Feature | The Big Screen Crunch – Yalghaar and Mehrunisa V Lub U vs. Everyone Else

The Big Screen Crunch


Kamran Jawaid  |  This is the unedited original copy of the feature published in Mag the Weekly with the title on the 17th of June 2017 and can be read here. The print copy is attached at the end of the post.


To re-purpose Charles Dicken’s opening line from A Tale of Two Cities: “It is the best of Eid; it is the meekest of Eid. It is the Eid of predictability; it is the Eid of challenges”.

This Eid-ul-Fitr seems to be unremarkable for cinema, with one or two exceptions. Yalghaar and Mehrunisa V Lub U are front runners in a cramped release schedule of primarily Hollywood releases – Transformer: The Last Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Despicable Me 3 and carry over titles The Mummy – and maybe – Wonder Woman.

Some of these titles are already hampered by Ramazan where audience turn out is generally very low. The other cause are international release dates that happen during or at Eid and piracy.

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

Feature-IndustrysStateDepression


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.

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Interview: Hassan Waqas Rana by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published in Mag the Weekly, on 18th of June 2016.

HassanWaqasRana-MAG

Hassan Waqas Rana – An Insight On the Man & Big Budget Cinema of Pakistan

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

A few years ago when WAAR came, I was one of the most vocal of its critics. So impassioned was my review (with due reason, of course), that the director himself voiced his opinion in the comments. One of my strongest arguments were the problems with the screenplay. Now years later, when I had an opportunity to have a long detailed conversation with WAAR’s producer Hassan Waqas Rana, he himself admits that the screenplay was at fault; he was, as he points out, a first time screenwriter. Although we talked about WAAR is detail, most of my conversation was about Mr. Rana’s next big – evidently far more extravagant – venture Yalghaar, set to come out this year.

Talking about WAAR, Mr. Rana says that “I didn’t write Dr. Zhivago”, later adding that critics should understand what they are writing about. “It had the philosophical context of a bloody axe”, he adds to the genre of his first film.

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