Mohib Mirza Ishrat Made in China
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Mohib Mirza Spills the Beans on “Ishrat – Made In China”

Last week the first look of Mohib Mirza’s mega project ‘Ishrat – Made in China’ was released. The film, based on the original comedy series ‘Ishrat Baaji’, was in the headlines earlier this year because of a shooting spell in Thailand. The cast and crew, comprising of Sanam Saeed, Shamoon Abbasi, Mohib Mirza himself, and a lot of other actors became stranded in the country due to the coronavirus. However, they were transported back to Pakistan safely, shortly after.

The first look of ‘Ishrat-Made in China’ is incredible. It looks like a full-blown comedy of epic proportions with stars like Nayyer Ejaz, Mani, and even HSY (Hassan Shehryar Yasin) in his debut. PakistaniCinema.Net got in touch with actor-director Mohib Mirza for a deeper look at the film.

From ‘Baaji’ to ‘Made in China’

The original show, ‘Ishrat Baaji’ broadcast on the now-defunct Aag TV, was a very free-flowing series. It was not necessarily very plot-driven, but character-driven. The show would center on basic plots like college graduation, or a cricket match, or even a job hunt. The allure of the show was the fourth-wall-breaking (pre-Deadpool), the screwball comedy, and the over the top performances.

Mohib Mirza maintains that though ‘Ishrat-Made in China’ the film will contain a fresh plot and operate on a much grander scale; the screwball elements of the show will remain. The over the top performances, the fourth-wall-breaking isn’t going anywhere. Fans of the original series will no doubt be very happy about this.

’Ishrat-Made in China’ is an Action-Romance-Comedy

Comedy films in Pakistan really haven’t had their moment since the new wave began. Yes, commercial films like ‘Na Maloom Afraad’, ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’, and ‘Actor in Law’ have made waves, but they’re classified as entertainers or social films first and comedies second.

‘Ishrat Made In China’ may not break the mould or create history, but it may give the new wave a great comedy film. Mohib Mirza emphasizes that his prime focus is to chronicle the journey of a character that is relatable to the youth of today. As the story flows so does the comedy.

Lewd jokes, vulgarities, and forced humor have been kept out of the movie. In that respect, it’ll be a breath of fresh air to see a film from Pakistan that doesn’t rely on WhatsApp level jokes for laughs, of which there have been plenty.

According to Mohib Mirza, the film is a complete action-romance-comedy film. In other words, when all is said and done, he hopes that the average theatergoer feels that their 2-2.5 hours have been well spent.

A Large Market was Needed for Ishrat Made in China

Mohib Mirza had shot more than 21 episodes of the original show when he first saw the potential for a film. However, at the time the film industry would churn out one or two films a year if it was lucky. If Ishrat was to make the shift from small screen to silver screen, then there would have to be a strong local cinema culture for it. Hence, it would be many years after the new wave of Pakistani cinema that Mohib Mirza would revisit his initial idea. It’s only recently that ‘Ishrat-Made in China’ has materialized as a fully realized film.

Everyone in the Film is Out of their Comfort Zone

The first look of the film, which is really an introduction to the cast, has received a lot of great feedback, as stated above. However, Mohib Mirza emphasizes that it was an exclusive photoshoot meant to announce the cast of the film. The real ‘first look’ and ‘teaser’ are yet to come.

As for the actors in the movie, including Sanam Saeed, Shamoon Abbasi, Mani, Nayyer Ejaz, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Sara Loren, Shabbir Jan, Ali Kazmi, Imam Syed, Mustafa Chaudhry etc. none of them are in their comfort zone. Hence, we can look forward to several new avatars when Ishrat finally releases.

That’s no surprise since the characters of the original ‘Ishrat Baaji’ were its greatest strength. Mohib Mirza remains committed to that ideal, but he has also worked on a compelling journey to allow these characters to shine.

What About a Release Date?

Due to COVID-19, there is obviously no release date in sight. However, Mohib Mirza isn’t looking to compete for release dates. He’s not here to steal the limelight from film releases that are already planned. Right now he’s just trying to complete the film and to deliver a product that is a complete, commercial entertainer and comedy. He wants to make people laugh, for them to have a good time, and most importantly with the entire family, and that’s about it.

If he manages to deliver a clean, family comedy that people can enjoy without any inhibitions, that’s going to be a novelty in and of itself in Pakistani cinema. We wish him luck and hope that people flock to the theaters when ‘Ishrat-Made in China’ hits the silver screen.

Yousuf Mehmood

Written by Yousuf Mehmood

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