Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor proves Pakistan’s animated films can be as good as Disney’s or Pixar’s
The Pakistani industry is in full flourish, evidence of which can be gathered by the hype created after the trailer release of our newest animated feature, Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor. From the quality of animation and the quirky characters offered in this preview, this Urdu language animated film has all the ingredients to match the standards set by Disney and Pixar.
The story revolves around a young boy, Allahyar, who lives in the northern areas of Pakistan. The spirited Allahyar’s life suddenly takes a turn and becomes adventurous as he tries to save his dearest ones from imminent danger. With the help of his animal friends, including a markhor (screw horn goat), Allahyar challenges an evil hunter and tries to protect his friends.
The two or so minutes spent watching the trailer are enough to enthral the audience and make them curious to find out more about Allahyar’s adventures. Director Uzair Zaheer Khan’s latest venture presents a heart-warming story with an eye-catching structural design that is sure to enrapture millions of hearts. The comic scenes seem well-timed, the actions sequences seem thrilling, and the visuals of a northern Pakistan are captivating enough to invoke a sense of national pride.
Produced by 3rd World Studios, the film’s cast includes musician Ali Noor (yes, from Noori) as Mani, the hunter and the antagonist, while the talented newcomer, Anum Zaidi, stars as Allahyar. Azfar Jafri, Natasha Humera Ejaz and Hareem Farooq are also part of the voiceover cast.
What has undoubtedly added to the hype is the release of the song Muskarai Ja, with soft folk music and vocals by the melodious Natasha Humera Ejaz. The song is a remake of pop singer Zohaib Hassan’s song of the same name from 1982, and has definitely added some nostalgia to this exciting mix. The music video for the song is also really cute as it shows birds dancing while Allahyar’s furry friends try to cheer him up.
Every animated feature needs a profound message packaged under an exciting story, and this film seems to be following a similar path. What is more interesting is that any hidden social commentary in the film will inevitably be more appealing and relatable for Pakistani children, who don’t usually get to see themselves reflected on the animated screen. Having all of it spoken in Urdu is an added bonus, as it ensures that the film is not restricted to the elite and can be enjoyed by masses all over the country.
Depicting Pakistan’s beautiful mountainous regions and wildlife, especially the markhor, which is not only our national animal but also an endangered species, adds to the patriotic feel one can expect from the film. All in all, the concept is unique and expectations are justifiably high that this feature will mesmerise cinemagoers. One can only hope that the story will be as engrossing as the graphics are, and will leave everyone feeling proud of how far the Pakistani film industry has come in a few years.
Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor will release in theatres on February 2, 2018, and if you belong to the cult that loved animated movies such as Inside Out, Finding Nemo and Frozen, then this film is most definitely a must-watch for you!
All photos: Screenshots