‘Filmi’ Roundup 2018

  • 29 Dec - 04 Jan, 2019
  • Omair Alavi
  • Reviews

The year is about to end and with it, the memories of the past 12 months will become history. From the point of view of an avid movie buff, this was one of the better years for Pakistan’s reviving industry as the box office delivered bigger, better and more meaningful films were released, compared to 2016 and 2017. With the release of 21 movies [4 animated and 17 live-action films] in 2018, Pakistan film industry seemed to move in the right direction. Let’s analyse the releases and how did they fare.


The year started on a successful note for Pakistan as Azfar Jafri’s Parchi got released on January 5 and was declared a hit. Starring Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan, and Ahmed Ali Akbar, the thriller did have its moments, including a couple of chartbusters such as Imagine and Billo Hai to name a few. It also became one of the first few films from Pakistan to be released in Saudi Arabia making it part of Pakistani cinema’s history. Aabis Raza’s Maan Jao Na came next but had a few issues as it was released alongside Uzair Zaheer Khan’s Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor and Syed Atif Ali’s Pari. Zaheer’s animated venture won the race here with Maan Jao Na on number two as they stayed in cinemas for more than a month. Pari fared badly because it lacked star cast and a strong script, thus the horror flick faded away without making any mark at the box office. Same can be said for Rehan Sheikh’s Azad. Though the film had a star cast and a good soundtrack but it failed to impress the audience. It was one of those films that make you think and did extremely well in the festival circuit.

Next came Tick Tock, an animated adventure back in time. Despite featuring the voices of Ahsan Khan, Ghulam Mohiuddin, Alyy Khan, and Maria Memon, it failed to survive at the box office.

It was Asim Abbasi’s Cake that stole the show when it was released a week after the final of Pakistan Super League. The film scored well in every department be it script, direction, editing, or acting. Aamina Sheikh and Sanam Saeed were hailed for their acting whereas Mohammad Ahmed and Adnan Malik surprised with their stunning performances.

Then came Adnan Sarwar’s Motorcycle Girl that was released in April. I must say that it was only its release time that got the actual potential of the film, killed. With Avengers: Infinity War lined up for release within a week of its release, Motorcyle Girl had not enough time to survive. Despite good word of mouth and a stellar performance from Sohai Ali Abro, it fizzled away as soon as Earth’s mightiest heroes arrived at the scene.

The arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr brought as many as four films – Meenu-Farjad’s 7 Din Mohabbat In, Imran Malik’s Azaadi, Mahmood Akhtar’s Na Band Na Baraati and Jawed Sheikh’s Wajood. Apart from Sheheryar-Mahira starrer, none of the films managed a decent run at the box office and disappointed big time.

Jawed Sheikh made a comeback as a director in Wajood. He also shared screen space in the film with veteran actors, Nadeem Baig and Shahid, for the first time. But despite all the efforts and shooting in Greece and Turkey, the film couldn’t do well at the box office.

Azaadi was more like a patriotic film, a genre not suited for an Eid release. Two mediocre films Shor Sharaba and Jackpot followed the Eid releases and the less one writes about them, the better. They both were a throwback to the 1990s when vulgarity was required to make a film successful but thankfully, the audience rejected both films and they were gone within a week.

As they say, good things come to those who wait and Ahsan Rahim’s Teefa in Trouble was an answer to the prayers of all those who went though the trauma of watching bad films in the first six months. Released in July, five days before the General Elections and a week before the latest Mission Impossible, Teefa In Trouble went on to become the most successful non-holiday release in Pakistan. Ali Zafar aced as writer, producer, actor and music composer with a film that had every ingredient in right amount. It was followed by Eid-ul-Azha releases Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, Load Wedding and Parwaaz Hai Junoon and they all did well at the box office with JPNA 2 leading the race and Parwaaz Hai Junoon taking the second spot. The former was a full time masala film featuring Humayun Saeed and Fahad Mustafa in the lead with Ahmad Ali Butt, Vasay Chaudhry, Mawra Hocane and Kubra Khan supporting them. While the other had Hamza Ali Abbasi, Shaz Khan, Ahad Raza Mir, Hania Aamir and Kubra Khan (again). The third Eid release, Load Wedding, was Fizza Ali Meerza and Nabeel Qureshi’s fourth film together but despite having the strongest script that tackled a meaningful subject, it went against the expectations and could not do the humungous business because of an overcrowded Eid. Had the Fahad Mustafa-Mehwish starrer been released in the last quarter, it might have broken the record of both Eid flicks!

In the last quarter, only three films were released with Aziz Jindani’s The Donkey King emerging as the best of the lot. Featuring the voices of Jan Rambo, Ghulam Mohiuddin, Jawed Sheikh, Hina Dilpazeer and Ismail Tara, the animated film raised the bar for an animated flick by collecting more than 240 million during its entire run. Shazia Ali Khan’s Pinky Memsaab made a silent round as no one seemed to take note of it.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s 3 Bahadur: Rise of The Warriors came out as the year’s final release ahead of the winter vacations and till going to the press, it was doing extremely well.


It was a mixed year for Indian films as well. Many meaningful films such as Pad Man, Mulk, Gold and Manto did not release in Pakistan while Aiyaary, Pari, Raazi, Veere Di Wedding, Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran, Bhavesh Joshi and Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi were banned for various reasons, showing that exhibitors in Pakistan (read: Censor Board) are still insecure when it comes to quality films from Bollywood. Sanju and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety emerged as the biggest hits in Pakistan whereas Zero and Simmba helped cinemas in the country end the year on a high.

The year started with a horror film 1921 where director Vikram Bhatt went back in time to show that love existed in England between desis played by Zarine Khan and Karan Kundra and as strange as it may sound, that was the film’s plot with a horrifying twist. Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz was released next where Vineet Kumar Singh and Jimmy Sheirgill formed an unusual team of rival boxers who hated each other to the extent of knocking each other down at the drop of the hat.

Pradeep Rangwani’s Nirdosh featured Arbaaz Khan as a cop who wants to find the truth. With a basic storyline, the film could neither impress the audience nor the box office.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat did well as it featured the power couple, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, as well as the underrated Shahid Kapoor and Aditi Rao Hydari who were pivotal to the script.

The year’s first blockbuster, especially in Pakistan, was Luv Ranjan’s Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety which sent Kartik Aaryan’s way to the top. During the time SKTKS when was doing well at the box office, duds like Chakri Toleti’s Welcome To New York, Ashu Trikha’s Veerey Ki Wedding and Aleya Sen’s Dil Juunglee were released and they went away without doing much at the box office. Arjun Mukherjee’s 3 Storeys was an ambitious project that didn’t appeal to the audience but Raj Kumar Gupta’s Raid featuring Ajay Devgn did; the film was based on a real-life incident and one would be surprised if Saurabh Shukla doesn’t bag an award for his menacing performance as the antagonist here. Siddharth P Malhotra’s Hichki proved to be the perfect comeback for Rani Mukerji who played the role of a teacher suffering from Tourette syndrome.

Abhinay Deo’s dark comedy Blackmail featuring Irrfan Khan also made it to the screens as did Mukul Abhyankar’s Missing featuring Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee; both the films were soon a thing of the past as was Shoojit Sircar’s much-superior October where Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu formed an unusual romantic pair with one in the hospital and the other attending the patient. Iranian director Majid Majidi’s first Hindi film Beyond the Clouds and Faraz Haider’s Nanu Ki Jaanu marked the end of an April that didn’t do much good for Bollywood; however, May did as it saw the release of Umesh Shukla’s 102 Not Out featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor as father and son. Then came Salman Khan starrer Race 3 on Eidul Fitr (one week after Eid in Pakistan) which did decent business despite being one of the worst films of the year. There was no story, no direction and nothing but Salman Khan whose last two films Tubelight and Tiger Zinda Hai didn’t make it to the cinemas in Pakistan.

Then came the best film of all, Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju that broke all records at the box office and strengthened Ranbir Kapoor’s chances at the Awards. He gave his best performance since Rockstar and kudos to the director for choosing an actor for biopic who is very much active on the scene. Then came box office duds such as Shaad Ali’s Soorma, Shashank Khaitan’s Dhadak and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3 where Sanjay Dutt joined the regular cast (of Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahi Gill) as the Gangster and failed to impress anyone. These films were followed by Atul Manjrekar’s Fanney Khan that flopped despite the presence of Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Rajkummar Rao. Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan was like a breath of fresh air as it teamed Irrfan Khan with newcomers Dulquer Salman and Mithila Palkar who went on a trip through India carrying a misplaced coffin. The month of August ended with three more run-of-the-mill films like Milap Zaveri’s Satyameva Jayate featuring John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee, Deols’ family reunion Yamla Pagla Deewana: Phir Se and Sajid Ali’s Laila Majnu — all left without making an impact. It was Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor’s horror-comedy Stree that broke the chain of bad films and one must admit that without Aparshakti Khurana and Pankaj Tripathi, the film might not have impressed many.

September saw Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan and Shree Narayan Singh’s Batti Gul Meter Chalu make it to the cinemas but it wasn’t until Sharat Katariya’s Sui Dhaaga featuring Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma and Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha that confidence of the audience was restored in quality films. Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun was the next film that did well at the box office but with disappointing flicks like Abhiraj Minawala’s Loveyatri, Pushpdeep Bhardwaj’s Jalebi, Abhishek Dogra’s FryDay (featuring Govinda) and Vipul Shah’s Namaste England, things looked bleak for Bollywood. Even Kajol’s comeback vehicle Helicopter Eela wasn’t considered a hit despite being a feel-good film with A-rated performances.

With Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Badhaai Ho, it all changed as the film did wonders for the audience and presented a story that would have been considered too serious for audiences a few years back. Even the rip off of Hollywood film Wall Street, Baazaar, and the horrific 5 Weddings couldn’t slow down the ascent of the Ayushman Khurrana starrer that continues to be shown in cinemas despite being released in October. The year’s biggest dud Thugs of Hindostan came in November. Not even the star power of Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan and the sight of Katrina Kaif were able to save the film from sinking. Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath featuring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan came next and would be known in the future as the film that launched Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Sigh’s daughter; Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero and Ranveer Singh starrer Simmba are currently doing well in cinemas and one is sure that they will break records in coming days, be it in 2018 or 2019!