With more than a dozen highly anticipated titles in the works this appears to be a fantastic year for Pakistani cinema. Iâ€™d say it needs to be rechristened, for the gandasa wielding, trigger happy Punjabi films that fell under the rather derogatory term â€˜Lollywoodâ€™ no longer exist in the larger scheme of things. This is new age cinema: modern, contemporary and clean. It wonâ€™t be without drama though, which is what Sultana Siddiqui, CEO of Hum TV network said in the introduction to Bin Roye at a Press Conference.
Colourful, musical and dramatic is the first impression you get of Bin Roye, a film that stars Mahira Khan, Humayun Saeed, Armeena Khan, Junaid Khan, Javed Sheikh and many more. Fawad Khan was the original choice of hero but he was replaced due to unavailability of dates. And while even my first impression of Humayun Saeed in the lead opposite Mahira was a bit disgruntled (as in, he seemed too old for her) I have to admit he is a fantastic actor and when I spoke to him he had some pretty intelligent things to say.
â€œA star will become a star, whether on TV, film, music, sports, schoolâ€¦anywhere,â€ Humayun Saeed said when I asked him whether he felt only the big screen brought big stardom, as compared to television. â€œIf youâ€™re a star, youâ€™ll become one anywhere and if youâ€™re not, then you wonâ€™t even be one on the silver screen.â€
I also asked him whether television actors were limited in their appeal as it was difficult to envision them on the big screen. Did their casting brush an air of â€˜tele-filmsâ€™ over this new age of cinema?
â€œI donâ€™t think so at all,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s just that our public hasnâ€™t been in the cinemas for too long. Itâ€™s been over a decade of a cinematic lull and people arenâ€™t used to movie stars; what theyâ€™re used to is us. The people are too used to seeing us on television and thatâ€™s why there is apprehension. But once they see us on the big screen that changes almost immediately. This transition will be effortless once more films release.â€
The press conference had the HUM TV team introduce the cast and crew of Bin Roye to the media but most highly anticipated was Mahira Khanâ€™s entry; that was enough to spin cameras into a frenzy. Of course, most questions were directed to her working with Shahrukh Khan in Raees. Some clichÃ©d questions included whom she preferred more, to which she intelligently replied, â€œIf Humayun Saeed is the Shahrukh Khan of Pakistan then Shahrukh Khan is the Humayun Saeed of India.â€ Smart choice of words.
I asked her whether she felt responsible for turning around the image of Pakistani actresses in India. Meera and Veena Malik havenâ€™t been the best of examples.
â€œI definitely hope so,â€ she was quick to respond. â€œI just feel that I am an ambassador. I feel that Iâ€™m playing it for the country, like a cricketer.â€
And how did she feel about working with Humayun Saeed, Shahrukh Khan, Sheheryar Munawar, Adeel Husain in films this year?
â€œThis definitely is a lucky year for me,â€ she replied with characteristic charm, adding cheekily, â€œVariety is the key to life!â€
It certainly is and we, the fashion obsessed will be getting some style from three of Pakistan’s top designers: Elan, Sania Maskatiya and Feeha Jamshed, who may be lying low these days but is expected to reemerge with a brand new studio (next to Mews) very soon.
Back to the press conference, it was a bit confusing as the HUM team gave us, the media, nothing new. We got to see a trailer that has been running for a couple of months now. We got some facts and figures on the film thatÂ we already knew. I originally thought that the event would release the soundtrack of the film but no, even that wasnâ€™t revealed. I was informedÂ that the soundtrack would be released on the final day of Bridal Couture Week on June 7. So keep your ears open!