The Pakistani film industry has a history of churning out films that run on the plea to “support Pakistani cinema”. Little do most filmmakers realise that a film only performs if it has the merit and content to win the hearts of its audience. After the pandemic, it was a serious concern for filmmakers to bring audiences back to cinemas, so films that were produced and ready to release during the pandemic were immediately released, ofcourse with the faith that this would help the cinema industry of Pakistan stabilise and get back on its feet.
As the year 2022 has come to an end, here is a list of Pakistani films that were released last year and what made them good, bad and ugly releases to hit our cinemas.
Mohib Mirza’s action-comedy Ishrat Made in China (IMIC) claimed to being the most authentic Pakistani content with a high dose of laughter, but unfortunately the film did not live up to its claim. IMIC with its premise around donkey-racing, would have been a great film if it had skits from Mohib Mirza’s most remembered sitcom Ishrat Baaji but all it offered was a potpourri of Akshay Kumar’s Chandni Chowk to China and Singh is King, along with other mediocre Bollywood movies. IMIC offered nothing of substance to its audience and was just about as entertaining as Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan and Sajid Khan’s Humshakals.
Wajahat Rauf’s Parde Mein Rehne Do (PMRD) released with a buzz that the film revolves around a serious issue. It is the story of a married couple trying to have a baby and to certain extent it highlighted of the predicament of a childless marriage and its repercussion on a couple’s relationship, but the treatment and the characters were a little off and the intensity lacked overall. Performance and script wise the PMRD faltered and falls under easily forgetful films.
Dum Mastam marked the debut of one of the most loved and appreciated Pakistani drama actors Imran Ashraf. Ehteshamuddin’s second movie after Superstar was weak on many levels. The script of Dum Mastam (DM), an Eid offering, was a total disappointment. The film, a take on unrequitted love, and its damaging consequences was loaded with intense and loud performances that failed to impress the audience at large. The only good thing that DM, starring Imran Ashraf and Amar Khan, offered was decent music but then again the music failed to have a strong recall. Unfortunately, DM was not as impressive and memorable as it could have been despite having a very dependable actor and an ace director of the recent times.
Yasir Nawaz’s murder-mystery Chakkar claimed to be one of the most nail-biting thrillers to be witnessed by Pakistani cine-goers, but sadly the film was not only highly predictable, but also very sloppily made. Chakkar can easily be summed as a thriller where the element of surprise is nowhere to be found. The premise of the film was good but the editing, execution and poor performances made it unbearable for many viewers. Characters with zero depth and no buildups made the storytelling ineffective and lame. The only positive aspect of Chakkar was watching Yasir Nawaz, as actor.
Ghabrana Nahi Hai directed by Saqib Khan and produced by Jamil Baig and Hassan Zia was one of the most entertaining films released in 2022. The film has more than many aspects to be appreciated. Dialogues and performances were topnotch. The wit and detailing of every character was well-thought out and all the scenes were well-executed. Saba Qamar effortlessly showcased how amazing she is as an actor. Zahid Ahmed depicted a perfect action hero and Syed Jibran impressed his audience with his performance. Ghabrana Nahi Hai was an entertaining money-heist film, a perfect Eid release and audience enjoyed every bit of that. A must watch Pakistani film that did remarkably well at the box office.
Sarmad Khoosat’s Kamli garnered a lot of critical acclaim. The story of a married woman struggling to find her independence and love, another married woman who has lost her way, and a staunch guardian of sanity and piousness. Aesthetically, Kamli stood out and performances by Sania Saeed and Saba Qamar were appreciated by everyone who watched the film. Kamli was not for masses, the film had its audience and those who watch content driven, classy and thought-provoking cinema enjoyed it. The film received mixed reviews because for many it was quite a dragged affair that made them yawn during many scenes. As an artistic attempt to make audience understand the potential of Pakistani filmmakers and actors, Kamli did a fabulous job.
Horror comedy is a genre that recently received a lot of attention in Pakistan. Peechay Tou Dekho was a good effort with a few misses. The saving grace of the film was its writing and the main leads. Yasir Hussain and Aadi both complemented each other. Peechay Tou Dekho was an earnest effort by Syed Atif Ali but the film had some shortcomings which made it suffer at the box office.
It will not be wrong to say that the kind of business The Legend of Maula Jatt (TLOMJ) did at the box office is exemplary and astounding at every level. From masses to classes, everyone loved TLOMJ. The film enjoyed the grandest opening. The stellar star cast and promotions brought audience to the theaters. TLOMJ not only had a great cast but the way the film was executed, shot and produced made it one of the best Pakistani films undoubtedly. Bilal Lashari left no stone unturned and mastered the art of filmmaking. Ammara Hikmat, as the producer, made sure that the film will be remembered for its production quality. Every actor tried their best to live up to their characters. Fawad Khan and Hamza Ali Abbasi were praised by movie lovers wherever the film was screened. The Legend of Maula Jatt is the most grossing films to come out of Pakistan. It’s a well-made film that was watched by audience multiple times. The film offers a recall value that most Pakistani films fail to deliver.
It’s about time we change the formula that worked wonders for Nadeem Baig, Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar and Humayun Saeed. London Nahi Jaunga might have done well at the box office but the film lacked on many grounds. The predictability, repetitive narrative and mirror reflection characters made London Nahi Jaunga a dull movie. The film had its pluses but they were not strong enough to bring audience back to the cinema, the way Punjab Nahi Jaungi did. Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar’s redundant characters and dialogues lost their charm. The hasty execution, forceful romance and weak characters made London Nahi Jaunga one of the weakest by the team.
Quaid-e-Azan Zindabad gathered a lot of hype before pandemic but the film released much late. Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad was one of those mass-entertaining films where filmmakers not only keep challenging the laws of physics but sensibility as well. From the premise to the characters and from dialogues to stunts, the film was an apt example of superfluous and unrealistic cinema. The only aim of the film was to entertain its viewers without making them think. Many action scenes from the movie brought Rohit Shetty’s style of action movies to mind. The VFX was another letdown though. Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad was a delight for kids, if that defines the genre of the movie.
Another entertaining film that made quite a buzz in 2022 was Tich Button. The film was largely appreciated by the audience. Tich Button offered good music, laughter in abundance, promising performances and good ‘time-pass’ to its viewers. The film was beautifully shot, the framing was good, and the audience enjoyed the fresh cast on silver screen. Besides a few loud scenes and humour that does not ideally define class, the film managed to did well at the box office because of the high dose of drama, intense performances and a well-written script by Faiza Iftikhar. Farhan Saeed and Iman Ali along with Sohail Ahmed were the highlights of the film.
One of the most controversial films to release in 2022 was Joyland. Besides all the controversies, the film managed to receive a good response. Audience went to cinemas to watch the film and appreciated the effort. Joyland received mixed response, there are movie buffs that watched the movie and loved it and there are also those who did not find it amusing.
Pakistani film industry is at a point where every film has huge impact. It is essential to churn out films that offer quality entertainment and can possibly bring back the audience to cinemas.
In the year 2022 there were films that were released with very tall claims but unfortunately they bombed at the box office. One of such films was Zarrar. Shaan Shahid is the megastar of Pakistani cinema but his film failed to create any impact. Zarrar had the potential to bring Shaan back to his fans, the way his War did but this time with Zarrar, he missed a great opportunity. Zarrar was a sloppy attempt, and it was difficult to find anything redeeming in the movie. The direction and editing were amateurish.
Other films like Rehbra, Carma, Thori Life Thori Zindagi and Yaara Vey that released in 2022 were sheer disappointment. These films were so bad that there was hardly anyone seen talking about them after their release. In order to stop ridiculing Pakistani cinema, only films with quality content and earnest efforts should ideally be released, else the new rage of revival of Pakistani cinema will go down the drain.
In order to make cinemas thrive in Pakistan, it is about time that foreign films should be released in cinemas. Films from Hollywood and Bollywood tend to attract more audience. This is tried and tested in the past. Movies with good content, high dose of entertainment and repeat value are the ones that Pakistani cinema needs. Let’s hope that in 2023 Pakistani film industry manages to release films that will offer high quality of entertainment and will also bring audience to cinemas. After all, the plea to “support Pakistani cinema” and the clichéd “revival of Pakistani cinema” has come dangerously close to their expiry dates.
Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui is an avid movie buff, and film and drama critic and a digital inbound marketer. He tweets as www.twitter.com/shafiqulhasan81; All information and facts are the responsibility of the writer