KARACHI: One could give the stars of Chhalawa the benefit of the doubt for turning up late at the film’s premiere at a local multiplex on Sunday evening because of the Iftar timing. It does take some time to ready yourself for a big event after a hot and humid day.
The red carpet, though, did start having guests from a little more than half an hour after scheduled time of 8pm. The arrival of the principal actors in the movie, Mehwish Hayat and Azfar Rehman, was eagerly awaited. But it was members of the supporting cast, such as Adnan Shah Tipu, that showed up first. Perhaps the most important man of the project –– director, writer and producer of Chhalawa, Wajahat Rauf –– was also one of those who came earlier than many.
Talking to Dawn about whether his film is a romcom, Rauf said: “It’s a family comedy. We want more and more people to come and see the movie in order to support Pakistani cinema.”
On the subject of not many local films being made these days, he said: “It is affecting the industry, and which is why we want people to come and see our cinema.”
‘We need to make good films, promote them in a better manner, cinema owners should cooperate’
Chhalawa will be released on Eidul Fitr by Hum Films and Eveready Pictures. Satish Anand of Eveready Pictures was optimistic about the general atmosphere. He said despite the fact that only two Pakistan films, the other being Wrong No 2, will see the light of day this Eid, the impact of their release will be positive. On a lighter note, he suggested watching them in cinemas will be an opportunity for the people to beat the heat, since the weather is getting hotter by the day, and entertain themselves in an air-conditioned environment for a couple of hours.
He did, however, concede that a smaller number of cinematic projects is not a good sign for the industry. There should be more and more of them. “It’s all about the financial model. First of all, we need to make good films, promote them in a better manner, cinema owners should cooperate, shares for stakeholders should be fine, percentages should be ok … so it’s an all-inclusive effort,” he said.
On the prospects of the two Eid films, Mr Anand said: “Both should do well because they have equal number of shows. Merit will decide which one will do better.”
At a few minutes past 10pm, the media and promoters of Chhalawa went inside the cinema halls to be part of the premiere.
And it has to be said the first half an hour of the film is so full of social media-inspired lines that it makes you think about how difficult it must’ve been for Rauf to don as many as three hats for the film.
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2019