Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bollywood Eyes Pakistan Market Amid Declining Sales in India

Amid the Hindu Nationalists calls for sending Pakistani actors home, what is being overlooked is the fact that Bollywood needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs Bollywood.  Why? Let me explain.

Pakistan is Bollywood's second biggest foreign market. Last year, Pakistan's box office receipts jumped by 28% while India's domestic box office collection fell 6.7%.

Decline in Bollywood's revenue at home is forcing the Indian movie industry to look to Pakistan for growth. Part of the Indian strategy is to feature Pakistani actors and artists in its productions to increase Bollywood's appeal to Pakistan's growing moviegoers market.

The money earned by Pakistani actors working in Bollywood is minuscule compared to the business Bollywood films are doing in the rapidly growing Pakistan market.

Pakistani Actors in Bollywood: Fawad Khan,  Mahira Khan, Mawra Hocane

Bollywood ticket sales fell by 6.7% to INR 2,568 crore ($385m) from 2014’s total of  INR 2,754 crore (US$413), according to figures published by India's Business Standard. Alarmed by declining sales, Disney Studios have decided to pull out of India.

After suffering huge losses at the domestic box office, the most recent one being Ashutosh Gowariker's Mohenjo Daro, Disney India - the company formed after Disney acquired controlling stake in UTV - has pulled the plug on all things Bollywood. Instead, Disney will only focus on its Hollywood films distribution, licensing and merchandising business in India, according to India Today.

On the other hand, Pakistani cinema, though small, is growing very rapidly with the explosive growth of multiplex theater screens. Pakistan's "The News Sunday" estimates that box office receipts in the country jumped 28 per cent in 2015 as compared to 2014 and this figure is only expected to grow in coming years. On Eid ul Azha this year, the top 3 highest-grossing films were all produced in Pakistan, according to


Here's how Indian media and entertainment analyst Akar Patel describes Bollywood's business opportunity in Pakistan:

"In Pakistan, there is a big market for Indian movies in their multiplexes. For decades this revenue was lost to Bollywood because the movies were pirated. Under former president Pervez Musharraf, the official screening of movies was allowed, benefiting both nations. Today all Bollywood movies are shown there. Unfortunately, the current state of ties between the two countries has been allowed to deteriorate so much that we should not be surprised if Musharraf's wise decision is reversed."

It is a win-win arrangement with Pakistani artists working with their Indian counterparts in Indian movies and increasing Bollywood revenue from Pakistan market.

If the anti-Pakistan rhetoric and the attacks on Pakistani artists in Mumbai continue, it is very likely that Pakistan will respond by banning the showing of Indian films in a rapidly expanding market market for Bollywood entertainment. In addition to increasing estrangement between the two neighbors, stopping cooperation and collaboration will be a significant blow for the entertainment industries in both India and Pakistan.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Peepli Live Destroys Indian Myths

Bollywood-Hollywood Combos

Indian Bollywood Seeks Cultural Dominance

US Mortgage Fraud Funded Bollywood Movie

Coke Studio: Music Drives Coke Sales in Pakistan


Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

Great write up. Bakkkiland has enormous talent and Bollywood organisation and marketing muscle and Bakkki talent can go a long way. Lets hope Indians and Bakkkis learn to make love and not war.

On a different note, I have some disturbing news. Bakkkiland has finished 149 on global burden of disease, at par with BD and six notches behind India. I hope you will bring it to the notice of highest authorities in Bakkkiland.


Riaz Haq said...

An increase in the number of screens coupled with the success of pioneering efforts in the form of Khuda Ke Liye, Bol, Waar and the more recent Na Maloom Afraad, provided the impetus that local filmmakers needed to start producing films.

The results have been encouraging: Jawani Phir Nahin Aani, produced by ARY Films, broke all previous records (including those set by Indian and English films in Pakistan) with earnings in excess of Rs 300 million at the box office. Bin Roye (by Hum Films) and Wrong Number (by Yasir Nawaz Films) collected Rs 150 million and Rs 130 million respectively. While not all of this year’s films have been big earners, some have more than made up for that by receiving critical acclaim, especially Shah, Manto and Moor. Of course, there were flops, such as the much touted but disappointing Dekh Magar Pyaar Say and the downright ridiculous Hulla Gulla, but what has come through as a result of these endeavours, whether successful or not, is that after decades of shunning local productions, Pakistani audiences are now willing to watch Pakistani films, and perhaps more importantly for producers, that there is money to be made by making local films.

Top grossers: Jawani Phir Nahin Aani broke all previous records with earnings in excess of Rs 300 million at the box office while Bin Roye and Wrong Number collected Rs 150 million and Rs 130 million respectively.
Top grossers: Jawani Phir Nahin Aani broke all previous records with earnings in excess of Rs 300 million at the box office while Bin Roye and Wrong Number collected Rs 150 million and Rs 130 million respectively.
Therefore after a relatively successful year, the value of Pakistani cinema, based on local box office receipts for local films, is between Rs 700 to 800 million. According to Yaseen, the influx of local films has also brought a whole new audience into cinemas, particularly the ultra conservative sections of the population who are not keen on watching Indian and English films.

Pakistani audiences are also being lured in by the diversity of subjects on offer. Granted that many filmmakers are borrowing themes from across the border, but there are also original thinkers like Adnan Sarwar, Sarmad Khoosat and Jami who bring their own vision to the screen.

More to the point, says Jerjees Seja, CEO, ARY Digital and ARY Films, is that unlike TV, where audience preferences are very clear (and ratings determine content), film has no set rules. “You can make any type of film as long as it clicks audiences.”

What ‘clicks’ is a subjective discussion, but filmmakers like Sarwar (producer and lead actor of Shah), are clear that bringing new storylines to the screen will eventually be the bread and butter of local cinema, especially once the novelty factor wears off.

“Pakistani cinema has to create its own niche otherwise it will become harder to compete [with Indian films]. In the long run, we have to be to Bollywood what British cinema is to Hollywood.”


Out of the 83 screens in Pakistan, approximately 50 are in cineplexes and the rest are standalone cinemas. Only two out of the 33 odd standalone cinemas are equipped with the technology to screen films made using digital cameras – the rest still use 35mm reels. This in effect means that new films can only be released on about 52 screens. With three to five films released every week (including Pakistani, Indian and Hollywood titles), many of which have international star power as their greatest advantage, Pakistani films are pushed off the cinema roster quicker than they would like, and as a result do not get the screen time they require to secure their ROI.

Riaz Haq said...

On Friday 15th July 2016 the collections of the (Bollywood) film ( "Sultan" in Pakistan) reached 25.08 crore rupees, surpassing the previous record of 25.05 crore of Dhoom 3 released in 2013. (Source: Till Sunday 17th July 2016, the film has collected 28 crore rupees and is still pulling crowds to the cinemas. Seeing all this it is favorable to say that it will be the first Indian Bollywood film to cross the landmark of 30 crore rupees before the upcoming weekend (Source:

The top all time opening weekends in Pakistan are as follows with the distributor names in (parenthesis), Sultan leads all the films by huge margins. Out of the five top films three are Indian Bollywood films released within a time frame of six months depicting the constantly improving business of the Indian Bollywood films in Pakistan (Source:

Sultan (Geo Films).. 11.2cr in July 2016
Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (ARY Films).. 7.83cr in September 2015
Furious 7 (Foor Print).. 7.48cr in April 2015
FAN (Geo Films).. 6.5cr in April 2016
Dilwale (Eveready).. 6.42cr in December 2015

The top all time single day earning for a film in Pakistan where a film has earned equal to or more than 2 crores. Sultan is again leading here by capturing the top five slots. It made the record of highest collection in a single day on first day of its release and improved it further on day two, three and four. (Source:

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan actors already home before MNS' threat to leave India

All Pakistani actors including Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan left India, for personal reasons, even before Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) threatened to push them out in the wake of the Uri terror attack.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Bollywood, Hollywood matter

“I don’t want to sound pessimistic but the truth is there has only been a boom in the cinema industry in Pakistan in the last few years because of the release of latest Bollywood and Hollywood films,” says Nadeem Mandviwalla, a known exhibitor, distributor and owner of the Atrium chain of cineplexes.

“I just hope the ties don’t remain tense on long term basis. If there is a temporary ban, we can survive but if there is any permanent ban, you can expect a lot of cinema houses and multiplexes to close down,” he says.

Omair Alavi, a popular film critic, says that due to the increase in cinema screens and revenues, there has also been a resurgence of the Pakistani film industry.

Needed: 50 to 60 films a year

“We have seen a number of Pakistani films release and do well and others are also lined up for release. But for a cinema industry to survive you need to produce at least 50 to 60 films in a year which we are not doing at present,” he says.

Mr. Mandviwalla says 70 per cent of the business comes from Bollywood and Hollywood. “There is no alternative. If the ties worsen, it is going to affect everyone,” he says. He, however, says that previously when Indian films were banned in Pakistan, business flourished underground with the sale of pirated DVDs and other such materials.

“Now you have cable operators as well but I think if there is any ban it will also affect their programming,” he says.

‘Hope there will not be a ban’

Saleem Khan, who has been in the business for years, thinks there will not be a ban but if this happenes cinema owners might have to completely wrap up their business or shut a few screens to cut costs.

“We don’t produce enough films to sustain ourselves throughout the year. We need to produce at least over 50 films annually,” he says.

Former Sindh Board of Film Censors chairman Fakhr-e-Alam says any such ban will result in “going back to the days where our screens were shut down and converted into shopping malls or apartments because there weren’t enough movies.”

He feels there is only one hope for industry people in case of a ban on Bollywood films and that is the Pakistan government must provide funds for production of films.

Option: screen old Pak. films?

Cinepax Cinemas Assistant Marketing Manager Abid Ali Zaidi says if there is a “temporary” ban, the cinema chains will manage for a while by screening old Pakistani films.

“We are already planning to do that from October as an alternative,” Mr. Zaidi said.

Since Indian films were allowed to be imported and screened the cinema industry business has picked up rapidly in Pakistan with some Bollywood blockbusters even grossing the 100-crore rupees mark in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Your love for #Bollywood could cost you your computer. Watch out for spyware, malware #India #Pakistan via @qzindia

A new study by Intel Security, owner of the McAfee virus protection products, has ranked the riskiest Bollywood celebrity searches. Actress Sonakshi Sinha tops the list.
This means whenever someone looks for anything on Sinha, they are at the highest risk. For instance, a search term like “Sonakshi Sinha + Torrent”, would mean a “21% chance of connecting to a malicious website,” the study says.

Hackers are evidently taking advantage of India’s unending love for Bollywood, with movie aficionados spending hours online looking for news on awards, movie premiers or even celebrity breakups. Fans are often enticed to click on sites loaded with malware that could hide in your computer and steal sensitive personal information.
“Cinema and celebrity culture continue to be synonymous with Indian consumers,” Venkat Krishnapur, head of R&D operations for Intel Security’s India Development Centre, said in a statement. “Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting consumers who access information-on-the-go, without considering the potential security risks online around celebrity interest.”

Riaz Haq said...

Battleground Bollywood: India-Pakistan Tensions Hitting Film Industry

Undoubtedly, Bollywood has long been a way to thaw the frosty relations between the two countries. 
And it is also a huge business. Indian films make more than $10 million in annual receipts in Pakistan — the country is the No. 3 foreign market for Indian movies after the U.S. and the UAE. And for many Pakistani theaters, Bollywood movies account for more than half their revenues. According to the All Pakistan Film Exhibitors Association, Bollywood brings in around 60% of cinema revenue in Pakistan. 
In November, an editorial in the Dawn had said that “in terms of being crowd-pullers on a large scale, nothing beats the content being generated by the mammoth industry next door.”

A medium-budget Bollywood film is able to earn $800,000 in Pakistan, while big-ticket movies, starring Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan generate more. In 2014, Aamir Khan’s PK grossed over $3.3 million at the Pakistani box-office, beating the country’s first big-budget movie Waar, that depicted every volatile aspect of Pakistan's rocky relationship with India. 
In 2013, Dhoom 3 grabbed $ 3.7 million and Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan got $2.2 million.

Riaz Haq said...

As 2016 ends, Bollywood at the edge of a cliff

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar
This was the year Bollywood slowed down and, in some cases, slammed the brakes.
For the third straight year, the Indian film industry did not grow. As some studios shut up shop, Hollywood films such as “The Jungle Book” trumped most Hindi films at the box office. Big-ticket movies didn’t strike a chord with audiences and the industry finds itself scrambling for a long-term solution.
Apart from Salman Khan’s wrestling drama “Sultan”, the year’s top grosser with more than 3 billion rupees ($44 million) in revenue, most Bollywood films couldn’t woo audiences or recover their money.
The Bollywood industry made around 23 billion rupees ($338 million) in domestic box-office revenue in 2016, a significant drop from the 27 billion rupees ($397 million) in 2015, according to Shailesh Kapoor, who runs media consulting firm Ormax Media. The 2016 figures are till Dec. 22 and do not include box-office returns for Aamir Khan’s “Dangal”, which released last Friday.
Bollywood is hugely dependent on its male stars to deliver blockbusters, specifically the trio of Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, who have delivered some of the industry’s biggest hits. But this year, even Shah Rukh Khan’s “Fan”, a thriller about a man obsessed with a movie star floundered at the box office.
“There are two kinds of films that work at the box office, the big star vehicles like ‘Sultan’ and the niche content films like ‘Piku’ last year. There weren’t too many of either this year. ‘Fan’ not making it past the 100 crore ($14 million) mark was a huge setback,” Kapoor said.
More than 200 Hindi films opened in cinemas this year. Of these, some 60-odd films got a proper release and had a marketing budget. Only 12-14 films made a profit, Kapoor said.
What must strike fear in Bollywood’s heart though is that the number two position in terms of box-office revenue was taken by a Hollywood film. “The Jungle Book”, Disney’s live-action film based on Rudyard Kipling’s book made around 1.8 billion rupees ($26 million) in India, surpassing every other Hindi film except “Sultan”. Marathi film “Sairat” (Wild) also enamoured audiences, crossing the 100 crore rupee ($14 million) mark, more than what most Bollywood films managed.


As companies such as Netflix and Amazon try harder to draw Indians away from TV and theatre screens, offering the same content at half the cost, Bollywood will have to use every trick in the book to make sure it retains its audiences in the coming year.

Riaz Haq said...

70 years of Pakistan’s film industry
A look at the good old days of the Pakistani film industry, which gave us immortal tunes, self made stars, and award-winning directors
The film industry in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. It has seen the best of its days, but sadly, the present situation is nowhere near to what it had been.
The good old days had given Immortal tunes, excellent films, self made stars and award-winning directors, but mostly depended on individuals.
The initial decade (1948-1957):
Despite lack of equipment and resources, country’s first film, Teri Yaad, was released in August 1948. Nasir Khan, brother of the famous actor Dilip Kumar, was the hero, with Asha Posley playing his love interest. Pakistan’s first Golden Jubilee film, Sibtain Fazli’s Dupatta, was released in 1952. The film was also appreciated in India at release. It had Noor Jehan as lead, while the music was composed by Feroz Nizami, who had earlier composed for Noor Jehan-Dilip Kumar starrer Jugnu in undivided India five years back. Like Nizami sahab, musicians Ghulam Haider, Rasheed Atre, GA Chishti and Khwaja Khurshid Anwar, opted to Pakistan and played an important role in establishing the industry.
Many stalwarts from India, namely Munshi Dil, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, Fazli brothers, also migrated, and by the end of the 50s, Pakistan had its set of directors. A young Allauddin, who played the role of Nargis’s father in Mela (1948), remained active for over 30 years, performing memorable roles in his career. The struggling days of the industry would have been different, if there had been no Santosh Kumar or Sabiha Khanum. The ‘first couple’ of the industry eventually tied the knot after giving hits like Do Aansoo (1950), Ghulam (1953) Qatil, Inteqaam (1955), and Sarfarosh (1956). Actor Sudhir was labeled an action hero with hits like Baaghi (1956) and Akhri Nishan (1958), while Syed Kemal, a replica of Indian superstar Raj Kapoor, came on the scene with Thandi Sarak (1957). He could dance as well as made you laugh. Phenomenal Rise of Aslam Pervez, first as a hero and later as a villain, was termed legendary in any phase of life.
The peak years (1958-1967):
It is credited as the golden period of the industry. With limited ban on Indian films, local productions thronged. Field Marshall Ayub Khan’s rule had restrictions on nearly everything, but it was the creative team of director Khalil Qaiser- music composer Rasheed Attre- writer Riaz Shahid who accepted the challenge and gave out exceptional films like Shaheed (1962), Firangi (1964) and Hukumat (1967) until Qaiser’s death in mysterious circumstances.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Bollywood has copied a shocking number of #songs from #Pakistan. See proof

Riaz Haq said...

Despite numerous efforts to introduce movies from other cultures, including dubbed versions of Turkish films, Bollywood remains the primary choice for moviegoers in Pakistan. The loss of Indian movies stung so hard because Pakistan was not yet able to produce and distribute enough movies to fill theaters every week. Though the number of screens in Pakistan increased from 30 in 2013 to almost 100 in 2017, producers and investors were being cautious. And most filmmakers realized that reaching larger audiences wasn’t possible.

A few months later, Pakistani theater owners ended their self-imposed ban and Indian films returned to Pakistani screens in 2017. But investors started questioning whether the movie business was feasible if it suffered after every crisis between the two countries.

The first ban on the exhibition of Indian films was imposed by military ruler President Mohammad Khan Ayub after the second India-Pakistan war in 1965. The woes of the local cinema industry were further exacerbated during the era of Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq’s presidency, when higher taxation and strict censorship policies made it impossible for cinema to grow.

During those decades, as cinema was gradually fading away, Pakistan’s television soap operas boomed and provided entertainment for the middle classes. Most actors, directors and screenwriters focused on producing them. Film lovers had the limited choice of either watching second-rate vanity projects or pirated versions of Hollywood and Bollywood movies. The decimation of Pakistani cinema — particularly under the rule of General Zia — meant that the country lost most of its 700 single-screen cinemas.

Pakistani cinema began to emerge from its long coma in 2006 when Gen. Pervez Musharraf removed the ban on showing Indian movies that had been in place since 1965. Within a few years new multiplexes sprung up in all major cities to meet the high demand for films.

By 2011 Pakistan had around 35 multiplex screens; more than a hundred more were being built. Sadly this new infrastructure was restricted to multiplexes as distributors focused almost entirely on attracting the middle classes who could afford higher ticket prices. Single-screen cinemas, along with their less-privileged audiences, were completely ignored and excluded.

The availability of screen space in turn encouraged local filmmakers to venture out and produce films. A turning point came with the success of Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol, the story of a religious family with a transgender daughter, which was produced in 2011 with a local cast and crew. It inspired more Pakistani filmmakers to jump into the fray.

Two years later, Pakistan had produced 20 films and many more were being planned. International festivals started showing interest by curating special segments on Pakistani films. The filmmaking fraternity was upbeat that Pakistan would soon be able to tell its own story through movies.

The removal of the ban on Indian films in Pakistan also led to talent sharing and creative cooperation between the two countries. Pakistani actors became stars in India; almost every major Indian movie commissioned Pakistani musicians to sing for them (songs are a key element of films in South Asia).

And then fate delivered another lethal blow: India and Pakistan almost went to war in February after a suicide attack on Indian forces in Kashmir. An official ban was imposed on exhibiting Indians films in Pakistan. Three and a half months later, theaters in Pakistan are almost empty again and their owners are now considering laying off employees.

The arrival of online streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon is helping film industries in various other countries grow and attempt new storytelling formats — but they have hesitated from exploring Pakistan and commissioning projects from Pakistani filmmakers.

Riaz Haq said...

The streaming site has had success with three original productions: anthology film Lust Stories, horror miniseries Ghoul and most assertively advertised, Saif Ali Khan series Sacred Games. While none of them have managed to blow up internationally, all three have proved to be extremely promising. Sacred Games continues to be a hit with Indian viewers and Lust Stories has been seen in India more times than House of Cards in the US.

Pakistani Dramas
So what does this imply for our own entertainment industry? Quite a lot, if the stars align for us. In recent years, Pakistani dramas have taken off in a way that no one could have foreseen. With TV dramas like Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai becoming mega hits in Pakistan, India and the Middle East, and other shows doing well locally and on YouTube, the question isn’t whether Pakistani dramas can do well internationally but rather when we will get the opportunity to showcase our talents.

Another Pakistani hit, Daastan, a love story, featuring Fawad Khan and Sanam Baloch, stuck in the chaos of Indo-Pak partition, broke many hearts in the entire sub-continent. One does not have to look past the millions of views our shows enjoy on YouTube to ascertain that. Most recently, Khaani became the biggest Pakistani show, with its YouTube views exceeding 150 million.

The resurgence of interest in our local films should also prompt Netflix to invest into Pakistani entertainment portfolio, especially considering that unlike most of the world, our movie stars are essentially our TV stars, so there won’t be any sort of snobbery associated from them about working on TV shows. Netflix shows are marketed internationally and can provide a global platform for our stars.

Not to mention, studios here will have the option of selling their content to Netflix instead of Pakistani TV channels and movie distributors, bringing international revenue into the country. To Netflix’s credit, it isn’t like that they haven’t noticed all this untapped potential. The entertainment titan has attached Pakistani actor Zahid Ahmed to star in the first Pakistani original drama and hired actress Sana Fakhar to be part of another Netflix original.

Read more: Netflix criticized for banning anti-Saudi Arabia content

But as Ahmed recently stated to The News, the reason for the slow progress of the Pakistani Netflix show is the minimal subscription numbers in our country. According to the PTA, only 30% of all Pakistanis have access to broadband Internet. To foster growth, the company has signed a deal with PTCL and most recently, allowed Pakistani users to pay in Rupees, but these small steps and at Rs1500 per month, ultimately won’t do much to attract new customers.

Netflix in India is also facing similar problems where it only has mere 5 million subscribers and its two main competitors in the region Amazon (with $11 million subscribers value) and 20th Century Fox’s Hotstar ($150 million subscribers value) are faring much better. But Netflix plans to spend more than $8 billion on content in India alone, which ¬is likely to bring glad tidings across the border too. With Netflix slashing its prices to meet demands in different regions (like in India), the subscription in Pakistan could potentially grow.

Furthermore, the addition of Jazz’s Starz Play to Pakistan’s streaming service list of Iflix, Netflix and Amazon Prime, only encourages more competition, an environment where streaming emerges as the norm. Most likely, this will happen when TV Channels begin investing in exclusive streaming content, something that we haven’t heard of yet.

So it may be some time before we see Netflix produced Pakistani content but as the audience for Pakistani series continues to grow — in part due to the catalog of Pakistani Dramas available on Netflix —so will Netflix’s desire to produce Pakistani content.

Riaz Haq said...

Meet Pakistani cinema's stars of tomorrow
From Eman Suleman to Rehmat Ajmal and Parisheh James, here are some up and coming names

Last year, there were some definitive trends set for the entertainment industry in Pakistan. Where there was a surge in production, an influx of talent was witnessed. As the first quarter of the year comes to a close in a few weeks, Gulf News tabloid takes the occasion to look at some of the most dynamic new entrants in the fields of acting and modelling. They are young, educated and self-assured individuals who are game for challenges and have no care for stereotypes, just as the millennials are expected to be. No wonder they are the industry’s best bets for the new decade. In no particular order…

Eman Suleman, model & actor: Model turned actor Eman Suleman exudes an old-world charm and at the same time has the disposition of a progressive, 21st century feminist. Perhaps, that’s what attracted acclaimed Indo-Canadian filmmaker Mira Nair to her when she was casting for BBC 1’s period play, ‘A Suitable Boy’, based on Vikram Seth’s novel of the same name. Suleman had to opt out because the project required her to shoot in Agra, India. At her much-talked-about wedding recently, she made the most unconventional — albeit gorgeous — Pakistani bride, for she refused to be a passive participant in the proceedings, as is the common practice.

Ali Kureshi, model & actor: Ali Kureshi’s defined jawline and lean, muscular physique have top menswear brands in Pakistan beating a path to his door — at Hum Bridal Couture Week ‘19, he walked the ramp for 10 different couturiers. At 6’ 2’, Kureshi stands taller than most male models in the industry. Though, he wouldn’t claim credit for anything except his body transformation, having slogged his way up from being a chubbier version of himself in his mid-twenties, to a fitness and Yoga fanatic (he even calls himself a “Yogi”). Kureshi recently gave a shot at acting in writer-director Sarmad Khoosat’s hotly-anticipated feature,

Amar Khan, actor & screenwriter: It takes a young, pretty woman real guts to play the witch in her debut TV show. But Amar Khan is a bit of an anomaly. A film graduate from BNU, Lahore, Khan took up the eponymous ‘Belapur Ki Dayan’ (2018) most fearlessly, following it up with the period drama ‘Ghughi’, where she played a Hindu girl, and Dil-e-Gumshuda, as the antagonist. Her brilliant repertoire of work may be attributed to her training in theatre which had also led her to India where she attended masterclasses with film greats such as Shyam Benegal and Naseeruddin Shah. Her mother, Fareeha Jabeen, a noted TV actress, has been an influence too. This year, Khan will be seen in a movie, ‘Dum Mastam’, which is also scripted by her. Though, she studied to be a filmmaker, direction isn’t on the cards for now — “not in the next five or six years,” she says.

Momin Saqib, actor, activist & Instagram blogger: UK-based Momin Saqib, 26, admits to having “multiple personalities.” His much-loved “online family” (as he fondly addresses them in his Snapchat/Instagram stories) of nearly 200,000 followers looks up to him as their friend, philosopher and guide; while for some he’s a high-energy entertainer whose videos luckily broke the internet (remember the one where he’s ranting about Pakistani cricketers overindulging themselves ahead of a World Cup match that affected their performance?). The party circles of London see him as more of a socialite, while those who’ve attended his TED talks, perceive him as a motivational speaker. And if that’s not enough, people in the media are already rooting for his ability to act.

Mushk Kaleem, model: Smart and elegant, Mushk Kaleem is redefining standards of beauty in an industry obsessed with fair skin. Over the past two years since she began to model, she’s already been adjudged the Best Emerging Model at the LUX Style Awards and Rising Star at the Hum Style Awards. Make-up artists,..

Riaz Haq said...

13 years after 26/11, #India's #Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan wants better ties with #Pakistan: "No single act of terror must be given the power to destroy the interconnectedness of our stories, our plural solidarities" #Pakistan #Hindutva #Islamophobia

Mumbai had been attacked before, but not like this. This was a choreographed sequence of strikes, using hand-held weapons, by 10 terrorists who had come in by the sea. This time, Ground Zero was not a place, it was an arc. It was horror made for the age of the instantaneous spectacle, it foreshadowed the era where we define ourselves by our constant posts of image, text and video.


Thirteen years later, the question is, how do we pay the real tribute to the 166 people who died in the 26/11 attacks, in Mumbai, the one they truly deserve? How do we move out of the shadows of that paralysing moment? Are we, who survived in Mumbai and in India, free to tell new stories?

The reality is that 26/11 has had a long afterlife, and it has got entangled with the tumultuous history that still weighs down the Subcontinent. It is not yet clear that we have skirted all the traps it set for us. The danger was, and it still is, of letting ourselves be defined and deformed by fear, of making suspicion a habit, a guiding force for our institutions, and part of our political common sense.

For the last many years, I have been privileged to join The Indian Express and its community of readers in marking this day and each year, we celebrate the spirit of survival and understanding. Each year, I discover that the power of survival is linked to the power of humanity, of our collective commitment that we shall not let the terrorists define who we become.

This time, too.

True, 26/11 brought home the urgent need to shore up our policing systems and shake off the institutional lethargy that had set in on internal security. True, that we have to be lucky every day while the terrorist had to be lucky just once.

And yet, the danger is of letting the language and mantra of security spread and grow, till “we” are locked in constant and mortal combat with “them”, till accusation becomes more believable than proof, and only the spectres are clear and present, while everything else is looked upon as uncertain and subject to verification.

Riaz Haq said...

‘The Legend Of Maula Jatt’: #Pakistani Epic Sets Global Opening Weekend Record. Opening on over 500 screens in 25 markets, the action fantasy grossed PRK 51cr ($2.3M) globally, a new benchmark launch for a Pakistani title worldwide.#MaulaJatt via @Deadline

A reboot of the 1979 cult Punjabi classic, Maula Jat, Bilal Lashari’s The Legend of Maula Jatt is coming off of a record-breaking weekend for a Pakistan-made or Punjabi-language film. Opening on over 500 screens in 25 markets, the action fantasy grossed PRK 51cr ($2.3M) globally, a new benchmark launch for a Pakistani title worldwide. Check out the trailer below.

The movie (which The Guardian called Game of Thrones meets Gladiator) follows the titular Maula Jatt, a fierce prizefighter with a tortured past who seeks vengeance against his arch nemesis Noori Natt, the most feared warrior in the land of Punjab. Loyalties are challenged and families torn apart in an epic tale of truth, honor and justice. Fawad Khan (who appeared in Disney Plus series Ms Marvel), Mahira Khan, Hamza Ali Abassi and Humaima Malik star. Brian Adler (Avatar: The Way of Water, Avengers: Endgame) served as VFX supervisor.

From Encyclomedia and Lashari Films in association with AAA Motion Pictures, and overseas distributor Moviegoers Entertainment, this is said to be the largest-mounted Pakistan-made, Punjabi-language film to date.

In Pakistan, it took $517K, and in the UK picked up $355K from 79 locations. The latter is the highest opening weekend for any Pakistani or Punjabi film in the market where it entered at No. 9 on the chart.

In the U.S., The Legend of Maula Jatt grossed $290K and in Canada $235K, kicking off at No. 6. The UAE saw a No. 1 start with over $515K. In Australia, it opened at No. 6 with $160K. Other releasing markets included Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and South East Asia.

The filmmakers tell us demand has been extraordinary with exhibitors adding screenings throughout the weekend and into the week.

Lashari — who directed, co-wrote, lensed, edited and produced the movie — enthused, “I’m beyond overwhelmed by the love the film has received from audiences and critics alike the world over. We are so proud that The Legend of Maula Jatt has been instrumental in putting Pakistan-made cinema on the global map as it continues to win over hearts in theaters across the world.”

Producer Ammara Hikmat said, “The Legend of Maula Jatt has been our labor of love for a number of years. The pandemic came and returned but we knew we had to hold out for a theatrical release, as the film is undoubtedly a big screen experience… We’re so delighted that our film has broken previous records and set a new benchmark for Pakistan-made cinema, loved and lauded not only domestically but by audiences and critics globally.”