Dukhtar, 021 and Na Maloom Afraad keep the filmi wheels rolling while Pakistan continues to make a mark in technical excellence at the Emmys and Oscars.
With Pakistani cinema pulling up its socks and releasing ten films last year (2013), including Pakistan’s biggest all-time blockbuster Waar, 2014 was expected to be highly promising in terms of film production. However, this year saw a total of six releases with the first half of 2014 being a complete no-show.
Nevertheless, even with a handful of film releases, 2014 brought with it a respectable list of cinematic achievements that revived Pakistani cinema’s potential across the global map, making us hold our heads up high with pride. One such moment was the world premiere of Dukhtar at the renowned Toronto International Film Festival.
The film received many an accolade for its hard-hitting, emotional subject matter and gripping cinematography. Apart from winning two awards, Best Director and Audience Award for Best Feature, at the 11th South Asian International Film Festival, Dukhtar was also Pakistan’s second official entry for the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film. It did not, however, make the final cut.
Debutante director Nabeel Qureshi’s Na Maloom Afraad turned out be one of the highest grossing comedies in recent years and launched two new faces in Pakistani cinema. Its item number ‘Billi’ has to go down in history as the industry’s most popular and well-received item song, with Mehwish Hayat bringing some sexy back with her moves. Shaan’s much-hyped O21, which marked his 576th film in the industry, turned out be a disaster at the box office but still deserves due credit for being the first Pakistani film to be mixed on Dolby Atmos and have a 1 hour 56 minutes long background score.
Talking of awards and recognition, Pakistani filmmaker Habiba Nosheen, along with her associate Hilke Schelmann, won an Emmy Award for her documentary Outlawed in Pakistan – a third win at the Emmys for Pakistan after Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy bagged a handful back in 2013 and one in 2010.
FAST Alumnus Mir Zafar Ali, who seems to have become an Academy’s favourite, won his third Oscar for Best Visual Effects Artist for the extremely popular Disney venture, Frozen. A few months later, another FAST graduate Novaira Masood became the talk of the town for her contribution to Angelina Jolie’s film Maleficent.
This is also the year that Pakistan gave Bollywood a treat in the form of Fawad Khan, whose debut film Khoobsurat broke box office records in Pakistan and won thousands of hearts across the border. With cover shoots for Filmfare and GQ and a couple of Best Debut Awards already under his belt, the heartthrob is all set to take on Bollywood like no Pakistani ever has.
Soon to follow in his footsteps will be his former co-star Mahira Khan, who has signed perhaps one of the biggest deals in Bollywood and stirred up quite a storm in the celeb world – a lead role opposite SRK in Raees!
Finally on the commercial front, Pakistan witnessed the launch of its first-ever IMAX theatre in Lahore. With its state-of-the-art 3D visuals, it is at par with IMAX theatres abroad and despite the high ticket costs, movie buffs are flocking to it to experience its amazing effects.