KARACHI: Wolf whistles and sporadic laughter rippled through the cinema hall during the press show for a new Pakistani film, Namaloom Afraad (unknown persons), at the Atrium Mall on Monday evening.
A number of journalists attended the screening followed by a brief interaction with the principal actors, director and producer of the film. The makers of Namaloom Afraad supported locally made films so that they could compete with movies made in other parts of the world, especially in India.
Javed Sheikh, who plays the pivotal role of Shakeel in the film, looked and sounded quite excited on the occasion. He claimed that Pakistani cinema was getting back on its feet. Alluding to a political slogan, he chanted ‘Tabdeeli aa gaee hai’ (change has come) and argued that while Pakistani TV plays already enjoyed a good reputation, time had now come for Pakistani cinema to compete with India’s. He praised the director (Nabeel Qureshi), producer (Fizza Ali Mirza) and cinematographer (Rana Kamran) of the film and called them a ‘lethal combination’. He also had encouraging things to say about his co-actors (Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Urva and Mehvish).
Mohsin Abbas Haider said we should back whatever was being churned out by Pakistani film-makers and requested the media to support all the forthcoming local films.
Fahad Mustafa said he was relieved to notice the audience’s reaction to the film because it quashed the rumours that the story of ‘Namaloom Afraad’ was not original.
Urva said she was happy that the movie was being appreciated. Director Nabeel Qureshi enthused that hearing people laugh at the jokes in the film gave him the satisfaction that the hard work that he and his team had put in the last one and a half years hadn’t gone in vain.
Talking to Dawn Qureshi said the songs in Namaloom Afraad were part of the narrative and were woven into the script. He justified the item number filmed on Mehvish Hayat reasoning that it was related to a celebratory moment of the three main characters. He, however, conceded that if cine-goers could dance to Indian item numbers, they could also dance to Pakistani songs. With regard to the dubbing of the characters’ voices and audio balancing, he said it was the sound system in the hall because of which the ambience of Karachi streets could not be felt.
Namaloom Afraad pivots around a diffident man, Shakeel (Javed Sheikh), who with his wife has led his life in the most honest way possible, looking after his younger sister Naina (Urva) after the death of his parents. He has a tenant, insurance agent Farhan (Fahad Mustufa), who is later joined as the other tenant by Moon (Mohsin Abbas), a call centre worker.
Farhan and Moon are trying to make it big in Karachi but find it hard to earn a decent living. Shakeel’s life too is in a shambles. Things take a dramatic turn when the three men make a plan to become rich, but a gangster, Gogi (Salman Shahid), makes things more difficult for them.
Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2014