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11 Jan

A haute look at the 2016 box office

The year 2016 has passed as one of the most confusing years in film for Pakistan’s new wave of cinema and the box office figures have been equally perplexing. Did some films actually do better than others, or did the PR machinery work its magic like always? Well, look no further since Something Haute has all the answers for those smitten by the box office bug.

The year started off with Ho Mann Jahaan, a narrative that worked like a charm and collected about 16.25 crores* thanks to the fun-filled chemistry between the trio of Mahira Khan, Adeel Hussain, and Sheheryar Munawer, films released in the coming months flat-lined in comparison. Case in point: Meera’s Hotal, which collected a miserable 10 lacs at the box office. The only good news to hit the box office in the first quarter (after HMJ) was Bachaana, which despite lackluster performances by Sanam Saeed and Mohib Mirza ended up earning 10 crores.



If that still wasn’t enough to define the reality of how the numbers worked for indie films that weren’t under bigwig banners such as Hum Films, ARY Films, or Geo Films, films such as Aksbandh and Blind Love, came and went without leaving any impact. Without putting our readers through any misery of going through these two films, we’ll reveal that both films ended up earning about 20 lacs and 65 lacs, respectively.

However, we’re sure the numbers still didn’t sound as much fun for us as they did for Fahad Mustafa! The actor who also appeared in the disastrous Mah-e-Mir  ended up giving Pakistan it’s biggest super-hit yet with Actor in Law. Whether we call it a bit of luck or praise the Nabeel Qureshi directorial, it was Mustafa’s stellar role as Shaan Mirza that made all the difference, raking in a whopping 24 crore and making it the highest grosser of the year!



Despite quite a number of films ending up being surprise successes this year, such as Janaan and Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hay – 17.5 crores and 6.25 crores respectively, a huge chunk of them went down the gutter as disastrous washouts on the silver screen. After all, we don’t think anyone has ever forgotten Noor Bukhari’s horrific Ishq Positive, which ended up being forced off the cinema screens in less than three days and ending up earning 80 lacs or Wajahat Rauf’s Lahore Se Aagey, which didn’t do so bad at the box office but we still want to get reimbursed for ever watching it.

With other films coming and going throughout the year, it seems that while one may call these the halcyon days for some directors and actors, it wasn’t truly a successful year for those hoping for the industry to sustain itself with hits and blockbusters.

Here’s an unofficial but credibly sourced outline of the number game for Pakistani cinema in 2016. There is no official box office collection guage and there are no professional analysts in Pakistan, since the industry has never been big enough, so we’re making do with this list that was provided to us…



*The numbers are yet to be confirmed by the filmmakers and are hence unofficial figures.


Shahjehan Saleem

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute as well as a professor in the Media Sciences department at SZABIST, Karachi. Socio-cultural theories and geography fill up the rest of his time.