LAHORE, July 6: Amidst lights, marigolds, roses, music, rolling cameras, happy faces and cheerful smiles the opening ceremony of the first Urdu film of the year, Dastaan, was held and celebrated by a large film crew at the Evernew Studios here on Friday.

The first shot was taken with a large Panaflex of the film in the backdrop of relatively new female faces from the Lollywood, Zarin and Kashaf.

Film director Syed Noor was the guest of honour who bucked up artistes during the first take of the film amid thunderous applause, loud music, distribution of sweets wrapped in fancy papers, and showering of petals.

The shot was taken in front of late film actor Yousaf Khan’s room which has been transformed into a prison to take shots of prison scenes of different films.

Dastaan is being directed by veteran film director Agha Hassan Askari and has been written by Muhammad Tariq. The film has been produced by Amjad Sheikh and Ali Mardan while its music has been composed by Sabir Ali Sabir.

Director Agha Askari told Dawn that “It is not only a new Urdu movie going on sets but a serious effort has also been made to induct Pushto film artistes into Urdu films.

Pushto film artistes, writers and directors have given a boost to the Pushto film industry and we must take benefit of their expertise and use their talent in Urdu films as well”, he said.

Mr Askari said that some main Pushto film artistes such as Shahid Khan and Jahangir would grace this film. The lead cast of the film includes, Moamar Rana, Zarin, Arshad Mehmood and Shah Mir. He said the movie was expected to be released by Eidul Azha.

Syed Noor said that Agha Hassan Askari was a highly respectable name in the Pakistan film industry and it was a good omen for the industry that he had agreed to direct the film.

This year, three Punjabi films -- Sher Dil, Ishq Khuda, Sharika -- are on sets with one Urdu film, Dastaan.

Recalling good old days of the Lollywood, artist Rashid Mehmood said there were days when film studios used to be full of activities. “Today, however, I am glad to see the hustle bustle in the studio. I hope that with the passage of time our industry will again come to its feet.”

Actress Zarin, who is playing a lead role in the film, said that signing an Urdu film and, that too, with a seasoned director like Hassan Askari was a great moment for her.

She said she hoped that the film would click at the box office.

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