Pakistani television and film actor/producer Humayun Saeed is seen in the audience along with Mohammad Jerjees Seja and Salman Iqbal (Foundaer and CEO of ARY Network) .–Photo by Alisia Pek
Josh director Iram Parveen Bilalr.–Photo by Alisia Pek/Dawn.com
Pakistani television and film actor Aamina Sheikh (As Fatima in Josh) with Parveen Saeed founder of Khana Ghar.–Photo by Alisia Pek/Dawn.com
(L-R) Mohammad Jerjees Seja, Iram Parveen Bilal. Nadeem Mandviwalla and Adnan Malik.–Photo by Alisia Pek
Josh film poster .–Photo by Alisia Pek
Pakistani television and film actor Mohib Mirza with Aamina Sheikh.–Photo by Alisia Pek/Dawn.com
We have been following the upcoming filmmakers and their work on feature length films since the past few months. With a handful of films under production and some set to hit the theatres soon, everyone can finally anticipate watching good movies coming out of our local cinemas.
After a gap of two years, a Pakistani film Chambaili hit the theatre last month and is successfully running across the country. Dawn.com yesterday had an opportunity to cover the curtain-raiser of Pakistan’s latest movie “Josh” (Against the Grain) which will be released in Pakistan on Eidul Fitr. Josh is the story of a privileged woman whose life is shattered in a single moment as she embarks on the search for a dangerous truth. A story of the biggest challenge to Pakistan’s still reining feudalism: the country’s youth. The film explores the internal debates the young are struggling with, and how solutions can be attainable if and when they stand united.
The film has an interesting ensemble of some of the finest actors from the Pakistani entertainment industry, who include Aamina Sheikh, Mohib Mirza, Khalid Malik, Navin Waqar, Adnan Shah Tipu, Salim Mairaj, Kaiser Khan Nizamani, Nyla Jafri, Parveen Akbar, Ali Rizvi and Faizan Haqquee.
A remarkable effort for the filmmakers and enthusiast by Nadeem Mandviwalla and Jarjees Seja under the name of “The Platform” was launched at The Atrium cinemas on May 7, 2013.
“The Platform” has been created to showcase movies being made by young Pakistani filmmakers in pursuit of their dreams to make a contribution to Pakistani cinema and to share their fresh and unique vision of the world.
“Our mission is to give an opportunity to these unheard or unseen voices but to be able to make film a hit, is the public’s choice,” Nadeem Mandviwalla, owner of Atrium Cinemas and the managing director of Mandviwalla Entertainment said.
He also spoke about how everyone keeps on debating on the fact that cinemas are being built but films are not being made out of the country. Till the time there are no cinemas in the country , films will not be made, he stated.
Presenting his thoughts on the occasion, Mohammad Jerjees Seja, CEO, ARY Digital Network said, a few years back there was no sight of box-office in Pakistan and it became a long forgotten thing. Cinemas were converted into in shopping malls – but today box-office is being created, now is the time when we need to support our local productions, he stated.
However, Seja also said that everyone is looking for something really grand to happen with bigger setups and popular casts. In regards to this, he mentioned Humayun Saeed, who is working on a film which will be released on Eidul Fitr as well.
“But we felt there is a gap, a sort of a vacuum where we need to bring in new voices and young talent to be heard and seen. Our only motive in this initiative is that we give opportunity to the young talented filmmakers and actors to come forward and show the world what Pakistan is made of,” Seja said.
Josh had its first world premier in Mumbai film festival (MAMI) and has been having various screenings in different cities of Canada and USA since the past few months. Writer and Journalist Ethan Casey writes about Josh on Dawn.com, “Americans are accustomed to seeing other countries, especially Pakistan, as refractions of our own national worries and self-regarding obsessions. That is our problem, not Pakistan’s, and Josh serves us well by declining to pander or spoon-feed. It is a very good film, well conceived and executed on a small budget, and the question in my mind as I left the cinema was whether and how it might be possible to shoehorn such a serious piece of Pakistani storytelling into the awareness of some measurable fraction of the millions who know Pakistan only through TV news and Hollywood movies such as Zero Dark Thirty.”
Speaking about her debut feature film, Josh, Iram Parveen Bilal, the film writer, director and producer said, “Despite having made films for six years, shorts films that have travelled around the world and have won awards, I now feel like a complete filmmaker because this one is a full length feature where you can buy popcorn and drinks and watch it on the magnificent big screens of the cinemas and share it with hundreds of others at the same time as this is the power and the strength of the cinema which reminds one of the humanity and love. How in one room, hundreds of people are crying and laughing together at the same time, this makes one realise that we all are the same. Come watch the film with passion and unity, this is an honest film made out of dedicated blood, sweat and tears and it is made for you Pakistan and it is made by Pakistan.”
The launch of “The Platform” was very much needed for the re-birth of a film industry which was under heavy rubble since past two decades. Hopefully, it will bring the new breed of cinema crowd as well as upcoming filmmakers of Pakistan who ready to tell their story to the world. And who wouldn’t want to watch good quality local productions and share their experience with dozens of others in a cinema?