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.
Ae Dil Meray Chal Ray
Announced in February 2017, this was to be Mikal Zulfiqar’s debut as a lead in Pakistani cinema. Of course, now that Sher Dil has already come and gone, that’s no longer the case. He would be playing a supermodel in the film, which would be a romantic comedy.
Ae Dil Meray Chal Ray’s cast includes Sana Sarfaraz and Sarah Sarfaraz, Salman Haider, Jawwad Bashir, Adnan Shah Tipu, and Javed Sheikh. It was also to be Jamal Sheikh’s (Javed Sheikh’s nephew) directorial debut. An expected release for 2018 was announced, but alas, there have been no updates since.
Dil Se Kehne Do
This is the second film from Murtaza Chaudhry to make this list. He announced Dil Se Kehne Do in 2016. The poster was reminiscent of the “Follow Me To” photos by Russian photographer Murad Osmann. The script was to be written by Mauzam Baig, who was the scriptwriter for the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Rockstar.
‘Dil Se Kehne Do’ would include actors from the UK, Turkey, and Pakistan, and a few singers from across the border as well. An update in 2016 announced that the music would be composed by an Indian music director. The same update featured news of its release in December of 2016.
Yet no updates followed. Even the Twitter account for the film went dormant in 2016, to become active again in 2018 and then go silent again.
The director and lead protagonist of Shah announced his next venture in 2016. It would be a feature exploring Pakistani identity itself. It would center on citizens that have migrated to foreign countries coming back to their motherland. Sarwar also commented on the fact that he, as a Pakistani, suffered from an identity crisis. Hence, filmmaking was a cathartic release for him.
While Sarwar did release Motorcycle Girl, starring Sohai Ali Abro in 2017, based on the life of Zenith Irfan, there has been no update on Parwaaz.
Pakistan has never had a true superhero film. The closest that the nation has to its own superheroes are Commander Safeguard and the characters of Teen Bahadur. However, Nation Awakes was to give the country its first live-action superhero. A teaser was released, several costume designs were showcased, and Aamir Sajjad was announced as the lead. The project was also said to have a mammoth budget of 20 to 25 Cr.
The project never materialized however. Who knows what happened to the budget, the grand plans, and the vision? I’m sure the screenplay is still lying around somewhere. As of now, Project Ghazi stands as the only ‘superhero feature’ made in Pakistan. However, due to its tepid performance at the box office, Pakistan still awaits a genuine homegrown superhero film.
Rangbaaz was Farooq Mengal’s next project after Hijrat. Though that film failed to make magic at the box office, this didn’t deter the director from pursuing his next vision. According to the director himself, Rangbaaz was going to be an action-adventure crime caper about a bank robbery and its repercussions.
The film was going to feature UAE-based model Aisam Ali and New York-based model Nimra Jacob as the lead pair. The latter was replaced by Sara Bhatti a few months later. They would be accompanied on the big screen with Sajid Hassan, Zhalay Sarhadi and Ajab Gul. Other details about the film also surfaced quickly including the soundtrack being comprised of five songs which included an item number. The soundtrack would feature the voice of Shalmali Kholgade who sang the popular Baby ko Bass Pasand Hai from the Salman Khan starrer Sultan.
Rangbaaz had already completed its first shooting spell in Swat in 2017. A second was being planned in Karachi, as well as a bank heist sequence in Dubai. A tentative release date was set for August the same year, which was later shifted to December. Then, there was nothing but silence.
This was a project by the popular radio station City FM 89. It starred Adeel Hussain, Mehreen Raheel in the lead roles. The trailer showed a dystopian Pakistan 30 years in the future, with everything reduced to rubble except for a few monuments like Minar-e-Pakistan and Quaid’s Mausoleum. This Pakistan is shown to be under the control of a dictator that uses robots to enforce the law.
The ‘Freedom Sound’ is ostensibly a radio that Adeel’s character finds within the rubble that he broadcasts through a machine he builds. Freedom of speech and expression was the central idea here. The film’s topic, though not entirely new, was largely unexplored through the medium of science fiction and dystopias in Pakistan.
Produced by Sehban Zaidi and directed by Nadir Hussain Shah and Sehban Zaidi, the film looked decidedly budget, but high on concept. Like Waar, the majority of the film seemed like it was shot in the English language. Another bizarre thing about the trailer was that it quite blatantly featured Coldplay’s “Fix You” at the climax.
Films About Burhan Wani
Burhan Wani was the commander of Kashmiri separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen. He was killed by Indian security forces in 2016. Two films about Burhan Wani have been announced. The first is a live-action drama while the second is an animated film.
The live action feature is being produced by Ayub Khoso and is ostensibly starring Aamir Liaqat as the titular character. Updates about the film have continued to circulate, yet there is no release date in sight.
The second Burhan Wani film, an animated feature, was also announced in 2016. The teaser of Burhan Wani: Son of Kashmir, was released on YouTube, only to be taken down. The director, Rana Abrar, alleged that it was due to pressure from the Indian lobby. No subsequent updates have followed.
Touted as Ali Zafar’s “Dream Project”, Deosai was announced in 2015. It would be an action drama shot in the northern areas of Pakistan. Coming out strong from his stints in Bollywood, the singer-turned-actor, seemed really excited about the prospect of a homegrown feature.
Directed by Imran Babur, the film would be a feature driven by women, feature a female protagonist, as well as a ‘famous international actress’, whose name was never revealed.
The film was due to start shooting in 2015, and was slated for a release in mid-2016. Teefa in Trouble came and went, and even a sequel has been announced, but there’s no sign of Deosai.
Gohar Rasheed announced this gem of an idea in 2017. Maidaan would be about the Pakistani Street Children Football team that competed in the Street Child World Cup in 2014. These children, hailing from the slums of Pakistan achieved a huge feat with little to no support.
The venerable Nauman Ijaz would be playing the role of their coach. This would be Gohar Rasheed’s maiden production, and by all accounts, a family entertainer. No other casting choices were announced however. In fact no other updates were announced, period.
Maidaan was a very different project from what we’ve seen in mainstream cinema in Pakistan. With only a handful of films made about sports, yet so many sporting legends in the country, this is a topic in serious need of more exploration in Pakistan.
Jawani Le Doobi
Announced in August of 2016, this was the next offering from Shahid Qureshi, the man behind Sawal 700 Crore Dollar Ka. The teaser poster showed four friends astride motorcycles, facing a huge wave with doves and fish around them. The first look was intriguing, but unfortunately that’s all we got. There was apparently a trailer attached as well, but it has been taken down.
Maybe this was a project that never got off the ground.
Sheesha Gar (The Glass Worker)
This beautiful animated film was announced back in 2016. Its trailer reminded one of classic anime films by Hayao Miyazaki. Sheesha Gar tells the story of Alliz and Vincent, two children that have grown very close. Alliz is a violinist, and Vincent is an apprentice glass blower learning to shape glass from his father. Each frame of the trailer was breathtaking and one couldn’t believe this level of hand drawn animation was possible in Pakistan. Certainly nothing like this had ever been produced here before.
Directed by Usman Riaz, a Pakistani animator, composer, and director, the film was completely crowdfunded through Kickstarter. The team managed to raise $116,000 for the first 15 minutes of the film. His intention was to lay the groundwork for hand drawn animation within the country. The film was supposed to come out some time in 2017. A short prelude did come out in 2018. However, no news about its release date has come out since then. It certainly looks breathtakingly beautiful and would make our film history all the richer. Hopefully the film will come to cinemas in the near future. For now though, there are no updates.
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.