Waar: Pakistan’s next blockbuster?

Published: April 26, 2011
The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY The shooting of Bilal Lashari’s first feature film Waar. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

2011 seems to be slated as the year of the rebirth of Pakistani cinema. With all the excitement about the imminent release of Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol, the industry is now abuzz with news of Bilal Lashari’s first feature-length venture Waar, which is currently in post production. The film has been produced by MindWorks Media and has been shot in collaboration with Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The film has been receiving a lot of attention due to rumours of a release by Warner Bros. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) slates the release date as June 1, 2011 and the estimated budget is reported to be a whopping $2,000,000 (Rs170, 000,000).

The director of the film, Bilal Lashari, is well known in the industry. A graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, USA, where he earned a BFA in Motion Pictures and Television in 2008, Lashari has already made a name for himself in directing music videos. He has worked with top artists  and bands like Abrarul Haq, Atif Aslam, Meekal Hassan Band, Jal and EP.

In 2008, Lashari won ‘Best Music Video Director’ at the Lux Style Awards and ‘Best Pop Video’ at the MTV Pakistan Music Video Awards for “Sajni”. He has also directed the popular video “Chal Bulleya” for Meekal Hassan Band.

Lashari also worked as assistant director for Shoaib Mansoor during the filming of Khuda Kay Liye.

Waar (to strike) is an action/thriller and drama film. It has been written by Hassan Waqas Rana and stars Pakistan’s actors, Shaan Shahid and Shamoon Abbasi. It is also said to star Sadia Hyat Khan, a new comer in the industry.

While it is thrilling to hear news of a Pakistani feature backed by a major studio, the subject matter fails to excite. The storyline has been inspired by the war on terror in Pakistan and its effects on the world, but with a stylised interpretation of it. It is something that cinema goers worldwide have been exposed to over and over again. One hopes that Rana has penned a script that finds a new and refreshing angle to explore war and terrorism.

The soundtrack of the film has been done by Qayaas, a Pakistani band. According to Khurram Waqar, the lead guitarist of Qayaas, “Inquilaab”, “Khayaal” and “Pal” are all part of the soundtrack. The presence of Qayaas in the film makes the project sound even more interesting.

This English-language film has been shot at various locations in and outside of Pakistan, from Lahore, to the beautiful hills of Islamabad and the breathtaking Swat Valley, where a major military operation was launched two years ago. Some parts of the film have also been shot in Istanbul, Turkey.

The film will first be screened at some major international film festivals and will then be released worldwide.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Abdullah
    Apr 27, 2011 - 12:43AM

    woah!!! looks like something BIG cookinRecommend

  • Sohail
    Apr 27, 2011 - 1:12AM

    Excited to hear abt the movie and might b a blessing for the shattered image of Pakistan around the globe, might act as a silverlining for the people of Pakistan and the nation…Recommend

  • Asad
    Apr 27, 2011 - 1:21AM

    English Feature Film….???? Gimmee a break !!! now how will That! bring the “Massess” into the Cinemas.. and revive Pakistani cinema.. u better think fast mr Lashari.. coz this may sink 170 Mn bucks, as this story suggest that ur upcoming baby will be a darling for International Film Festivals Only… and jst a fraction of society would see it if it is a full length English medium movie of 3 Hours and that too on Terrorism(again).. Ghosh!!!.. aren’t news channels enough for that???Recommend

  • Zaki Khalid
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:02AM

    Superb! Eagerly looking forward to watch this movie. Two things have really clicked me: 1) Bilal Lashari directing it and 2) A budget of $2 million which is almost unimaginable in our movie industry. Best wishes to the team of ‘Waar’ :DRecommend

  • Apr 27, 2011 - 2:57AM

    waiting for a patriotic movie based on our ISPR in Pakistan for long… countdown begins now!!!! Hell yeah! worth watchable movie… as Shaan looks quite different from a his usual style of Macho Man!Recommend

  • Apr 27, 2011 - 5:30AM

    I don’t think it will be ‘Pakistan’s blockbuster’ as the flick is being made to target western audiences and show them the effects of War on terror on Pakistan. Backed by ISPR, and distributed by Warner Bros, it will show our American masters the condition of the front line state and the ‘great job’ that Pak Army is doing ‘more’ for them. Which will eventually result in more fundings and loans to our country (from which half would go again into our Army’s budget).

    Sorry I went a little off-beat, here is the list of all Pakistani movies scheduled to release this year: http://bit.ly/lollywood2011

    I am personally looking forward to movies like KOLACHI, Love mein Gum , BOL and Freedom Sound.Recommend

  • Bushra Khan
    Apr 27, 2011 - 10:52AM

    Hope its gonna be a superb movie… Best wishes 4 its success from my side…Recommend

  • ishaq
    Apr 27, 2011 - 11:22AM

    Best of Luck for WAARRecommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Apr 27, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Goes into censorship. Censorship thinks it has content. Asks to remove content. Go bye, bye.

    I hope it gets released.Recommend

  • Apr 27, 2011 - 2:27PM

    @Saad Durrani:
    Don’t you know meaning of back by ISPR. :PRecommend

  • Apr 27, 2011 - 2:38PM

    It’s a great movie, have seen some of the clips! Shaan has been in the greatest of his looks.

    PS: It’s ethical to mention the credits for info/images.Recommend

  • SaudiRules
    Apr 27, 2011 - 2:41PM

    The film has been produced by MindWorks Media and has been shot in collaboration with Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

    That says it all! It will be block-buster for the cadets…please dont have illusion abt it being an international block buster. However, its good for the pakistani-amreekan to showcase his talent…best of wishes to him.Recommend

  • Aqsa
    Apr 27, 2011 - 5:13PM

    Its very silly to say that the story fails to impress before even the movie’s screening…!!!!!Recommend

  • Salman
    Apr 27, 2011 - 7:46PM

    If it has Shaan in it then its gonna suck. Recommend

  • IronyDetector
    Apr 27, 2011 - 8:45PM

    If you’re going to make another movie about the army, let’s make one that chronicles the history of abuse, overthrowing of governments, genocide in Bengal, never winning any war whatsoever, disaster in Kargil, sponsoring of terror groups, etc. Recommend

  • Hira
    Apr 28, 2011 - 7:26PM

    Hot Hunks ;) Recommend

  • Morbid Isolation
    Apr 29, 2011 - 12:49AM

    ISPR,Warner Bros. and Rs. 170 Million, does anybody smell the propaganda? Welcome to the art of war, literally! Blockbuster or not, it’s in English and it’s made to promote the war on terror. What do we get out of it? Well this movie will be an attempt to gain support for the war which shall continue in the foreseeable future. Hitler did this extensively, so does The States with movies like Hurt Locker etc. Well, at least the film industry has been given a life line even if it is for nefarious purposes. Art and War, what a wonderful oxymoron. Besides, haven’t we had enough of these apologetic war movies showing that we Pakistanis aren’t bad or what the news portrays us to be. Want to be appreciated in the world? Want to show that you are a normal nation? Make creative films touching genres of fiction,sci-fi,horror,comedy etc etc.Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 29, 2011 - 4:20AM

    If we ignore all the negative propaganda in the comments section, this film can do the following for us:

    Put a Pakistani director on global map (Warner Bros);

    Train many people to get skills at Hollywood level that
    will help the local industry in future

    If the film is successful internationally, it will
    encourage more investment in our film industry &
    the money earned is likely to be invested manifold

    If not successful, the film will serve as a brand & image
    boost and will put Pakistani directors/actors on International Cinema

    It is a win-win situation for Pakistan in any case!Recommend

  • Raqib Ali
    Apr 29, 2011 - 4:23AM

    And Pakistani musicians are likely to earn millions of
    dollars & fame!Recommend

  • Syed
    May 9, 2011 - 2:10PM

    Great…Its time to produce a film(Pak Made) which can change the perception and mindset of the West.
    The image of our War torn country fighting for her survival has been badly tarnished since many years after all ,we are also fighting against War on Terror and has lost a considerable number of civilian & military casualties.Why can’t the west understand our sacrifices instead of saying “DO MORE”or Harbouring terrorists etc
    The last Pak Made English movie, I recall was “Beyond The Last Mountain” directed intelligently by none other than Javed Jabbar.That was a milestone of pak Cinema. Hope this film can match the calibre and standard of the last one made in the mid seveties.
    Best of luck Mr Lashari..Hope it has some value and motivation for saving our integrity and self respect.Recommend

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