About two months ago, news of Quetta gearing up for its first multiplex, the Weplex Pak Force Cinema, was rife among cinema-goers in the city. The official launch was said to be scheduled for March 4. However, after multiple delays — the project that is the brainchild of film distributor Jahanzaib Khan — will finally open doors to the public on May 6. And, the first film it will screen shall be Ashir Azeem’s Maalik.
“If everything goes according to plan, the facility will become functional from May 6 and we will start by screening the film Maalik,” Khan told The Express Tribune. This is, however, a soft opening. The multiplex will serve as a single-screen cinema for its first few weeks, until work on the other halls is completed. “The 3D cinema [Weplex’s largest hall] will be the first to begin screening movies whereas work on the Gold cinema — which is more of a luxury cinema — is still underway. It will hopefully be nearing completion in the next few weeks,” explained Khan.
Mega Multiplex opens its doors in Millenium Mall
Khan had earlier spoken about how he was approached by notable film-makers such as Jami and Nabeel Qureshi, who had requested that their films Moor and Na Maloom Afraad be the first ones screened at the cinema. However, despite their requests, Khan has decided to go ahead with the recently released Maalik. On the contrary, Azeem said his team has yet to be approached by Weplex’s management for his film’s Digital Cinema Package (DCP). But regardless, he is glad that a state-of-the-art cinema has finally opened in Quetta. “Since Quetta is my hometown, it is even more special for me because people in the city have been denied digital cinema for too long. However, Maalik recently also had the honour of being the first film to be projected in a newly-launched cinema in Sargodha as well,” shared the film-maker.
Azeem went on to lament the state of the film industry in both Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, noting how the lack of digital cinemas was denying potential audiences from good quality entertainment. “I keep getting messages from countless people and they tell me how they have to make six to 10 hour journeys just to be able to watch movies. Hopefully things can start improving with the inception of the Weplex in Quetta,” he proclaimed. Azeem believes that not only is the new cinema a great initiative for the city in terms of commerce but will also inspire a new generation of artistes. “In order to inspire artistes, you need to expose them to different mediums of art and initiatives such as Weplex Cinema will help encourage younger film-makers to pursue this craft,” he added.
Khan defended his decision to build a cinema valued at approximately Rs100 million in the city where security issues are such a major concern, claiming that there is more potential in Quetta than people think. “People consider the city to be a backward, mountaineous region. The truth is that life here has been moving on. Even the security situation has been showing gradual signs of improvement.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2016.
Like Life & Style on Facebook, follow @ETLifeandStyle on Twitter for the latest in fashion, gossip and entertainment.