The 2021 Guide to Pakistani Movies
2021: A Grand Year For Pakistani Cinema
On one side of the world, there is genuine concern about the future of how movies will be presented to the audience. The race – especially when it comes to digitally produced content – is fast and furious.
In Pakistan, the world moves slower. Film production houses, big and independent have their hands full finishing pending motion pictures from 2020’s COVID shutdown. Some titles are ready for release, other fresher productions,elbow their way into the roster.
With such a strong collection of movies primed for release in cinemas, HNH Style Presentsa short list of titles highly anticipated titles, in alphabetical order, that you should look out for in 2021:
Chakkar (Eveready Pictures)
Eveready Pictures, one of Pakistan’s oldest production and distribution houses, has largest slate of commercial movies in 2021. In the studio’s line-up is Chakkar, Yasir Nawaz’s fourth film as a director, produced by his wife Nida Yasir, staring Ahsan Khan, Neelam Munir and Yasir himself.
The film is a fast-paced murder mystery thriller with a lot of “Chakkars” in its story.
Recently the film’s first look from the sets were revealed, showing Ahsan Khan and Yasir Nawaz in midst of an action sequence. Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad (below, also an Eveready release) and Chakkar are the right entertainers for audiences who crave that Bollywood masala from movies.
Dum Mastam (Distribution Partner, TBA)
Next in the alphabetical line-up isthe Adnan Siddiqui produced, Mohammed Ehteshamuddin (of the superhit film Superstar fame) directed Dum Mastam. Little is known about the film other than the genre. The film is a lighthearted romantic drama starring TV’s Imran Ashraf Awan and Amar Khan (who also wrote the movie), both debuting on the big screen.
Ghabrana Nahi Hai (JB Films)
JB Films, the new production shingle of Nueplex cinema-owner Jamil Baig, presents Ghabrana Nahi Hai (GNH) – a film with a very aptly named title for these tiring times.
The film is an action-comedy-drama whose first look was recently unveiled to the public. Needless to say, the reaction has been fantastic.
Saba Qamar is the lead with co-stars Zahid Ahmed, Syed Jibran and Nayyer Ejaz and television director Saqib Khan is making his big screen debut. Veteran Producer Hassan Zia (Wrong No., Mehrunisa V Lub U, Wrong No. 2), collaborates with Jamil Baig who has previously helped produce, distribute and exhibit Motorcycle Girl, Na Maloom Afraad 2.
JB Films is set to produce at least three films every year from 2021.
Ishrat Made in China (Distribution Partner, TBA)
Muhib Mirza stars and makes his directing debutin Ishrat Made in China, an action-comedy set in exotic foreign locations, showcasing mind-blowing action and comedy.The movie is about a man with a particular set of skill is finds himself in hot-water in China.
Ishrat has a big ensemble cast of Sanam Saeed, Sarah Loren, Ali Kazmi, Nayyer Ejaz, Mani, and showcases the big-screen debut of celebrated fashion designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY).
The Legend of Maula Jatt (Distribution Partner, TBA)
After years of delays, rumored reshoots and a much-hyped legal battle, the anxiously awaited The Legend of Maula Jatt (TLOMJ) – supposedly the most expensive Pakistani film till date (as proclaimed by many in the industry) – will eventually release with a bang in 2021.
Written and directed by Bilal Lashari, produced by Ammara Hikmat, the film is a loose adaptation (or rather an inspiration) of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi's short story Gandasa and 1979 film version called Maula Jatt. The stellar cast has Fawad Khan, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Humaima Malik, Gohar Rasheed and Nayyer Ejaz.
London Nahi Jaunga (ARY Films)
ARY Films has two films so far in its slate: Tich Button and London Nahi Jaunga.
London Nahi Jaunga, despite what the title suggests,is not a direct sequel to Punjab Nahi Jaungi (PNJ), but rather a spin on the essence of that movie.
The alumni of PNJ – director Nadeem Baig, writer Khalil Ur-Rehman Qamar stars Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat – return with new additions to the lot Kubra Khan and Gohar Rasheed.
From the first look of the film, shared months ago, the film should be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year.
Money Back Guarantee (Distribution Club)
Money Back Guarantee (MBG) promises entertainment, but would you get your money back if it isn’t?
Probably not, but from the package of talent in the film – the team behind the camera, to people in front of it – I think the guarantee will stand.
Written and directed by Faisal Qureshi, known for his humorous commercials, MBG stars Fawad Khan, Wasim Akram, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Jan Rambo, Gohar Rasheed and Kiran Malik.
MBG, was also set for release in 2020, but got delayed because of Covid-19.
Neelofar (Distribution Club)
Neelofar, produced by and starring Fawad Khan, co-stars his Humsafar screen-pair Mahira Khan; this will be their second film together after The Legend of Maula Jatt (and Fawad’s third film, counting MBG).
The movie is written and directed by Ammar Rasool (it’s also Rasool’s debut feature), and the story centers around the blind titular character Neelofar.
Parde Mein Rehne Do (Eveready Pictures)
Parde Mein Rehne Do is the Wajahat Rauf directed, Ali Rahman and Hania Amir starrer romantic-comedy with a social message. Judging from Wajahat’s already successful film career (Karachi Se Lahore, Lahore Se Aagey, Chalawa), one can expect zany comedy with the drama.
The director has confirmed that doing a drama with a social message is a decisive change of pace and genre for him.
The film is set to finish its last spell in January.
Peechay to Dekho (Eveready Pictures)
Peechay To Dekho is directed by Syed Atif Ali whose 2018 indie horror flick Pari left a bad taste in the mouth.
Ali comes back to the genre with a twist: this time his film isn’t just a horror title – it’s a horror-comedy ala. Go Goa Gone.
The film stars Yasir Hussain, Adeel Amjad and Nawal Saeed.
Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad (Eveready Pictures)
If one isn’t hyped already, they should just check out the trailer. ‘Nuff said.
Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad is a “masala” action drama with a message. Directed by Nabeel Qureshi produced with his long-time producer Fizza Ali Meerza, the film is about corruption and cops, with the optics echoing Singham, Dabangg or Simmba.
QAZ stars Mahira Khan (technically in her third film of the year) and Fahad Mustafa in their first movie together. It’s poster, first look and teaser were unveiled this past October.
Rehbara (Distribution Partner, TBA)
Rehbra, Ahsan Khan’s second film in the coming year, stars Ayesha Omar.
The film – a romantic comedy – had a long, divided production schedule. Rehbara is director Amin Iqbal’s debut on the big-screen.
Tich Button (ARY Films)
Tich Button has been release-ready for a while now (the film wrapped its last shots recently).Its teasers had made rounds on TV and social media since, February. The film stars Iman Ali, Farhan Saeed, Sonya Hussain and Feroze Khan in leading roles.From its teaser trailer, the film seems to have the right ingredients for a solid masala experience.
Yaara Ve (Eveready Pictures)
Produced by a UAE based production house with Indian writer Althea Kaushal (whose credits include 3 Storeys, Noor and Happy New Year) with dialogues from Mahwish Ijaz, Yaara Ve stars Sami Khan, and Aleeze Nasser (Yalghaar) in lead roles. The debuting director is Manish Pawar.
Zarrar (Distribution Partner, TBA)
Finally, there is Zarrar, another ready-to-release title.Staring the legend, the last true Lollywood star, Shaan Shahid.The film is also written and directed by Shaan whose talents are recognized by and large by audiences and the film fraternity.
A globe-trotting action thriller shot in Istanbul, United Kingdom and Pakistan, Zarrar has promos out and looks on par with any Hollywood production.The film also stars Kiran Malik, in a unique leading role, Nayyer Ejaz and Shafqat Cheema.
Other titles in-midst of production include: Qulfee (cinematographer Saleem Daad, debuting as director; starring Moammar Rana, Sana Fakhr); Once Upon a Time in Karachi (Abu Aleeha, director; Mohsin Abbas Haider, Marhoom A. Bilal);Lockdown (Abu Aleeha, director; Gohar Rasheed, Sonya Hussyn); “ABG” (under production title; Shoaib Mansoor, director; starring Maya Ali, EmmadIrfani), amongst others.
That is some list – especially if one takes a look back at previous years when a handful of commercially viable titles compelled audiences to shell major bucks at the movies.
With such an exhaustive, unstinting list ready to hit screens, one hopes that production and distribution houses will sit together and map out a plan to not just crowd the Eid season like every year and leave the rest of the year empty…but that’s a different topic best left for another day.
For now, 2021 looks like a grand year for Pakistani Cinema.