Roundup 2016 – Urdu Films

2016 has been a mixed year for the business of the Pakistani Urdu movies. The early half (January – June) of 2016 was a bit disappointing as many Pakistani films failed to perform well on the box office. In the later half the situation improved many folds when the films released on Eidul Azha performed very well. The year ended on a mixed note when the films released in the last two months of 2016 again struggled.

This article is a month wise summary of the Urdu films released in this year. The collections posted are taken from the website boxofficedetail.com. Unluckily in our country the official business and budget of the film is seldom made public for the reasons better known to film makers and film distributors.

Urdu films main circuit is in the large urban centers of provinces of Punjab (mainly Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala), Sindh (mainly Karachi) and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The most popular genre of Urdu films is comedy, followed by action and drama.

Overseas the leading market for Pakistani Urdu films is in UK, UAE, US and Canada. Urdu films are also released in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Fiji, India and some European countries.

January 2016
The starting month of the year benefits from the school holidays in the start of the month. This year the 1st January 2016 fall on Friday which proved a good opportunity for film business.

In January 2016 only one Urdu film Ho Mann Jahan (HMJ) (ہو من جہاں) was released which proved very successful. The film was released in Pakistan and overseas on the same day. HMJ performed very well in Pakistan, but its business was below expectation overseas (UAE, UK, USA, Canada). Especially it was expected to do well in UK as films of family drama genre normally perform well there.

Ho Mann Jahan was the debut film of Sheharyar Munnawar Siddiqi and his role was well received by audience and critics alike as compared to the other two leading artists of the film namely Mahira Khan and Adeel Hussain.

Film: Ho Mann Jahan (ہو من جہاں)
Release Date: 1 January 2016
Distributor: ARY Films
Genre: Family Drama
Budget: 9 crore
Collections in Pakistan: 15.50 crore
Collections Overseas: 4.5 – 5 crore
Total Collections: 20 – 21 crore

February 2016
The second month of year the usually have some romantic movie scheduled on the Valentines Day (14 February) weekend, however this year no Urdu film was released on the Valentines day weekend.

In February 2016 the first season of the cricket league Pakistan Super League (PSL) was also scheduled and any such popular sporting event impacts the business of cinema. So only one Urdu film Bachaana was released in February 2016. The film competed well with the PSL and exceeded all expectations associated with its business.

Bachaana was the debut film for Sanam Saeed and Adeel Hashmi. Bachaana was initially released only in Pakistan. After positive response in Pakistan it was also released in UK in April 2016 where it faced not much success.

Film: Bachaana (بچانا)
Release Date: 22 February 2016
Distributor: Hum Films
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 8 – 9 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections: 9 crore approx.

March 2016
The third month of the year usually have some film scheduled on the weekend following the Republic Day i.e. 23rd March. However this year no Urdu film was released on the Republic Day weekend.

This March two big cricket events were scheduled namely PSL and ICC T20 World Cup. Such sporting events usually impact the business of cinema. So in March no major Urdu film was released.

Only one low budget Urdu film Fiker Not was released which proved dead flop.

Film: Fiker Not (فکر ناٹ)
Release Date: 11 March 2016
Genre: Romance
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Dead Flop
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Dead Flop

April 2016
The first quarter of the year (January – March) saw the release of only three Urdu films which was not much encouraging. The situation improved in the fourth month of year in which two major Urdu films were released.

The first film released in April 2016 was Maalik which performed average at the box office. The film was duly passed by all the three censor boards currently functional in Pakistan. However after three weeks of screening first Sindh Board for Film Certification (SBFC) revoked its screening certificate and later the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) also cancelled its screening certificate.

The highlight of the Maalik was the comeback of Aashir Azeem to almost after two decades. Aashir Azeem earned fame from the PTV Quetta center drama Dhuwaan (دھوّاں) in 1994. Aashir Azeem challenged the decision of the government in the superior courts. After three months of hearing the courts allowed the screening of the film in September 2016. The film was again released in September 2016 and continued screening till mid October.

Maalik was initially released in Pakistan, the ban on the film give it quite publicity overseas. Aashir Azeem released the film overseas (UAE, UK, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand) in August 2016 where it was not much successful.

Film: Maalik (مالک)
Release Date: 8 April 2016
Genre: Action Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 7 – 8 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections:  8 crore approx.

The second film released in April was Hijrat. Hijrat was under production for past three years. Being the debut film of Farooq Mengal as director there were hopes associated with this project. The film stars new faces Asad Zaman, Rabia Butt and Rubab Ali in the leading roles as well as the seasoned artists Zaib Rehman, Durdana Butt, Ayub Khoso, Azra Aftab, Nadeem and Jamal Shah in the supporting roles.

Against all the expectations the film performed very poorly at the box office. Hijrat was released in Pakistan as well as overseas.

Film: Hijrat (ہجرت)
Release Date: 22 April 2016
Genre: Romantic Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 76 lakh – 1 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections: less then 1 crore

May 2016
With three Urdu films released May 2016 saw a slight increase in the number of Urdu films.

The first film of May 2016 was  Mahe Mir a film under production for past two years. Mahe Mir was a contemporary depiction of a struggling poet with the life of Urdu’s classical poet Mir Taqi Mir. The language of the film was rhetoric Urdu not commonly spoken these days. Mahe Mir business was below expectations but it was appreciated by the critics.

Mahe Mir marked the return of Imaan Ali on big screen after a gap of five years (Bol in 2011). It was the debut film for the director Anjum Shahzad.Fahad Mustafa played a double role in this film while Sanam Saeed also appeared in an important role.

Film: Mahe Mir (ماہ میر)
Release Date: 6 May 2016
Genre: Biographical drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 2 – 3 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: 2 – 3 crore

The second film released in May 2016 was Hotal. Through Hotal Meera made a comeback on the big screen after quite a gap. In 2014 Hotal was screened in New Delhi film festival in New Delhi, India where it also bagged an award.

Hotal was advertised as the first psycho thriller film of the year. Despite the presence of Meera, Hotal proved dead flop at box office and was out of cinemas within one week.

Film: Hotal (ہوٹل)
Release Date: 13 May 2016
Genre: Psycho Thriller
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Less than 10 lakh
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Less than 10 lakh

The third film released in May 2016 was Aksbandh. Aksbandh was the first found footage horror film of our country. Horror films are not much popular and Aksbandh also performed poorly at the box office.

Film: Aksbandh (عکس بندھ)
Release Date: 20 May 2016
Genre: Found Footage – Horror
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

June 2016
The holy muslim month of Ramazan was in June 2016. Traditionally no Urdu film is released in Ramazan and thus no Urdu film was screened in this month

July 2017
The festive occasion of Eidul Fitr was in July 2016. Due to long holidays Eidul Fitr provides ample chances of film business and traditionally the best films of the year are released on either Eidul Fitr or Eidul Azha. However normally a major Bollywood film is also scheduled to release on Eidul Fitr which minimizes the chances of the business of the local films.

Due to the popularity of the Bollywood films cinema owners provide premier time slots to them and local Urdu films struggle to get decent amount of shows.

In July 2016 three Urdu films were released where one was released on Eidul Fitr.

The first film of July 2016 was Swal 700 Crore Dollar Ka (SSCDA) released on Eidul Fitr. The film faced direct competition from the Bollywood film Sultan also relesed on Eidul Fitr. Despite the presence of some seasoned artists like Javed Sheikh, Ghulam Mohiuddin, Shafqat Cheema SSDA was a poorly made movie outrightly rejected by the cine goers.

SSCDA was directed by Jamshed Jaan Muhammad the son of (Late) Jaan Muhammad Jamman. Jaan Muhammad Jumman has directed many successful films from 1970’s to 1990’s. SSCDA was also a formula commercial film with pinches of action, romance, dances, emotions and everything required to make a formula film.

SSDA was the debut film for Quratullain and Ali Mohiuddin (son of Ghulam Mohiuddin). The film was hugely criticized by the critics for its poor content.

Film: Swaal 700 Crore Dollar Ka (سوال سات سو کروڑ ڈالر کا)
Release Date: 6 July 2016
Genre: Action Thriller Suspense Comedy Heist
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Less than 2 crore
Collections Overseas: Not released
Total Collections: Less than 2 crore

The second film of July 2016 was Ishq Positive. Ishq Positive was the directoral debut of Noor Bukhari who also played the lead in the film. The film marked the debut of Wali Hamid Ali Khan the son of classical singer Hamid Ali Khan. The highlight of the film was its music composed by the band Raga Boyz.

Ishq positive was under production for past two years, and despite its good music the film failed at the box office.

Film: Ishq Positive (عشق پازیٹیو)
Release Date: 22 July 2016
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Less than 1 crore
Collections Overseas: Not released
Total Collections:  Less than 1 crore

The third film of July 2016 was The Revenge of the Worthless – Badal. This film marked the direct oral debut of Jamal Shah who also played an important role in the film. The film was based on the real life events of 2009 insurgency in Swat. Firdose Jamal played the role of Sufi Muhammad a local political figure of Swat in the film. The film also failed to leave any impact on the box office.

Film: Revenge of the Worthless/Badal (بدل)
Release Date: 22 July 2016
Genre: Action Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

August 2016
August includes the independence day of Pakistan on the 14th August 2016. 14th August is a public holiday and like Eid Holidays provides a special occasion to release films. However this year no Urdu film was released on the independence day.

Two Urdu films were released in August and both failed at the box office miserably.

The first film of the August 2016 was Blind Love directed by Syed Faisal Bukhari. Faisal Bukhari is known for commercial masala films and Blind Love was no different from his earlier projects. Mathira made a comeback to the big screen with Blind Love after a gap of three years and again performed in a sleazy item number. The film has new faces in the lead roles like Yasir Shah, Nimra Khan, Fawad Jalal, Aamir Qureshi and Imran Bukhari.

Blind Love was produced by three big film producers from Lahore under the banner United Producers Alliance. Despite all the big and new names the film was out of the cinemas after one week of screening.

Film: Blind Love (بلائنڈ لو)
Release Date: 5 August 2016
Genre: Love Action Thriller
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Less Than 50 lakh
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Less Than 50 lakh

The second film of the August was Dance Kahani a film based on Dance. Being of independant nature the film was never expected to perform well. Dance Kahani was also removed from the cinemas after one week of screening.

Film: Dance Kahani (ڈانس کہانی)
Release Date: 5 August 2016
Genre: Dance
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

September 2016
September 2016 proved the most successful month for the Urdu films. The festive muslim occasion of Eidul Azha fell in this month. As compared to Eidul Fitr no big banner Bollywood film is scheduled to release on Eidul Azha and thus from the year 2013 the most successful Urdu film of the year is released on Eidul Azha.

In September 2016 four Urdu films were released where three were screened on Eidul Azha.

The first film of September was Teri Meri Love Story (TMLS). Ushnah Shah, Omar Shahzad, Laila Zuberi made debut from this film directed by Jawwad Bashir. On the whole TMLS was a horrible attempt to make a comedy film. Despite a comedy film it failed at box office due to its poor execution.

Film: Teri Meri Love Story (تیری میری لو اسٹوری)
Release Date: 2 September 2016
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Less than 1 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Less than 1 crore

The rest of the three films of this month were released on Eidul Azha on 13th September 2016.

The second film of this month was Actor In Law. The team of Nabeel Qureshi (director), Fizza Ali Meerza (producer), Mehwish Hayat (cameo) and Fahad Mustafa (lead artist) who were in Namaloom Afraad combined again for this film. Like Namaloom Afraad, Actor In Law also proved superhit and the most successful film of the year 2016.

Film: Actor In Law (ایکٹر ان لاء)
Release Date: 13 September 2016
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Budget: 10 – 12 crore
Collections in Pakistan: 25 crore
Collections Overseas: 5 crore
Total Collections: 30 crore

The third film of this month was Janaan. Famous anchor person Reham Khan was the co-producer for this film. It was also one of the very few main stream Urdu films which is based on a Pakhtoon family and was not a terrorism based film.

Janaan featured Bilal Ashraf, Armeena Rana Khan and Ali Rehman Khan for the very first time. All of these have worked in secondary roles earlier in films. Janaan also proved successful at the box office. Especially in the overseas market it proved the most successful Urdu film of 2016. In the overseas market it was most successful in UK. Janaan proved the second most succesful Urdu film of 2016

Film: Janaan (جانان)
Release Date: 13 September 2016
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 17 crore
Collections Overseas: 11 crore
Total Collections:  28 crore

The fourth film of the September was Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (ZKHH). ZKHH was the debut film for Sajal Ali and Feroze Khan the popular pair of short screen.
The music of the film was composed by Soch band. ZKHH was the second film of Anjum Shahzad as a director after Mahe Mir.

The film performed average at the box office.

Film: Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (زندگی کتنی حسین ہے)
Release Date: 13 September 2016
Genre: Family Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan:  6 – 7 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections:  6 – 7 crore

October 2016
The holy month of Muslim calendar Muharram fell in October. Traditionally no film is released during the first ten days of Muharram. So only one Urdu film was released in October 2016.

Another significant development in the October 2016 was the announcement of ban on the screening of Indian movies by the Film Exhibitors and Distributors. The Indian Movie Producer Association announced a ban on all Pakistani artists and Pakistani films in the start of October 2016. As a response the screening of the Indian film was also halted in Pakistan.

The ban deserted the cinema houses and though it provide space to the Urdu films with more shows, no Urdu film after this ban has performed well on the box office.

The only Urdu film released in October 2016 was Abdullah The Final Witness (ATFW). This film struggled at box office and failed to leave any impact.

Directed and written by Hashim Nadeem, ATFW was due to release in 2015 but was stuck in the censor. The censor board has objection over the theme of the film, the climax and few scenes. The climax of the film was reshot and some scenes were removed to clear the film from the censor board.

Film: Abdullah The Final Witness
Release Date: 28 October 2016
Genre: Action Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections:  Not Available

November 2016
November 2016 was the first month after a ban on the Bollywood films was announced. Four Urdu films were scheduled to release in this month where two were big banners film.

The ban on the Bollywood film was expected to be a positive one for the Urdu films as Urdu films now have more space and shows. But the ban impacted reversely and cinemas saw a massive decrease in the number of cine goers. During the screening of the Bollywood films cine goers come to cinemas in huge numbers and the same cine goers also benefit Urdu films. Esepcially the overflow of the Bollywood films benefits the Urdu films.

But after the ban on Bollywood films, majority of the cine goers simply stopped coming to cinema and no Urdu film performed well after this ban.

The first film of November 2016 was Jeevan Hathi. A debut film for Hina Dilpazir and Writer Fasih Bari Khan it was directed by Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi. Jeevan Hathi failed to leave any impact on the box office.

Film: Jeevan Hathi (جیون ہاتھی)
Release Date: 4 November 2016
Genre: Dark Comedy
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections:  Not Available

The second film of the month was Lahore Se Aagay (LSA), the second part of 2015 hit film Karachi Se Lahore (KSL). Being a film of comedy genre and a sequel of the successful film KSL it was expected to perform well at the box office. The film starred Saba Qamar and Yasir Hussain in the leading roles.

The business of the film was below expectation and despite large number of shows the film started slow on its opening weekend.
Film: Lahore Se Aagey (لاہور سے آگے)
Release Date: 11 November 2016
Genre: Romantic Comedy Road trip
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 5 – 6 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections: 5 – 6 crore

The third film of this month was Rahm starring Sanam Saeed in the leading role. The film was of independent nature and thus ended its run after one week of screening. Rahm was based on the drama ‘Measure for Measure’ written by Shakespeare.
Film: Rahm (رحم)
Release Date: 18 November 2016
Genre: Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections:  Not Available

The fourth and the last film of this month was Dobara Phir Se (DPS). Being directed by Mahreen Jabbar, DPS was also expected to perform well. DPS star Sanam Saeed, Hareem Farooq, Adeel Hussain, Tooba Siddiqi and Ali Kazmi in the lead roles.

Despite all the big and acclaimed names associated with this film DPS performed below average at the box office. The films opening weekend was very dull and it never took off in the coming days.

On the whole it was very good family drama but in the end it failed to attract the cine goers.

Film: Dobara Phir Se (دوبارہ پھر سے)
Release Date: 25 November 2016
Genre: Family Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 2 – 3 crore
Collections Overseas: Not Available
Total Collections: 2 – 3 crore

December 2016
The last month of the year saw release of six Urdu films the most in any other month of the year. However overall the results of these films were disappointing. Apart from one animated the rest of the films struggled on the box office.

Despite absence of the Bollywood films and ample number of shows the tials of Urdu films continued at the box office. The ban on the screening of the Bollywood films was finally revoked on 19th December. Cinemas started screening some old Bollywood films, time will decide whether lifting this ban helped the local cinema industry or not.

The first film released in December 2016 was Salute. Salute is based on the real life events of Aitzaz Hassan, a school boy from Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Aitzaz Hassan sacrificed his life to save his fellow schoolmates by stopping a suicide bomber. Some big names of Punjabi and Pashto films starred in this film like Saima Noor and Ajab Gull. Salute was directed by Shahzad Rafique who directed some successful films in past one decade.

Despite based on a patriotic theme, the Salute failed to impress the viewers and suffered low occupations at cinemas from day one.

Film: Salute (سیلوٹ)
Release Date: 2 December 2016
Genre: Biopic
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

The second film of this month was 8969. A suspense thriller film directed by Azeem Sajjad. 8969 also proved dumb at the box office at many places its shows were cancelled as no one bought the tickets. The film ended its run within one week.

Film: 8969
Release Date: 2 December 2016
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

The third film of ths month was Sayae Khudae Zuljalal (SKZ). SKZ is under production for past many years and based on a patriotic theme. The film was released the 16th December 2016 the day marking the anniversary of Taliban militants attack on Army Public School which killed around 150 kids.

The film was expected to do well due to its patriotic theme but it also disappointed with its poor performance.

Film: Sayae Khudae Zuljalal (سایہء خداۓ ذوالجلال)
Release Date: 16 December 2016
Genre: Family Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

The fourth film released in this month is 3 Bahadur: The Revenge of Baba Balaam. It is the sequel of animated film 3Bahadur released in 2015. Like 3Bahadur it is also produced and directed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy the oscar winner director from Pakistan.

It is the only film released since October 2016 which has performed as per expectations. The film is still being screened at cinemas and performing well.

Film: 3 Bahadur: The Revenge of Baba Balaam (تین بہادر: دی ریوینج آف بابا بالم)
Release Date: 16 December 2016
Genre: Animated
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: 3 crore (still earning)
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: 3 crore (still earning)

The fifth film of this mont is Jazba a low budget film produced in film. The film is only released in Lahore and failed to attract any audience as expected.

Film: Jazba (جذبہ)
Release Date: 16 December 2016
Genre: Action Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

jazba-upcoming-movie-releasing-on-16-december

The sixth film of this month which is also the last Urdu film of the year 2016 is Maula We. It was a long delayed film produced and directed by Babrik Shah who also played the lead role in the film. The film was never expected to do any considerable business and it failed to leave any impact due to its poor execution.

Film: Moula Way  (مولا وے)
Release Date: 23 December 2016
Genre: Family Action Drama
Budget: Not Available
Collections in Pakistan: Not Available
Collections Overseas: Not Released
Total Collections: Not Available

So on the whole it was a mixed year for the Urdu cinema. As compared to the year 2015, this year has less successful Urdu films.

In summary the top five most successful films of this year are as follows

1- Actor In Law
2- Janaan
3- Ho Mann Jahan
4- Bachaana
5- Maalik

Thanks for reading.

Do leave your feedback, which is your most favorite Urdu film of 2016? What are deficenies in the Urdu film you thing must be resolved. What are the strengths of our Urdu cinema. And what is your most favorite genre of Urdu films.

Rashid Nazir Ali

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