KARACHI: The theatrical trailer of Pakistan Air Force’s latest offering Sherdil was launched at a local hotel on Tuesday evening; the event was hosted by the film’s writer/producer Nomaan Khan who talked about the film at length and explained why he chose to make a Top Gun kind of film in Pakistan where romantic comedies are usually the best bet at the box office.
The film’s trailer was met with applause considering it was released at a time when India and Pakistan’s warplanes had just engaged in a dogfight, and the efforts of the Indian side were foiled by our armed forces. The trailer featured Mikaal Zulfiqar in what can be termed as his first leading role in a Pakistani film (not counting Cake and Na Band Na Baraati). He looked every bit a fighter pilot ready to win accolades for his country. He was matched in performance by Hassan Niazi who played a fighter pilot from across the border at an air force exercise in Dubai, where they renew their rivalry on neutral ground.
You also get to see Armeena Rana Khan playing Mikaal’s love interest and Sabeeka Imam as the romantic interest of the Indian pilot; they both look stunningly beautiful. Although Armeena didn’t have a dialogue in the trailer, her fans loved her new look and the chemistry she shared with the protagonist. You also get to see the writer Nomaan Khan as a PAF instructor and he is most likely to nail the part because he served as a major in the Pakistan Army. Then there is veteran actress Samina Ahmed who plays Mikaal’s on-screen dadi and makes you emotional with her epic dialogue delivery.
Directed by Azfar Jafri who has previously called the shots for Siyaah, Janaan and Parchi, the film has been shot by Hollywood director of photography Riki Butland who has been part of many blockbusters including Furious 7 and Star Trek Beyond. Pakistani cinematographer Saleem Karim (Saleem Dad) also pitched in as the splinter unit DOP and every frame of the movie looks grand. The excellent visual effects of the film are a result of Scott Newman’s hard work who himself has worked in many international flicks in his career.
Answering questions after the trailer was unveiled, the producer of the film told the media that the idea behind the film originated when he did a music video with Junaid Jamshed a few years back. Mikaal Zulfiqar who was part of that music video then persuaded the producer to make a movie and showed his interest to act in it, which was more than enough for Nomaan Khan to take up the project. He thanked the Pakistan Air Force for their support as well and was thankful to the film’s director Azfar Jafri who executed his script brilliantly.
Mikaal Zulfiqar said that the air chief’s praise was bigger than any award in the world, as he had said that the actor had done justice to the role of a fighter pilot. Azfar Jafri also pitched in, calling the film a learning experience as he got to study the best technicians in the world at work during the filming of Sherdil.
ARY Films’ Jerjees Seja reminded the audience of the film’s “perfect” timing because the incidents depicted in the film really did happen a few days back and that speaks volumes regarding the writer’s vision.
The trailer launch was attended by renowned directors Saqib Malik, Rashid Sami along with friends and family of the producer. The film’s antagonist Hassan Niazi and leading ladies Armeena Rana Khan and Sabeeka Imam couldn’t attend the event due to prior commitments but one hopes that they will be there at the film’s premiere later this month.
However, it was surprising not to find a representative from the PAF at the event, considering they were there at the trailer launch of Parwaaz Hai Junoon, their last hit flick that is still running in cinemas.
Sherdil will release on March 22 in cinemas all across Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2019