Feature | High-Concept Stories, Adaptions and Branding: The Industry’s New State of Depression

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Kamran Jawaid  |  This is the unedited original copy of the feature published in DAWN’s ICON with the title “Cinema Without Ideas” on the 21st of May 2017. The Dawn copy can be read here and its print copy is attached at the end of the post.


Pakistani cinema is in a state of rut. We push, we pull, we skid-forward a centimeter, if not an inch. We have cinema screens and motion pictures, and we have a working model where films “perceived” to be high-concept – that is, films that give you the best bang for your buck – vie for the most financially lucrative release dates: the two Eids. And yet despite the formula, good motion pictures are as rare as a big-foot sighting.

Like wrongly spotting the abominable beast (often just a bear, or an unshaved hobo living in the forest), the realization of a fake-hurrah at a films premiere gets embarrassing – fast. One sighs, and moves on.

Pakistani Filmmakers share that same awkwardness. They humbly apologize for their blunders, admitting their amateurism and lack of insight right after their film’s first show. Their initial rush of enthusiasm, instantly gunned-down by bad reviews and the audience’s indifference. Forget a five-star rating – at that day, three-stars would do.

Or would it?

The only recurring theme in Pakistani Cinema– other than the superfluity of brands and mediocre plots – is a producer’s state of depression. Today, even blockbusters lose money – and with rare exception, barely breakeven.

Talking to Icon, four filmmakers – Jamshed Mehmood (Jami), Asim Raza, Hassan Waqas Rana, and Hassan Azhar. Each representing an idiosyncratic mindset, discuss cinema’s “new lacks”: the lack of good writers, source materials, big ideas – all while holding on to one’s own identity in the current state of the industry.

Continue reading “Feature | High-Concept Stories, Adaptions and Branding: The Industry’s New State of Depression”

Review | Chalay Thay Saath – But To Where, and Why?!


Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the feature published in DAWN’s ICON on 30th April 2017, which can be read here with jpegs of the print copy at the end


“What would make my film different. How would it stand out from the rest of the pack?!” asks a worried little voice inside a filmmaker’s head. The most obvious answer, and logically also the most effective one, is to use a “Cold Open” as the very first scene of the film.

Cold opens are a devious storytelling tool: they often use a dramatic scene from the middle or end of the film, and if need be, explain its relevance through a narrator.

Right now, these openings are notoriously popular with Pakistani filmmakers. Take for example the one in WAAR, which introduces Shaan Shahid’s gung-ho character in a good-cop bad-cop scene (there was no good cop in that room, by the way). Or the one in Jawani Phir Nahin Aani where a pre-intermission suicide scene is used as a ploy to heighten the film’s tension. Or the one in Bachana, Wrong No. and Dance Kahani.

The list is finite, but only because we have a limited number of motion pictures to count off.

Continue reading “Review | Chalay Thay Saath – But To Where, and Why?!”

DAWN ICON | The Chinese Connection

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Kamran Jawaid  |  The post is the unedited copy of the feature published in DAWN’s ICON on 16th April 2017, which can be read here with jpegs of the print copy at the end.


Studio logos that appear in movie titles may feel rudimentary, but they tell a story of their own. Take, for example, The Great Wall – a monster-movie starring Matt Damon set in the past when the world had yet to discover gun-powder.

Before the first frame fades-in we see four logos: Le Vision, Legendary East, Atlas Entertainment and the China Film Group. Three out of these four film companies are Chinese – and their partnership makes The Great Wall one of the most evident, big budget Hollywood-China co-productions in the last few years.

Continue reading “DAWN ICON | The Chinese Connection”

Dawn | The Life and Times of Video…for It Lived Well, till It Died

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By Kamran Jawaid  |  The feature was published in Dawn’s Karachi Notebook in the Metropolitan section, on 11th December 2016. That copy be read here.


Back in the 80’s, which is vaguely vivid in memory, one used to undergo a gush of adrenaline-rush when going out to rent movies.

These were simpler times, when people weren’t in a constant state of media overkill and movies still had a measure of fanciful allure to them – despite the level of intellectual and aesthetic merit.

Continue reading “Dawn | The Life and Times of Video…for It Lived Well, till It Died”

Oscar Predictions 2016 – Images on Sunday, Dawn Newspaper

This post is the unedited copy of our Predictions of the 88th Oscars for Dawn/Images on Sunday, published 28th February 2016. Link to Dawn is here and below.

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Who May Win the 88th Oscars Tomorrow

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

Before the righteous, controversial and ill-timed #OscarsSoWhite hashtag rears its head at the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow and wrecks the mood of Oscar ceremony, Images takes its annual look at who may win – and more importantly, just why they may win – in which category.

Continue reading “Oscar Predictions 2016 – Images on Sunday, Dawn Newspaper”

Review: Hercules by Kamran Jawaid

This is the edited copy of the review. A version of this review was published at Dawn.com

Son of Zeus? Maybe, Maybe Not

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

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In the years’ second – and far better – reiteration of the Greek hero Hercules, the action (as clearly defined in the trailer) takes as much precedence as the fact that this hero’s fantastic tales may just be a prolonged advertisement campaign in a world where gods and monsters do not exist. Continue reading “Review: Hercules by Kamran Jawaid”

Oscar Predictions 2014–The 86th Annual Academy Awards

This post is the unedited copy of the feature article published in Images on Sunday, on the 3rd of February 2014. The originals copy is linked and attached below.

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The Oscar’s, Come Tomorrow

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid and Farheen Jawaid

Every year, right about this time, we ask ourselves the annual, perennial, question: So, who do you think will win at the Oscars? Continue reading “Oscar Predictions 2014–The 86th Annual Academy Awards”

Downward Dog: Teaser Review by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the feature published at Dawn.com on 16th of August 2013.

Entertainment Page Blurb: An early trailer review and conversation with Jami on his upcoming movie Downward Dog, gives insight on a risky venture.

Downward Dog: Teaser Review & Catch Up with Jami

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Building with a constant thump of a beating heart, the teaser for Jami’s second venture Downward Dog, due out in 2014, is an awkward fix. Continue reading “Downward Dog: Teaser Review by Kamran Jawaid”

Movie Review: Chennai Express by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published at Dawn.com on 14th of August 2014.

Entertainment Page Blurb: This is Shah Rukh Khan’s Rahul – who we have seen before (sort of).

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Movie Review: Chennai Express

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

“Myself Rahul”, says Shah Rukh Khan’s character in Chennai Express – and obviously, we have heard the name before. Continue reading “Movie Review: Chennai Express by Kamran Jawaid”

Movie Review: Josh (Against the Grain) by Farheen Jawaid for Images On Sunday

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Images on Sunday, 9th of August 2013.

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Trouble in Khuda Ki Basti

By Farheen Jawaid

A real life story told in film, Josh is about a young woman’s struggle to end oppression in a place called “Khuda Ki Basti”.

Continue reading “Movie Review: Josh (Against the Grain) by Farheen Jawaid for Images On Sunday”