Eid Ul Azha has been the biggest money spinner for the new wave of Pakistani films. The highest grossing films of the year have consistently been released on Eid Ul Azha ever since the revival in 2013. With COVID-19 having brought theatrical film releases to a complete halt, that won’t be the case this year. So, here are the top money spinners from each Eid, starting with the firecracker that started it all in 2013.
2013 : Waar
Waar was the impetus that the dormant Pakistani film industry needed to kick into action once again. The Shaan-starrer and Bilal Lashari directorial debut was called “The Unstoppable Movie”. The film grossed over 20 Cr in Pakistan and 34.6 Cr worldwide.
It made Bilal Lashari known to the entire country and raised the standards for Pakistani cinema. Not just because it was a big budget action film, but because of the slick direction and handling of action scenes, particularly the introductory scene, and the Police Academy attack sequence.
Other notables in the film were Hamza Ali Abbasi as SP Ehtisham Khattak, and Shamoon Abbasi as the Indian spy, Ramal.
2014 : Na Maloom Afraad
The 2014 Eid Ul Azha saw the release of Na Maloom Afraad (NMA), the first in a franchise of films. The duo of Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Shaukat burst on to the screen with a film about the chaos that Karachi was known for. NMA starred Fahad Mustafa, Mohsin Abbas Haider, and the veteran Javed Sheikh.The film’s trailer caught fire because of a few seconds of Mehwish Hayat in the item number, Billi.
The promise of a fresh premise and commercial entertainment brought the masses flocking to the theater and the film grossed 14 Cr worldwide as a result.
2015 : Jawani Phir Nahi Ani
Humayun Saeed was already having a great year with Bin Roye, and then his multi-starrer production, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani took that to a new level. The film starred Saeed himself, Vasay Chaudhry, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmad Butt, Ayesha Khan, Uzma Khan, Sarwat Gillani, Sohai Ali Abro, Mehwish Hayat, Ismail Tara, Bushra Ansari, and Javed Sheikh.
The film’s comedy-centric premise and commercial entertainment value provided a huge incentive for families to flock to the theater. The film ended up breaking every record previously held by a Pakistani film and grossed 49.4 Cr worldwide.
2016 : Actor in Law/Janaan
Two films tied for the highest grossing entry on Eid Ul Azha in 2016. The first was Actor in Law, the second entry from Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Shaukat, and the second was Janaan, starring Bilal Ashraf and Armeena Rana Khan.
Actor in Law starred Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat, as well as the late Om Puri. It gained a lot of fanfare for its plot that tackled the woes of the common man like load shedding, child labour, and even sexual harassment.
Janaan tackled the issue of child rights and child sexual abuse. It also centered on a marriage and thus had the commercial value associated with standard Pakistani dramas and films. It also ended up as a major commercial blockbuster.
Both films had a social message and mass entertainment value. So, both ended up grossing 30 Cr at the worldwide box office.
2017 : Punjab Nahi Jaungi
Eid Ul Azha 2017 brought another offering from Humayun Saeed’s production house Six Sigma Films. Written by Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar, the title set the screen ablaze and brought people to the theater wondering what it meant.
Starring Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat, as well as Urwa Hocane, the film presented the story of a progressive girl and a man from a feudal background in Faisalabad. Punjab Nahi Jaungi broke the record of Jawani Phir Nahi Ani with a global gross of 51.65 Cr and became the highest grossing film in Pakistan’s history.
2018 : Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2
As luck would have it, the sequel to Jawani Phir Nahi Ani arrived on Eid Ul Azha 2018 and broke box office records again. Though the film shared screens with another blockbuster, Parwaz Hai Junoon, it managed to gross 70 Cr worldwide.
The film centered on another road trip and a few marriages, plus it added Fahad Mustafa to the star cast as well as Kubra Khan and Mawra Hocane. Audiences flocked to the theater to watch another great commercial entertainer from Humayun Saeed and the totals speak for themselves.
2019: Superstar/Parey Hut Love
2019 may come to be known as “the lost year” for Pakistani Cinema. However, it managed to deliver two big hits on Eid Ul Azha; Superstar and Parey Hut Love. The two films didn’t exactly generate equal numbers, but the global gross figures for both weren’t very well reported. Both films claimed to gross 30 Cr worldwide.
Superstar and Parey Hut Love both centered on love stories, but the former dealt more with the film industry, and the latter dealt with lovers meeting over and over throughout their lives. Superstar was lauded as Mahira Khan’s successful comeback to the film industry after a series of lulls, and Parey Hut Love was seen as an exercise in grandeur and opopulence from director Asim Raza.