Year in Review: 2017 Films in Pakistan. The Best and the Worst.
This year in films in Pakistan was an interesting one in many ways. There have been many expected hits and many unexpected misses. This year in film also brought more masses to the multiplexes for enjoying Pakistani performances and Pakistani stories. It is great and heartening to see that many films, even though did not do the much slated hundreds of crores, still have managed to score decently at the box office. Critically some of the films have shown weaknesses, in terms of scripts and sound editing and cinematography but one hopes that as the industry grows, the stories and technical expertise will improve as well.
Here’s a look on Pakistani films in 2017.
The Qubul/Paisa Vusul:
- Punjab Nahin Jaungi (50 Cr)
Directed by Nadeem Baig, written by Khalill ur Rehman Qamar, this funny romantic comedy was the big hit with the masses. It gave the audiences memorable characters and a paisa vusul experiences with stellar performances from Humayun Saeed, Mehwish Hayat, Sohail Ahmed and Saba Hamid.
Watch my review of Punjab Nahi Jaungi here. Read the full review here and catch my interview with Humayun Saeed here. Also read. A few good questions for Fawad Khagga, the write up of my interview with Humayun Saeed.
- Namaloom Afraad 2 (28 cr)
Even though this film was banned in the middle east, NMA2, sequel to its successful predecessor NMA, was a popular hit with the masses starring Mohsin Abbas Haider, Fahat Mustafa, Javed Sheikh, Urwa Hocane and Hania Aamir.
- Arth (unknown)
Starring Shaan Shahid, Uzma Hassan, Mohib Mirza and Humaima Malick, this film was written, directed and co-produced by Shaan Shahid. While the film lingered and has been underperforming at the box office (too early to tell though), it was still one of the better films of the year. Read my full review here.
The powerful stories:
- Saawan (unknown)
Written and directed by Mashhod Qadri, Saawan released at the Madrid Film Festival under the banner of Geo Films. The film was Pakistan’s official entry for the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language film (though it did not get nominated) and told a powerful story of a child who faces many obstacles. It starred Saleem Mairaj, Najiba Faiz and Imran Aslam.
- Verna (10 cr)
Starring Mahira Khan and written and directed by Shoaib Mansoor, Verna was a powerful political suspense thriller that is based on real events and power dynamics in Pakistan. While Verna did modest business at the box office, it powerfully spoke about some critical subjects in Pakistan such as violence against women and domestic abuse. What was refreshing about Verna was the central female protagonist who was unapologetic every step of the way.
(Read my full review of Verna here.)
- Mehrunisa V Lub U (12 cr)
Starring Danish Taimoor, Sana Javed, Nayyer Ejaz and Javed Sheikh this film was a feel-good community based film directed by Yasir Nawaz. The pretty colors and altruistic feels in the film are not enough to save it from being a blah watch. It could have been better if it was a tad bit shorter or maybe didn’t rely too much on the cheesy humor.
- Balu Mahi (3.5 cr)
One more film that tried to do too much with too little. Starring Osman Khalid Butt and Ainy Jaffri, the film failed to do great at the box office and the story seemed too prolonged as well. The stunning cinematography by Saleem Daad and the preppy soundtrack by Sahir Ali Bagga could not save the film from failing miserably.
- Chalay Thay Saath (1.5 cr)
Starring Syra Shehroz, Zhalay Sarhadi, Kent S. Leung and Mansha Pasha, the film was directed by Umer Adil and written by Atiya Zaidi. The film failed to make an impact on the box office and didn’t receive much acclaim. However, it did manage to create a different flavor in the cinema for young, energetic films that have interesting stories to tell.
- Raasta (0.23 cr)
Written, directed and starring Sahir Lodhi, the film was a critical and commercial failure. I really have nothing else to say for fear of Sahir Lodhi finding me and killing me, desi Liam Neeson style. Check out the reaction video to the trailer here.
- Rangreza (unknown)
The much awaited Rangreza was perhaps the biggest disappointment of 2017. Not only the story failed and struggled to find ground, the mismatched dubbing, forced action and some very mediocre performances by the actors made for a very flawed film. Bilal Ashraf, Tanweer Jamal and Ghana Ali did considerably better but the rest of the cast couldn’t sink their teeth into the characters or the film. Read full review here.
Check out the podcasts/interviews with Bilal Ashraf and Gohar Rasheed.
- Yalghaar (20 cr)
Despite it’s halfway decent box office numbers, Yalghaar was an epic disaster. This multi-starrer film with Humayun Saeed, Shaan, Armeena Khan Bilal Ashraf, Gohar Rasheed and Ayesha Omer in lead roles was a cesspool of directorial errors. From the bad lighting to seeing the cameraman in Bilal Ashraf’s sideview mirror, the film’s million and one flaws made it one of the most cringey watches of 2017.
Read full review here.