Interesting developments in Pakistani cinema: first the release and accolades that a newly released Khuda Ke Liye (In the name of God) received and now the screening of a Mahesh Bhatt film in Pakistan defying conventional wisdom and using innovative ways of selling it to officialdom. Himal magazine has published a report entitled Filmi cooperation. Here is an excerpt:

The release on 13 July of Indian director Mahesh Bhatt’s film Awarapan (roughly translated as ‘Wanderlust’) in 22 cities in Pakistan was no ordinary event. There had been little hope that the Censor Board of Pakistan would issue a certificate to the film’s co-producer, Sohail Khan, to allow the film’s public screening. Even once that certificate was obtained, religious fundamentalist forces and associations of local film directors and producers issued multiple warnings against Awarapan’s Pakistan release.

Shahzada Irfan Ahmad says that the issue is more of economy rather than ideology.

Read the full entry here.

I had seen the movie a month ago. Awarapan as a film has its weaknesses – the plot in part is stereotypical, there is unnecessary violence, the “secular” cliche of Hindu boy falling for a Muslim girl is re-invoked; and it is a wee bit long. But it deals with the issue of human trafficking, portrays Islam and Muslims in a sensitive manner (unlike the hysteria on terror and terror-plots) and develops the protagonist’s character rather well. Our hero Imran Hashmi was better known for his intimate encounters on the cinema than his acting skills. He is a protege of the Bhatts and this time they have made an actor out of him.

Not a bad effort, on balance!