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22 Jan

Return of the Punjabi Protagonist

Fawad Khan has been bulking up; you just can’t have a scrawny, chiseled Punjabi hero!

Teefa is in trouble, Maula Jutt and Noori Natt are about to get at each other’s throats and somewhere in the heart of Punjab – Bahawalpur perhaps – Fawad Khagga has problems of his own. Say, what? Who are these people and why are they all of a sudden in the limelight? These are names of the four leading characters in upcoming movies, perhaps the most anticipated movies of the year.

Ali Zafar is Teefa, which most probably short for Latif, and he sounds like the protagonist of Ahsan Rahim’s debut directorial venture, Teefa in Trouble. Fawad Khan is Maula Jutt and Hamza Ali Abbasi is Noori Natt in the reboot of the classic film that took Pakistan by storm back in the day. And finally, Humayun Saeed is Fawad Khagga, undoubtedly the Punjabi protagonist of Nadeem Baig’s anticipated film, Punjab Nahin Jaungi. With four of the country’s leading heroes playing Punjabi characters, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Punjab is about to be redefined in contemporary cinema.

As a Punju, I’d have to say it’s about time.

This wouldn’t be important except for the fact that in the past three years, cinema has been very Karachi centric. Films like Na Maloom Afraad put the spotlight on the urban city and even romantic comedies or coming-of-age films like Karachi Se Lahore, Ho Mann Jahan, Actor in Law and Bin Roye were Karachi-base. Of course, you had films like Janaan but the fact that most films – being produced under ARY, HUM or GEO banners worked with Karachi lead teams and that reflected on the orchestration of their stories and premises and characters and personalities. So much so that people had started to say that Lahore’s film industry, Lollywood, had been replaced by Karachi.

It’s good to see the creative magic spreading out a bit. It’s one country and I don’t believe or endorse provincial divisions but showing diversity is integral. So I am excited by the introduction of the quintessentially gubbroo Punjabi hero to contemporary Pakistani films! And a very warm welcome to Teefa, Maula Jutt, Noori Natt and Fawad Khagga!

Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.