It is not every day that one gets to hear about a movie, not just jointly produced by India and Pakistan but also winning accolades across the border. But that’s where Hotal has managed to turn tables. The film – which stars Pakistani actor Meera in a lead role – has won the Best Film Award at the 3rd Dehli International Film Festival 2014. After a successful performance in India, the Khalid Hasan Khan directorial is now all set to hit theatres in Pakistan come April 1 – a week ahead of its original release.
According to critics, the film’s success has played a crucial role in bridging the gap between movie producers in India and Pakistan. A psychological-thriller, Hotal revolves around the inhuman practice of killing female infants in utero, which still exists in parts of India today. Shedding light on the storyline, Meera shared that the story follows a couple with conflicting interests: the woman wishes to give birth to a girl child while the man is bent upon taking the innocent baby girl’s life before she enters the world.
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The theme of Hotal sends a strong message to the audience – a desperate plea for every individual to play his/her role in eliminating the evil from society. “The story of the film is different and interesting, which is one of main reasons Hotal did so well in India,” explained Meera. “My role in this film is an important one and if the Indian audience can appreciate it, I sincerely hope that our movie-goers will do so too,” claimed Meera. “We must not set an opinion against actors without watching their performances, so I request film enthusiasts to make their way to cinemas on April 1 and then judge my acting accordingly.” The actor also went on to say that with Pakistan’s film industry undergoing a revival, the need to break into the market with new subjects is stronger than ever.
Meera’s father Sarwer Shah also shared his thoughts on the film. “Hotal is a beautiful glimpse of co-production. Khalid Hasan Khan has done a brilliant job with this venture and Meera’s acting is extraordinary,” he said. “There are a number of film-makers and directors in India and Pakistan who are genuinely interested in collaborating with each other and I suppose they are waiting for the release of Hotal in Pakistan to see how things turn out.”
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Meera is currently busy running advertising campaigns across Karachi to promote Hotal. The campaigns will be run across Lahore and Islamabad towards the end of the month. The casting of the movie includes Anees Raja, Nasreen Jaan, Tariq Jamal and Baila Naz amongst others.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2016.
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