanat). It was crappy with a capital C and its release on Eid ul Azha didn’t help since it was competing with JPNA, so far the most successful Pakistani film.