Quite a few films have in the past attempted to showcase the gritty, crime-filled alleyways, shipyards, and the unique urban culture of Karachi’s lesser privileged communities. In ‘John’ we seem to have another promising addition to this genre of cinema, with Ashir Wajahat (seen as a child actor in ‘Karachi Se Lahore) graduating to meaty, adult roles. Shot on a sepia palette around actual locations in the coastal metropolis, the teaser of the film hints at a narrative that follows the journey of the titular character John, a cleaner, as he evolves into the persona of a fearsome hit-man. Abetted in his activities by an influential mentor/fellow criminal played by Saleem Mairaj, we see various facets to John’s character as he romances the female lead, attends a mass and funeral services. The plot seems to swell around a Christian neighborhood, and it will be interesting to see this particular side of Karachi that has never been put to celluloid in the past. Production values, in terms of extensive use of Steadicam photography and natural lighting, are quite indie in their feel, however, indie here by no means implies low quality. Written and directed by Babar Ali (not the actor), the film promises to be a rather edgy coming-of-age tale.
‘Abhi’ offers a completely different feel compared to the dark, blood-soaked urbanscapes of ‘John.’ The film is musician and singer Goher Mumtaz’s foray into filmdom. Goher, along with Atif Aslam, was one of the founding members of the band Jal, which entails that ‘Abhi’ should probably have (at least) a decent music score. The preview offers a peek into the track ‘Mein laut aoonga’ which sounds rather listenable, piquing our curiosity as to what other surprises the soundtrack has in store. The teaser is a montage of picturesque shots from the film against portions of the soundtrack shot, and all that one can make of the story is that the film will be romantic drama shot in the exotic locales of Azad Kashmir. Action around the Line of Control (or close to it) seems to be an integral element of the plot. Kubra Khan is seen in different avatars romancing Goher. The film’s directorial responsibilities are handled by Asad Mumtaz while Shoaib Mansoor has penned the title track and also mentored the crew on the script. ‘Abhi’ is more along the lines of regular, commercial filmmaking and it will be interesting to see the additional details the trailer will disclose.