September the ninth month of the year 2017 has started. In the past two public holidays of Defence Day (6th September 2017) and Quaid-e-Azam Death Aniversary (11th September 2017) fall, however after 1998 both these public holidays were cancelled.
From 2015, the festive muslim event of Eidul Azha also falls in this month. This year Eidul Azha is on 2nd September 2017. In recent years Eidul Azha has emerged as the most successful weekend for the Pakistani cinema. From 2013 onwards the one of the Eidul Azha release has proved the most successful Pakistani film of the year.
The new year of Islamic Hijri calendar starting with the month of Moharram is also falling in September 2017 (starting from 20th September). No new film is released in the first ten days of Moharram while cinemas are also closed from 8th – 10th Moharram. So it effectively leaves twenty days of cinema business in this month.
Last year a total of four Urdu films were released in the month of September, where three were released on Eidul Azha 2016. This year three films are releasing in the month of September, where two are releasing on Eidul Azha. All the three films are of different genre and provide plenty of variety to cine goers with respect to their choice and preference.
Punjab Nahin Jaongi (پنجاب نہیں جاؤں گی)
Punjab Nahin Jaongi (PNJ) is produced by almost the same team of Jawani Phir Nahin Aani (JPNA) released on Eidul Azha 2015. JPNA proved blockbuster and to date is the highest earning film of Pakistan in any language. PNJ is releasing on Eidul Azha.
Like JNPA, PNJ also stars Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat in the lead while Nadeem Baig is the director. The major highlight of PNJ is the writer Khalilur Rehman Qamar (KRQ). KRQ last wrote the film Koi Tujh Sa Kahan in 2005, so PNJ marks his comeback on the big screen after a long gap of 12 years.KRQ is known for his powerful and insightful dialogs and his fans surely expect a quality script here.
Sohail Ahmed a famous name of Punjabi commercial stage is also making a comeback on the big screen after a long time. Seasoned artist Naveed Shahzad who seldom works in dramas is also making her big screen debut. Saba Hameed is also returning to the big screen after a decade where her debut film Mein Ek Din Laut Ke Aaonga was released in 2007.
Azfar Rehman a well known name of television is also appearing as secondary hero in this film. It is his first prominent apperance on big screen, earlier he done a cameo in the film Manto (2015). Urwa Hocane who last appeared in Namaloom Afraad in 2014 is appearing in a film after a gap of three years from PNJ. Ahmad Butt is also playing a prominent role in PNJ.
PNJ is a film of family drama genre. The film is shot in the cities of Bahawalpur and Karachi and is expected to attract the viewers in the circuit of Punjab as well as Karachi.
In the recent years few films of Family Drama genre have proved successful like Bin Roye (2015), Ho Mann Jahan (2016) and Janaan (2016). Though few circles criticize such films as “tv drama on big screen”, still this genre has grown its own audience in Pakistan as well outside Pakistan. Especially in UK the Urdu films of Family Drama genre have proved successful.
Film: Punjab Nahin Jaongi (پنجاب نہیں جاؤں گی)
Release Date: 1st September 2017 (Eidul Azha)
Genre: Family Drama
Cast: Humayun Saeed, Saba Hameed, Mehwish Hayat, Waseem Abbas, Urwa Hocane, Ahmed Ali Butt, Azfar Rehman, Sohail Ahmed, Naveed Shahzad, Waseem Abbas, Behroz Sabzwar, Safina Behroz
Written by: Khalilur Rehman Qamar
Directed by: Nadeem Baig
Produced by: Humayun Saeed, Salman Iqbal, Jarjees Seja, Shahzad Nasib
Production House: Six Sigma, Salman Iqbal Films
Distributor: ARY Digital
Namaloom Afraad 2 (نامعلوم افراد 2)
Namaloom Afraad 2 (NMA2) is the sequel of super hit Namaloom Afraad released on Eidul Azha 2014. NMA2 features almost the same cast which were in NMA namely Javed Sheikh, Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider and Urwa Hocane. Nayyer Ejaz is appearing in a prominent role in NMA2, he had a cameo appearance in NMA.
The character of Amber Khan (wife of Javed Sheikh) in NMA has been shown dead. Marina Khan is a well known face of the television dramas and NMA2 is her debut film.
NMA also featured Mehwish Hayat in the item song Billi. In NMA2, the super model Sadaf Kanwal is doing the dance number Kaifo Suroor.
Like NMA, NMA2 is also a comedy film. In the recent years films of comedy genre have proved the most popular genre in local Urdu films followed by films of action and family drama genre. So NMA2 is expected to give a tough competition to PNJ on Eidul Azha.
NMA2 is the third film from the producer Fizza Ali Meerza and director Nabeel Qureshi. Their previous two films NMA(2014) and Actor In Law (2016) were also released on Eidul Azha and proved the highest earning films of the respective year.
Film: Namaloom Afraad 2 (نامعلوم افراد 2)
Release Date: 1st September 2017
Cast: Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Urwa Huccain, Hania Amir and Jawed Sheikh
Music: Shani Arshad
Directed by: Nabeel Qureshi
Associate Producer: Ghouse Qadri
Produced by: Fizza Ali Meerza & Muhammad Mehdi
Production House: Filmwala Productions
Distributor: Urdu1 Films
Saawan (ساون) is the third film releasing in September 2017. Saawan is shot in Quetta and its adjoining areas in the Balochistan province. The biggest highlight of Saawan is, it is the Pakistan’s 2017 nomination to the Oscars award for the “Foreign Language Film Category”.
The film has also won Best Foreign Language Feature Film award at Madrid International Film Festival few months ago. The film covers multiple social issues.
Saawan is inspired by a true events:Struggle of a 9 year old Polio Victim Child. Public Awareness:1- Polio awareness, 2- Child trafficking 3- Woman bravery 4- WATER Crisis.
The official Facebook page describes the Plot Outline of Saawan as
Inspired by a true story of a disabled child, who is innocent, generous and most of all courageous.
This is a story of a people where poverty predominates, and the habitants live on a basic theory of “survival of the fittest”.
In the middle of this quintessential beauty, serenity and wilderness is a town that has been hit by a severe natural calamity. Sawan now has to face the callous nature and ignorance by all the characters of society all alone.
The tragedy of Sawan has brought together different characters on screen: an inspiring mother, a TV reporter, a common criminal, a child abductor, the cruel landlord and an ambivalent father.
These towering mountains, and intermittent gust of terrible winds across the mountains, haunt Saawan, but he has decided to fight to live for his family.
Saawan is a glimpse into the hope of tomorrow and is a lesson for many today that ignore such children during their daily walk of life.
Film: Saawan (ساون)
Release Date: 15th September 2017
Cast: Karam Hussein, Mohammad Abbass, Danial Younus, Mehak Zulfiqar, Mohammad Ali, Najiba Faiz, Saleem Mairaj, Imran Aslam, Sohail Malik, Sehrish Qadri, Shahid Nizami, Arif Bahalim, Hafeez Ali,Tipu Yorguc Sharif, Nadeem Baig, Retd. Lt. Gen. S.A.A.Najmi
Writer: Mashood Qadri
Directed by: Farhan Alam
Produced by: Mashood Qadri
Production House: Kalakar Films
Distributor: Geo Films
So these are the three Urdu films releasing in the month of September 2017. All the three films are of different genre and subjects and provide an option to cine goers to choose one as per their personal preference. The first two films are commercial movies while the third one is a parallel cinema film covering multiple social issues.
Before concluding lets briefly discuss a scenario which we might have noticed again and again. On social media and other forums there are many reader/visitors (count me at the top of the list) who repetitively rant and complain about the Urdu commercial movies. Such commenters have multiple concerns with respect to Urdu cinema like
The commercial cinema is not a true reflection of Pakistani society and culture
The commercial cinema shows fictional characters and stories
The treatment of commercial films is inspired from Indian Bollywood films
Why no films on real issues with social theme are made in Pakistan
It is a long debate and the brief answer to the above questions is that Commercial and Parallel cinema live side by side in any country. The success of commercial cinema provides the space to the parallel cinema. Commercial cinema has never been considered a true depiction of a society or country. So expecting reality and true depiction of society from commercial cinema is a plain false expectation. Commercial cinema always has fictional characters and situations, there may be few real life inspired events but on the whole the commercial cinema is for entertainment only. Mostly the commercial film makers do ensure to also give a message through their commercial films but it is not necessary that every commercial film is message oriented. Commercial cinema runs on the demand and taste of the public who spend their hard earned money to watch the film. So whatever we see in our commercial films is the demand of our cine goers whether we like it or not. Be it songs, dances, over emotional dialogs and situations, loud and gaudy treatment, it all works for the masses who come to cinema for entertainment. Cinema is a restricted medium where visitors opt to come after buying the ticket, no one forces anyone to come to cinema. It is not like television or radio which is free to air or have nominal fees and have access to our houses.
Still to ensure that the limits are enforced, there are censor boards functioning in our country which ensures to remove any scene from the film which is inappropriate and not in line with the defined censor code. The members of our censor board comprises of vast honorable backgrounds. Apart from members from the artist fraternity the member of censor board are senior bureaucrats, retired army officers and even retired judges. So a commercial films comes to us after passing through multiple filters, who decide what is appropriate or inappropriate for a general cinema viewer. So these honorable members of the censor board also carry a major responsibility towards the content of our commercial films.
With respect to “Why no films on real issues with social theme are made in Pakistan”, the answer is there are plenty of such films on average four to five released every year. But sadly such films seldom prove successful and even struggle to cover their expenses. So for a person like me, who loves to rant and complain on social media and showbiz forums about why social theme or reality based films not made in Pakistan, the justified act should be to come out of my cozy drawing room (living room or bed room), go to the cinema, buy the ticket and watch such film. Like Saawan is releasing on 15th September 2017, so I should follow the saying “Actions Speak Louder Than Words“. The success of social themed films will attract further investment and when film makers knew that their is a considerable dedicated viewership of social themed films, they will definitely invest further in it. Consequently the number of such films will also increase. So if I am concerned about the content of Pakistani films, I also owe a certain level of responsibility towards it.
Thanks for your time and reading.
Do provide your valuable feedback
Rashid Nazir Ali.