KARACHI: The prequel to the famous X-Men series, X-Men: First Class premiered at the Atrium cinema on June 9. The film was released internationally last week and hit cinemas in Pakistan this weekend. Several renowned celebrities made stylish appearances at the red carpet event and appreciated the thematic ambience created by the event organisers, Mandviwalla Entertainment. People took avid notice of organizers dressed up as X-Men characters, who were roaming in the cinema lobby. Smoke machines, apt posters and a vibrant atmosphere seemed to gear its audience for a seemingly flawless event ahead. “The setup is great and I am looking forward to the rest of the night” said Zoya, an art critic.
Much to the dismay of the audience, the event was a disappointment. The screening was plagued by constant technical difficulties. The film started almost an hour and a half after its scheduled time for a crowd of over a 100 guests.
“Let’s go home,” blurted Pakistani actor Marina Khan, getting angry over the prolonged delay. Others also displayed a similar lack of patience.
“We are having technical difficulties, and as soon as we have a fix for them the doors will be open” said Nadeem Mandviwalla, the managing director of Mandviwalla Entertainment in Pakistan, in an effort to placate agitated guests.
Repeated chants of “let’s go to Cineplex” slowly faded as the doors of the cinema finally opened for the screening. Since seating was on a first come first serve basis, there was certainly no shortage of pushing, shoving and yelling as the tired guests struggled to settle in their preferred seats.
But as soon as that bedlam was over and people were finally seated, there was a unanimous sigh of relief. “The trouble is finally over,” yelled a teenage boy, seated in the seventh row.
However, as the cinema projector appeared out of focus subsequently, the same boy shouted in agitation, “Well, I might have been wrong.”
The audience broke into a round of reluctant, half-hearted applause as the movie finally started. And the only thing that compensated for the highly disorganised event was the awesome movie. X-Men: First Class gives a background of all the previous X-men movies and the action-packed movie gave a real adrenaline rush. The film focused on the very early lives of Professor Xavier, Magneto, Mystique and Beast, highlighting clashes of egos and opinions amongst these characters. With huge seating space and a proper sound system, the premiere actually was in fact worth a wait in the end. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn, stars James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto. Some of the other cast members consist of Kevin Bacon, January Jones, Rose Byrne and Zoe Kravitz.
Celebrities like Sania Saeed, Shabir Jaan, Humayun Saeed, Tapu Javeri and Adnan Siddiqui to name a few showed up at the premiere and left the auditorium around 3 am, looking partly pleased for the film and partly pissed for the delay on a Thursday night.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2011.