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entertainment
Thursday Dec 26 2019
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Only 22 Urdu films released in Pakistan in 2019

Though the revival of Pakistani cinema had begun some fifteen years ago, it seems that the industry still has a long way to go before that can happen. A number of films have been made this year, some of them even critically acclaimed, and some doing huge business at the box office. They were released in a variety of genres - commercial films with romance, action, thrill, music, comedy – and a few were artsy movies with stories grounded closer to reality.

However, despite all efforts, the number of feature films released could not go up to the requirement of cinema houses, that are increasing day by day, with multiple screens, digital audio-and-video systems and modern technology. The national film industry provides less than fifty on average per year, made in Urdu and various regional languages –Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi and Balochi, etc.

The multiplex and modern cinemas only like to show Urdu and English movies, which are not available in good quantity. As films from Bollywood are banned these days due to tense relations between Pakistan and India, cinema owners rely on movies from Hollywood and a few European countries, along with Pakistani Urdu films, to keep the business running. 

The year 2019 has seen the release of only 22 Urdu films, including one animated movie. These are listed below with their credits, salient features, dates of release (in chronological order) and box office status, if they did any reasonable business.

1- Gumm: In the Middle of Nowhere (Lost)

It was an action thriller movie, directed by Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia. Starring Sami Khan, Shameen Khan, Shamoon Abbasi and Anjum Habibi, it was released on January 11 throughout Pakistan.

2- Jackpot

Romantic comedy, directed by Shoaib Khan and produced by Khurram Riaz. It was also released on January 11. Babar Kashmiri was its scriptwriter and Anubhay Bansal was its cinematographer. Its cast included Sanam Chaudhry, Noor Hassan, Sana Fakhar, Adnan Shah Tipu and Javed Shiekh. Celebrities, including Mehmood Aslam, Afzal Khan, Zara Sheikh, Ismail Tara and Meera made cameo appearances.

3- Laal Kabootar

Action crime thriller, produced by Hania Cheema and Kamil Cheema and written by Ali Abbas Naqvi, was released by Geo Films on March 22. Taha Malik was its music director while Danial Hayat, son of Rohail Hayat, provided background score. The film featured Ahmed Ali Akbar, Mansha Pasha, Rashid Farooqi, Ali Kazmi and Saleem Mairaj. The film did a business of Rs34 million.

4- Sherdil 

Action film written and produced by Noman Khan, directed by Azfar Jaffri, and starred Mikaal Zulfiqar, Hassan Niazi, Armeena Rana Khan, Sabeeka Imam and Laila Zuberi. The film revolves around Pakistan Air Force. Released on March 22, it received mixed reviews from critics. Sherdil did a business of Rs126.1 million.

5- Project Ghazi 

A science fiction action film, directed by Nadir Shah and produced by Syed Mohammad Ali Raza, who are known for their work on TV commercials and short films. The film starred Humayun Saeed, Shehryar Munawwar and Syra Shehroz in leading roles. It was released on March 29, The film did a business of Rs20 million.

6- Junoon-e-Ishq: A simple love story with action, directed by Naseem Haider Shah and written by Wajid Zubairi. Starring Adnan Khan, Mahi Khan and Aamir Qureshi in leading roles, the film was released on April 12.

7- Chhalawa: A romantic-comedy film, written, directed and produced by Wajahat Rauf. It starred Mehwish Hayat, Azfar Rehman, Zara Noor Abbas, Asad Siddiqui, Aashir Wajahat and Mehmood Aslam in pivotal roles. It released on Eid-ul-Fitr, June 5. The film did good business at the box office, earning Rs179 million.

8- Wrong No. 2: A rom-com movie, which was a sequel to the 2015 film Wrong Number. Directed by Yasir Nawaz, the film featured Sami Khan and Neelam Muneer in leading roles. Supporting cast included Javed Sheikh, Mehmood Aslam, Ahmed Hassan and Danish Nawaz. The film was released by Geo Films on Eid-ul-Fitr, June 5. This proved to be the third highest grossing film of the year with a business of Rs216.5 million.

9- Kataksha: It is Pakistan’s first psychological horror movie. It features Saleem Mairaj, Kiran Tabeer, Nimra Shahid, Kasim Khan and Mubeen Gabol. The film, written and directed by Abu Aleeha, released on June 21. It did a business of Rs20.1 million.

10-Baaji: The romantic drama film, directed and produced by Saqib Malik, featured Meera, Osman Khalid Butt, Amna Ilyas, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Ali Kazmi and Nayyar Ejaz. It also included numerous well-known actors who made cameo appearances. The film, released on June 28, did a reasonable business of Rs111 million.

11- Ready Steady No: A romantic comedy, featuring Amna Ilyas, Salman Shahid, Nayyar Ejaz, Faisal Saif, Zain Afzal, Marhoom Ahmed Bilal, Nargis Rasheed and Ismail Tara. Written, directed and produced by Hisham Bin Munawwar, the film was released on July 19.

12- Tum Hi To Ho: A romantic drama film, directed by Sangeeta and written by Sooraj Baba. The film starred Danish Taimoor, Qurat-ul-Ain and Mathira in leading roles. It released on July 19.

13- Tevar: An action-revenge thriller film, which was written and directed by Abu Aleeha and produced by Ali Sajjad Shah. It featured Sukynah Khan, Taqi Ahmed, Mathira, Sharique Mahmood and Akbar Subhani in pivotal roles. The film released on July 26.

14- Heer Maan Ja: It was a romantic comedy film, directed by Azfar Jafri and produced by Imran Raza Kazmi. The film starred Ali Rehman Khan and Hareem Farooq in the lead roles, alongside Faizan Shaikh, Shumaila Khattak, Sami Khan and Mojiz Hasan in supporting roles. The film was released by Geo Films on Eid-ul-Azha, August 12. It did a reasonable business of Rs100 million.

15- Parey Hut Love: The rom-com movie, directed by Asim Raza and written by Imran Aslam, starring Shehryar Munawwar and Maya Ali as romantic lead. It also starred Nadeem Baig, Ahmed Ali Butt, Zara Noor Abbas, Hina Dilpazeer, Faheem Azam, Rachel Viccaji, Munawwar Siddiqui, Parisheh James, Jimmy Khan, Farieha Altaf, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi and Shahbaz Shigri. Mahira Khan made a special appearance and Fawad Khan played a cameo role. Besides, other celebrities, like Meera, Sonya Jehan, Ahmed Ali Akbar and Cybil Chowdhry also made cameo appearances. This has been the second highest grossing movie in 2019 with a business of Rs268 million.

16- Superstar: A romantic musical-drama film, starring Mahira Khan and Bilal Ashraf in leading roles. It was directed by Mohammad Ehteshamuddin. Azaan Sami Khan, son of singer-actor Adnan Sami, was responsible for music and screenplay. It was released on Eid-ul-Azha, August 12 and is still being shown in some cinema houses. This is the highest grossing movie of the year which has so far earned Rs270.1 million.

17- Operation Swift Retort: It was an animated film, directed, animated, produced and written by DJ Kamal Mustafa. The name "Operation Swift Retort" is the official name of an operation conducted by the PAF. Its story was based on a true incident that happened on February 26 and 27. The film was released on August 14.

18- Daal Chaawal: Its story related to Pakistan police, working against a network of international terrorists in Lahore. Directed by Awais Khalid and written by Akbar Nasir Khan, it starred Shafqat Cheema, Mir Hamza and Momina Iqbal. The film was released on October 4.

19- Durj: A mystery thriller film, written and directed by Shamoon Abbasi and produced by Dodi Khan. The film starred Shamoon Abbasi, Sherry Shah, Maira Khan, Dodi Khan, Nouman Javaid and Hafeez Ali. The film was based on true events and a large part of it was about cannibalism.

20- Kaaf Kangana: It was a project of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces. The film, written and directed by Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, featured Sami Khan, Eshal Fayyaz Ayesha Omer and Fiza Ali. It was released worldwide on October 25.

21- Talash: A social comedy drama film, which dealt with the critically important social problem of childhood malnutrition that afflicts a large portion of infants in the country, and the developing world at large. Directed by Zeeshan Khan, the film starred Saleem Mairaj, Mustafa Qureshi, Faria Hasan and Noaman Sami. It was released on November 15.

22- Sacch: A family oriented film with romance, drama and thrill, was produced by Tasmina Sheikh, with her husband Zulfikar Sheikh in the director's chair. The real-life couple started their film Succh back in 2017. The duo’s film was intended to launch their daughter Elysee Sheikh’s acting career. She was cast along with veterans like Ayesha Sana and Uzma Gillani. The film was released on December 20 (The last movie to be released during the year of 2019).