Four months on, 2016’s first Punjabi flick has finally made it to the screens. The premiere of Muhammad Tariq’s Mahi Way was held at Lahore’s Metropole Cinema, with cast and crew and notables of the film industry in attendance.
Featuring an ensemble cast of newcomers such as Taimoor, Fareha, Ameer Ali, Shabana Chaudhary and Azhar Rangeela, Mahi Way has been penned by Iqbal Ahmed. Shot across a number of different villages and old havelis in Punjab, the film sheds light on issues that are pertinent to rural life, such as feudalism. The plot revolves around how a young couple falls in love and together faces the enmity of local landlords. Singer Farah Laal has lent her voice to all the songs on the film’s soundtrack.
The last five years saw the release of very few Punjabi films, such as Sami Rawal, Sohna Gujjar, Razia Phans Gai Gundoun Main, Gujjar Pury Dinna Da and Lahoriya tay Pashoriya. Most of these releases failed to impress at the box office, owing to poorly written scripts, clichéd stories and repetitive content.
However, Mahi Way is expected to be a breath of fresh air in terms of production, music and plot. During the media conference held prior to the premiere, Tariq maintained that, despite being off beat, the film is very much an entertainer and also carries a social message. The director who has also produced the film, said there was a time when Punjabi movies were quite popular but no films have been made as of recent that can match up to the level of the classics. It is important to portray Punjabi rural life in its true colours for the audience to be able to relate to it, to learn of the difficulties that locals live through day by day, he said. “Times may have changed due to technology and modern lifestyle, but life in thousands of villages across the country still remains the same; those peoples are still living in the traditional way,” he said. “Through this film, I’ve tried to highlight many issues and also exposed the government and the lack of efforts made for the development of villages.”
Tariq added that it is sad that across the border the production quality of Punjabi movies has upped over the years and their industry is doing really well as compared to ours. “Mahi Way is a mega-budget project and the best available technology was used during its production. It will mark Taimoor and Fareeha’s debut in the film industry, and they did a wonderful job. I am hopeful that people will remember this film for years to come.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2016.
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