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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Good Morning Karachi: Depicting a young and vibrant Pakistan

With mostly first-time actors, Sumar’s film is a fresh and thought-provoking change. PHOTO: FILE
In a country marred with disillusionment, cinema that rejects the often magnified negative image of Pakistan is always welcome. Through her recent film Good Morning Karachi, Pakistani film-maker Sabiha Sumar does just that – she depicts the vibrant youth, who dare to diverge from societal norms and attempt to harmonise the forces of tradition and modernity in a resilient Pakistan.
Inspired by a novella titled Rafina, written by Shandana Minhas, Sumar adapted the story and placed it in the year 2010 in Karachi. The film is set at a time when the country was experiencing a political transition following the return of politician Benazir Bhutto, reports the Indian Express.
Primarily shot in Karachi’s Akhtar colony, which is mainly a lower middle-class suburb, the story revolves around a woman named Rafina (Aamna Ilyas). Determined and strong, she wants to establish herself as a model in the stigmatised Pakistani fashion industry. “This film is about the youth realising their dreams and it is a very real portrayal of the changes in Pakistani society at present. It’s a coming-of-age-story about the young men and women in the country,” said Sumar. While the female protagonist represents modernity, the other character Arif (Yasir Aqueel), aspires to make a visionary change through political action.
Good Morning Karachi premiered in India at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival. This is Sumar’s second feature film after Khamosh Pani (2003), which bagged a multitude of awards and also had a women-centric theme. “My stories tend to have a lot of women because I have worked with women writers. Moreover, being a woman, these are issues that I can relate to,” the film-maker proclaimed.
With greater funding avenues, Sumar feels that this is a good time for film-makers in Pakistan to produce work. “The country paid a price for putting down the arts. And now, we see the opening up of Pakistani cinema,” said Sumar.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2013.

Mathira To Make Her Bollywood Debut Soon

The ever-controversial Mathira Mohammad has signed up for film-maker Sunil Bohra’s comedy flick Akki Te Vikki Te Nikki, which will be her first acting venture in Bollywood. The yoga instructor-turned-VJ earlier featured in an item number titled Lakk Ch Current, from the Indian-Punjabi film Young Malang.
Mathira’s debut film will be directed by Vipin Sharma, the critically acclaimed actor, known for his character of a strict father in Taare Zameen Par. 
According to Absolute India, in which Mathira has been dubbed as the “Sunny Leone of Pakistan”, Bohra was “stunned” by Mathira’s talent. “Yes, Mathira is making her debut in our film. We go on the floors from November 3 and Mathira will be joining us on November 5,” he told the newspaper.
“A friend of mine from Dubai sent me her pictures and I was stunned. I showed the pictures to my director [Sharma], who suggested that we audition her,” he said. “She was super in the audition. We are excited to launch her,” he added.
Mathira, who was last seen in Bas Teri Hi Kami, an item song in feature film Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, is also very excited to have bagged a role in the film. “I am very excited to work with Vipin Sharma. I am doing a lead role in the film,” Mathira told The Express Tribune. “I will be joining them [the crew] in November,” she said.
She added that the shooting will be done in India but refrained from specifying any city.
We are surely waiting for a “pleasant surprise”, Mathira! Bring on the popcorn!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Oscars 2014: The complete list of foreign-language film submissions. YES Zinda Bhaag is THERE!

A record 76 movies will compete in the foreign-language film category at the 2014 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday. 
Moldova and Saudi Arabia are among the first-time entrants, and Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.
The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The submissions are:
Afghanistan, "Wajma – An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director
Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director
Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director
Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt, director
Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director
Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director
Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director
Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen, director
Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic, director
Brazil, "Neighboring Sounds," Kleber Mendonça Filho, director
Bulgaria, "The Color of the Chameleon," Emil Hristov, director
Cambodia, "The Missing Picture," Rithy Panh, director
Canada, "Gabrielle," Louise Archambault, director
Chad, "GriGris," Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director
Chile, "Gloria," Sebastián Lelio, director
China, "Back to 1942," Feng Xiaogang, director
Colombia, "La Playa DC," Juan Andrés Arango, director
Croatia, "Halima’s Path," Arsen Anton Ostojic, director
Czech Republic, "The Don Juans," Jiri Menzel, director
Denmark, "The Hunt," Thomas Vinterberg, director
Dominican Republic, "Quien Manda?" Ronni Castillo, director
Ecuador, "The Porcelain Horse," Javier Andrade, director
Egypt, "Winter of Discontent," Ibrahim El Batout, director
Estonia, "Free Range," Veiko Ounpuu, director
Finland, "Disciple," Ulrika Bengts, director
France, "Renoir," Gilles Bourdos, director
Georgia, "In Bloom," Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors
Germany, "Two Lives," Georg Maas, director
Greece, "Boy Eating the Bird’s Food," Ektoras Lygizos, director
Hong Kong, "The Grandmaster," Wong Kar-wai, director
Hungary, "The Notebook," Janos Szasz, director
Iceland, "Of Horses and Men," Benedikt Erlingsson, director
India, "The Good Road," Gyan Correa, director
Indonesia, "Sang Kiai," Rako Prijanto, director
Iran, "The Past," Asghar Farhadi, director
Israel, "Bethlehem," Yuval Adler, director
Italy, "The Great Beauty," Paolo Sorrentino, director
Japan, "The Great Passage," Ishii Yuya, director
Kazakhstan, "Shal," Yermek Tursunov, director
Latvia, "Mother, I Love You," Janis Nords, director
Lebanon, "Blind Intersections," Lara Saba, director
Lithuania, "Conversations on Serious Topics," Giedre Beinoriute, director
Luxembourg, "Blind Spot," Christophe Wagner, director
Mexico, "Heli," Amat Escalante, director
Moldova, "All God’s Children," Adrian Popovici, director
Montenegro, "Ace of Spades - Bad Destiny," Drasko Djurovic, director
Morocco, "Horses of God," Nabil Ayouch, director
Nepal, "Soongava: Dance of the Orchids," Subarna Thapa, director
Netherlands, "Borgman," Alex van Warmerdam, director
New Zealand, "White Lies," Dana Rotberg, director
Norway, "I Am Yours," Iram Haq, director
Pakistan, "Zinda Bhaag," Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors
Palestine, "Omar," Hany Abu-Assad, director
Peru, "The Cleaner," Adrian Saba, director
Philippines, "Transit," Hannah Espia, director
Poland, "Walesa. Man of Hope," Andrzej Wajda, director
Portugal, "Lines of Wellington," Valeria Sarmiento, director
Romania, "Child’s Pose," Calin Peter Netzer, director
Russia, "Stalingrad," Fedor Bondarchuk, director
Saudi Arabia, "Wadjda," Haifaa Mansour, director
Serbia, "Circles," Srdan Golubovic, director
Singapore, "Ilo Ilo," Anthony Chen, director
Slovak Republic, "My Dog Killer," Mira Fornay, director
Slovenia, "Class Enemy," Rok Bicek, director
South Africa, "Four Corners," Ian Gabriel, director
South Korea, "Juvenile Offender," Kang Yi-kwan, director
Spain, "15 Years Plus a Day," Gracia Querejeta, director
Sweden, "Eat Sleep Die," Gabriela Pichler, director
Switzerland, "More than Honey," Markus Imhoof, director
Taiwan, "Soul," Chung Mong-Hong, director
Thailand, "Countdown," Nattawut Poonpiriya, director
Turkey, "The Butterfly’s Dream," Yilmaz Erdogan, director
Ukraine, "Paradjanov," Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors
United Kingdom, "Metro Manila," Sean Ellis, director
Uruguay, "Anina," Alfredo Soderguit, director
Venezuela, "Breach in the Silence," Luis Alejandro Rodríguez and Andrés Eduardo Rodríguez, directors

Dear Waar critics, why so serious?

Depicting a ‘balanced’ narrative isn’t a mainstream film’s responsibility

It seems as if most of Pakistan’s esteemed film critics – some sharing their insights via illustrious publications, others generous enough to do so on social media – have never seen a Pakistani movie, a war movie or in some cases any movie, in their lives. While reading the reviews of Waar, one feels as if Bilal Lashari has filmed a remake of Gadar for the Pakistani cinema aficionados. But here one does not get to see Shaan uprooting hand pumps or driving a truck like Sebastian Vettel drives his Red Bull.


A typical critique of the movie goes somewhat like this: Waar is a propaganda movie. The actors have fake English accents. Pakistanis easily believe conspiracy theories so propaganda is dangerous, especially when it is coupled with fake accents. There is propaganda against India and RAW because the bad guys in the movie are Indians. The Pakistani military and police are showed as good guys because Pakistan Army has funded this propaganda movie. Both the good guys and bad guys in the propaganda film have equally fake accents. The end.

All of the above in impeccably woven words and picturesque expression, of course.

But hang on, the military of one country depicted as the good guys, and the intelligence agency of the rival country as the bad guys in an action thriller? Shocking.

Maybe our knowledgeable film critics have been spoilt by the barrage of cinematic masterstrokes that Lollywood churns out on an annual basis. However, for average Joes like me Waar was a ‘slightly’ better cinematic experience than the Gujjar, Jutt and Goonda flicks that have symbolised Pakistani cinema in recent decades. But the latter, of course, never ever tried to portray Indians as bad guys. Ever.

‘Beggars can’t be choosers’ is an aphorism that one can use for Pakistan in most realms. But we’re easily the most high maintenance beggars the world has ever seen.

Let’s get the obvious off the table first: Waar could have been better. The script could have had more continuity and originality and more focus on character development. Some of the actors could’ve done slightly better jobs and if the film had more realism and less clichés it would’ve been better for the overall product as well. Yup, Waar could definitely have been better.

But can anyone really disagree with the fact that how much better Waar already is from even the best that Pakistan cinema has had to offer, is prodigiously more than how much better it needed to be to earn the label of a genuinely world class film?

One fails to comprehend then, as to why the movie critics would prefer to dedicate 95 percent of their reviews (or tweets) deriding Waar for what they deemed were its criminal shortcomings, the most glaring of which was ‘propaganda’.

Castigating a war movie over propaganda is akin to criticising it for promoting violence or guns. Propaganda, like guns, is an integral tool of war. And while wars were fought when there weren’t any guns, not a single war has been fought in human history that was devoid of propaganda. This is precisely why the lion’s share of Hollywood, Bollywood or war films from any other neck of the woods, have skewed narratives. The same goes for a lot of political action-thrillers.

This year’s Olympus Has Fallen, that portrayed what looked like the ‘North Korean Taliban’ targeting the American president and taking over the White House all for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, did not get mauled by the US critics for its propaganda. And yes Waar is easily better than Olympus Has Fallen, a Hollywood movie that had a $70 million budget and starred Morgan Freeman.

Top Gun, The Fall of Berlin, Propaganda, Bon Voyage, Jud Süß and Border are some of the biggest films from their respective countries and were all propaganda movies. Three of the biggest Hollywood successes of last year Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty were all pretty blatant propaganda films.

Again, most war movies propagate propaganda, and show only one side of the picture. Even Clint Eastwood needed to make two different movies to depict the Battle of Iwo Jima showcasing American and Japanese viewpoints separately. And this is because highlighting a ‘balanced’ viewpoint in a war film renders its creation futile, and its constancy with the war genre, questionable.

A ‘neutral’ war film would almost always go down the ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ route, basically becoming an anti-war film.

And it wasn’t as if Waar pretends to unearth any ‘hidden truths’. It depicts what most Pakistanis already believe, what the official stance of the Pakistani government is and puts forward ‘our side of the story’ for the world – hence, the use of the English language in the film.

All those who entered the cinemas believing that India orchestrates terrorism in Pakistan would have left the cinema with the same belief, without any additional ammunition, and those who don’t buy that assertion obviously left the cinemas with their ‘sanity’ intact. However, in the intervening 130 minutes, what both groups of people got was the opportunity to witness some of the best cinematography, action sequences, background score, visual and sound effects in the history of Pakistan cinema to go with the overall entertainment. And entertainment is precisely what the movie had promised and not the depiction of ‘truth’ – probably because it is a mainstream movie and not a documentary.

A question for all those apprehensive about the propaganda in the movie: how many people commenting on Waar in various forums are expressing their gratitude for the film for ‘enlightening them’ about the War on Terror? And how many sound overwhelmed by the cinematic experience conjured by a Pakistani movie? Seemingly, the only people actually affected by Waar’s propaganda are the movie critics clamouring about the aftereffects of the propaganda.


Granted, biased narratives need to be replaced by balanced ones, but that is not the responsibility of a mainstream movie. It’s the duty of people in the media and the publications criticising Waar for being too pro-establishment when they have spent decades flying the flags of the military in dictatorial regimes. And who still can’t publish honest pieces about the Pakistan military’s role in the War on Terror, fearing a call from the you know who.

And yet they somehow expected Waar to do that on their behalf.

If you’re hell bent on solely focusing on the narrative presented in the movie, then how about a thumbs up for depicting the Taliban and tribal warlords as terrorists? And how about one for portraying madrassas, where Islam is preached and the Quran is taught, as their sanctuaries? Yes, it might have been too obvious an account for the esteemed critics, but one can’t undermine the importance of putting an anti-Taliban narrative in the mainstream. But while the anti-India propaganda was highlighted in all film critiques, the anti-Taliban ‘propaganda’ was ignored, probably because it goes with the personal viewpoints of the critics.

When you’re critiquing a movie, you’re not supposed to judge it in accordance with your own viewpoint, no matter how well qualified it might be. I might be as patriotic as a cactus plant, and Waar might have instilled as much Pakistani nationalism as Captain America generated American nationalism with me, but I can’t deny that Waar would strike a chord with the Pakistani nationalist.

Waar vied to propagate nationalism and patriotism, which in itself is an inherent part of propaganda. Please don’t put the burden of righting the wrongs of our founding fathers, our government or the military on the young shoulders of Bilal Lashari. All he was supposed to do was make a good film. And he ended up making what without a shadow of a doubt is a landmark for Pakistani cinema.

Anyone disagreeing with that is either incredibly prejudiced or suspiciously fond of watching heroines obliterate farmlands with their heavyweight dancing.

WAAR ~ International Release "update"

The Producer of Waar has confirmed on ARY News....Waar is due to release internationally in over 20 countries.
The distributor has been confirmed, although they are yet to be announced. Currently they are working on the censorship of the movie abroad.

ARY have also reported that it has collected 14 Crore (140 Million) Net profits after Tax in just 14days. That's Incredible! Keeping in mind that it has released on just over 50 screens. One screen might show it about 4 times a day. That averages a per show collection of around 40 - 50, 000 PKR. Occupancy must be incredible to even get close to that.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Exclusive Waar (2013) Cam Rip Scene Clip#1

Waar (2013) Cam Rip Scene Clip#1

Release By KING MNA Crystal Release Group

Ram Gopal Varma praises Pakistani movie 'Waar'

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma recently praised Pakistani movie " Waar", but confessed that he saw it on pirated DVD. 

"For those asking how I got to see 'Waar', I must confess and apologize that I saw pirated (DVD) as I was unable to resist after hearing about it from many here," Varma tweeted Sunday.

 "Waar" is directed by Bilal Lashari and RGV has requested him to send the copy of the movie to all Indian filmmakers. 

"Director Bilal Lashari should do a favour and send copies of his film 'Waar' to all us Indian film makers," he tweeted.

30 October 2013 (Showbiz news from Today's NewsPaper)

Showbiz news from
Today's NewsPaper

30 October 2013