The Eid-ul-Azha period has historically boded well for Pakistani films’ box office revenues. In recent years this festive period has gained a reputation for being one of the most financially lucrative for the cinema industry. It all started in 2013 when Bilal Lashari’s Waar was released to a roaring box-office response, and each subsequent year has witnessed film makers lining up their best productions for release during this period — the competition for the coveted Eid slot is stiff. Jumping forward to 2018, compared to the usual one or two biggies, we have three tent-pole productions lined up, each from the three best film production houses in the country. This never seen before clash of titans will have financial ramifications for these goliaths of Pakistan film industry, as well as for the careers of their actors. The following is our take on why you should watch these three films, and their potential box office prospects.
JAWANI PHIR NAHI ANI 2
This sequel to the much-loved box office bonanza of 2015 ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’ carries high audience expectations. Fahad Mustafa and Kubra Khan replace Hamza Ali Abbasi and Mehwish Hayat, respectively, in this sequel and it remains to be seen to what extent they can make up for the two much loved actors’ absence. The movie also marks Mawra Hocane’s foray into Pakistan’s filmdom.
JPNA2’s trailer has been well received and generated over 3 million hits on YouTube already. Compared to JPNA, the trailer hints at more drama and less humor, however some of the comedic jibes and camaraderie between its three male leads are intact. The USP of JPNA was Vasay Chaudhry’s breezy, hilarious script that was peppered with digs at current affairs, films and popular personalities. By what we can tell from its trailer, JPNA2 seems relatively more serious in its treatment, and the jury is out on how this tonal shift would be received by the audience. The movie is shot in exotic locales of Turkey and the UAE, and the production values (and budget) see an improvement over its prequel. The movie’s soundtrack has received a middling response, however a few tracks such as “Lahore terey te” have potential for picking up after the release.
JPNA 2’s high end production values, solid trailer, a star-studded cast and the JPNA tag are among its USPs. On the marketing side, ARY films and Six Sigma Productions have ensured a promotional blitzkrieg on television. We expect it to lead on Day 1, however its business thereon will depend on how the audience responds. Overseas, it will be released at 110 sites by B4U entertainment and should easily dominate.
PARWAAZ HAI JUNOON
PHJ marks Hamza Ali Abbasi’s return to the film screen after a gap of three years. However, he only seems to have built his fan-base in the intervening period courtesy his social activism and television appearances. The film also stars one of the fastest rising actors, Ahad Raza Mir, as one of the leads. PHJ is promoted as “a tribute to Pakistani Air Force” and the trailer showcases a mix of patriotism, emotional melodrama and air acrobatics. The movie is riding on a strong buzz on the back of heavy promotions by M&D films (on HUM Network), and it must be noted that Hamza Abbasi and Ahad Raza carry a strong appeal and are much liked as actors. Its soundtrack composed by Azan Sami Khan has also been well-received. The movie targets the same audience that appreciates HUM network’s brand of family friendly entertainment. Its promotional strategy which relied on heavily marketing this brand of entertainment pioneered in the modern age by M&D Productions’ seems to have worked. The movie, like JPNA2, has a decent advance at theaters, beating it in certain locations. We expect PHJ to give strong competition to JPNA2 on the first day of Eid, although JPNA2 is likely to come on top on basis of mass circuits.
After NMA 1 &2 and Actor in Law, Load Wedding is Nabeel Qureishi and Fizza Ali Mirza’s (i.e. Team Filmwala) fourth production together. Following their successful pairing in AIL, Fahad Mustafa and Mahwish Hayat are retained as leads. The trailer indicates a romantic comedy with a social angle, which was previously witnessed in 2016’s surprise box-office smash Janaan. The movie is set in rural Punjab, and its soundtrack is similarly high on Punjabi tunes.
Relative to the last three productions from Filmwala, Load Wedding is more subtle in its treatment. The trailer showcases no big-ticket action sequences, heists or intricately choreographed songs. The film’s USP is its Punjabi flavor, high emotional quotient and what seem to strong performances from Fahad Mustafa and Mahwish Hayat. The recently released video of the song “Kooch na Karin” indicates a movie with a heart, which will be high on romance, drama and even some tears. However, on the marketing side, the movie’s affairs have not been as strong as its two competitors. Its low-key promotions notwithstanding, Load Wedding will open well courtesy it’s strong leads and Filmwala’s good repute. If the content finds emotional resonance with the audience, the movie will grow with a good word of mouth, ensuring that it ends up giving strong competition to the other two films in the long run.