Pakistani Cinema has grown leaps and bounds since 2013. The new wave has gained momentum and new films are being released nearly every month. However, there is a huge list of films that never got a release despite several updates on their production. Here is a list of films that are ostensibly in the pipeline, but have been stuck in development hell.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the films listed here were announced at least 2 years ago. Hence any recently announced films which are undergoing shoots or post-production aren’t included here. This list also doesn’t claim to be a complete record of all the unreleased films stuck in the development pipeline. We recognize there may be many other projects that never got off the ground. However, we have tried to include as many as we possibly could.
This article is the 1st of a 4 part series about unreleased films in the New Wave of Pakistani Cinema
My memory of this film’s trailer dates back to when I was eagerly looking up other trailers for Pakistani films. The story of the Azaad, set in 2008, revolved around Talha Zulfiqar (played by Hassam Khan), a serial killer accused of 8 murders. A forensic psychiatrist, Talat Ali (played by Hammad Siddiq) figures out that Talha has psychological issues that make him believe the people he’s killing are being freed of a world he perceives as materialistic. Talat diagnoses Talha with Fantasy Prone Personality, a consequence of his traumatic childhood. Talat’s personal tragedy, that of losing his own wife quite recently, also comes in to play.
The trailer highlighted that the film was based on true events and that it was Pakistan’s first psychological thriller. Directed by Hassam Khan himself, the film looked intriguing, with an admittedly low budget, look, and feel. Film actress Mathira’s sister, Rose Mohammad, was also supposed to make her debut with the film.
Azaad was announced in 2013. It had an occasionally active Facebook page, and even a website. However, both are inactive today. Recently, Hassam Khan released a new poster for the film. He also elaborated on the plot of the film being inspired by notorious child serial killer Javed Iqbal.
The release date is still uncertain.
Two Plus Two/Jhol
Two Plus Two or Jhol, whichever title this film will eventually hold, was announced in 2015. It was to be Babra Sharif’s comeback to the silver screen. The film was to be an action comedy starring Ali Azmat, Babra Sharif, Urwa Hocane, Mustafa Qureshi, and Bilal Ashraf. Despite many announcements about the film’s plot and casting choices, it still has no release date.
RAW/WAR: The Covert War
This is perhaps the strangest entry on the list. Other films here have had follow ups, casting announcements, and even trailers released. This one however, has just made do with a teaser poster. Directed by Shahzad Nawaz, whose debut, Chambeli, won critical acclaim, RAW: The Covert War was announced in 2015, and was slated for release on Independence Day 2016. The plot concerned India’s Research & Analysis Wing and their “Mission to Destabilize Pakistan”. The film claimed to be inspired by real events.
Yet, there was no follow up of any kind, on any platform.
The sequel to the film that arguably began the new wave of Pakistani Cinema has been in development for 6 years now. The success of Waar was undeniable, and it ended up rejuvenating the film industry by generating massive numbers at the local box office.
The makers also announced that they would be shooting in other locations including Russia, Yugoslavia, the UK, and Turkey. Shaan would be reprising his role and Bilal Ashraf, Ayub Khoso, Adnan Siddiqui and Humayun Saeed were also said to be on board. Another news snippet emerged in late 2015, about a shooting spell at the base camp of K2.
There has been no news of Waar 2 since. One could infer from the casting decisions that much of the resources for Waar 2 were diverted towards Yalghaar. With Yalghaar making nowhere near the impact that Waar did, it could also be inferred that Waar 2 has been put on the back burner.
Whether Dr. Hassan Waqas Rana is continuing efforts to make Waar 2, only time will tell. At the moment, the film has established camp at K2.
This film was announced back in 2011. The trailer featured shots of terrorist attacks and stats about the lives lost and bombs exploded in Pakistan as a result. The central premise seemed to be the mysterious kidnapping of a doctor from the Gulberg area of Lahore by militants. There is no demand for ransom or any other contact afterwards. The doctor is played by Salman Baig and his wife, by Uzma Khan.
The film, directed by Zeeshan Kazmi and written by Wajahat Kazmi, also starred Imran Akhtar, Sara Akmal and Agha Ali. However, after the trailer, no further updates about the film came out. A defunct website and an IMDb page remain.
Even though the film was deemed completed in 2011 by the director himself, there seems to be no release date in sight.
Mission Allahu Akbar
A pet project of Shaan’s this film was first announced back in 2013. This was to be his first stint after Waar and a return to directing as well. Mission Allahu Akbar was being written by Pervez Kaleem and starred Humaima Malick opposite Shaan. Earlier, Juggun Kazim had been roped in to play the female lead, but scheduling conflicts led to her replacement by Humaima. That’s all that is really known about this film. Shaan of course returned to the director’s chair in 2017 with Arth: The Destination, but Mission Allahu Akbar has apparently been shelved for the foreseeable future.
Bhai Wanted and Price of Honour
These two films were announced by Syed Noor. The veteran director had made plans to release them back to back, yet there are no release dates in sight.
Price of Honour is another film close to Syed Noor’s heart that has been met with production issues. The film was originally slated for a 2010 release. An Eid Ul Azha release was even announced in 2015, but to no avail.
However, the only film that the director has come out with in the new wave has been the cringey ‘Chain Aye Na’. This isn’t to say that the veteran isn’t capable of pathbreaking cinema. He has tackled serious issues like sectarianism before.
Syed Noor is said to have quite a few films in the pipeline, but none of them seem to be moving forward, at least on the surface. Until he delivers again, his fans are still waiting.
Moammar Rana, the only star that stood shoulder to shoulder with Shaan during his heydays announced ‘Sikandar: Nothing is Above the Law’ in 2016. The film would be based on a real-life incident and star Momi Rana in the lead role, along with Haya Sehgal as the female lead and film veteran Nadeem in a supporting role.
A teaser was released soon after, but then there was radio silence on the topic for two years. In 2018, an update was issued regarding further shoots occurring in Karachi. The film may release yet, but it’s been in development for about 3 years now. With no release date in sight, the future of the film seems unsure.
No doubt, one of the more anticipated projects on this list, Albela Rahi would’ve been the biopic of pop singer Alamgir. The project was announced at a press conference in 2016, with both the legend and Fawad Khan (who would play Alamgir in the film) attending.
However, as with most projects on this list, there has been very little news regarding ‘Albela Rahi’ ever since. It’s very possible that Fawad Khan’s prior commitments to Bollywood films and to Bilal Lashari’s ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ kept him from delivering on ‘Albela Rahi’. Perhaps when Maula Jatt hits theaters, he’ll announce an update to the Alamgir Biopic.
Kambakht was supposed to be Hamza Ali Abbasi’s directorial debut. It starred the director himself, Sheheryar Munawwar, Saba Qamar, Sohai Ali Abro, Shafqat Cheema, and Humayun Saeed. The film’s trailer showcased a lot of the buffoonery that could be expected.
However, as time went on, it became clear that the film had been abandoned. Hamza Ali Abbasi would announce sometime later that he had decided to re-shoot the film. According to him, the original film had not done justice to the story. He cited his own lack of experience and reluctance from investors to put up money for such a project. However, since then, there has been no update.
With Hamza Ali Abbasi’s recent announcement to quit films for the foreseeable future, Kambakht probably won’t get a release any time soon.
This was supposed to be Director Shoaib Khan’s debut. Announced in 2012, the film was going to revolutionize Pakistani filmmaking. Shoaib Khan said this would be a reality-based film with a dash of humour. The poster featured a lot of young stars dressed up in black tuxedos and skirts.
The central plot of the film would revolve around 5 couples whose lives involve corruption, romance, and family drama. The cast of Rangeen featured Natasha Hussain, Abdullah Ijaz, Tariq Taqi, Arsalan Mughal, Raza Shah, Sadaf Kanwal, Sana Khan, Hina Sultan, Annie and Shafqat Cheema.
The title track of the film, Nach Baliye, was also released to much fanfare. Sung by Shajar Fakhar and Quratulain Balouch, then fresh off the success of Humsafar, created a stir.
Only about 15-20% of the film had been completed when the announcement came through. The Facebook page also posted updates from time to time. Yet, eventually, the updates stopped coming. Shoaib Khan eventually released Jackpot as his debut feature. However, Rangeen may still be on the cutting room floor somewhere. It may get a release someday, but not any time soon.
Stay tuned to our website and social media accounts for more lists of unreleased Pakistani films.
We at Pakistani Cinema.Net are eager to see more films made in the country. A lot of these projects are quite appealing to us personally as well. We hope that much of the films listed here find their way into theaters in the future.