Film 'Janaan' seeks positive global spotlight for Pakistan

Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:11pm EDT
 
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By Serena Chaudhry

LONDON (Reuters) - The cast and crew behind new film "Janaan" are hoping to showcase the positive side of Pakistan as they look to bolster international investment and interest in the country's small movie industry.

In comparison to Hollywood and Bollywood, the Pakistani industry is still in its infancy. Films are made with much smaller budgets and are not often premiered widely around the globe.

"Janaan", a romantic comedy released over the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, is hoping to help change that. It has already made it to No.8 in the UK Box Office Top Ten, and it has been released in 17 different countries.

"The revival is still very, very new. I think it's going to take time to develop. But just the fact that here we are, competing at an international level, with Bollywood and Hollywood films, even in Pakistan, I think it's very refreshing," the film's lead actor Bilal Ashraf told Reuters.

Ashraf said that more people needed to be educated about the Pakistani film industry and that wider support, as well as advances in technology and special effects, would help it develop.

The filmmakers behind "Janaan" are a young group who want to take a positive look at their country. While the film tackles serious issues including child molestation and adoption, it also shows the rich cultural side of the country’s ethnic Pashtun tribe.

Shot in Swat Valley, the same area where Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, the film captures some of the region’s breathtaking scenery. Ashraf and fellow cast members Ali Rehman Khan and Armeena Rana Khan said they’d felt safe while shooting in the area and that security had improved.

“The main purpose behind Janaan was to put a light on the good things of Pakistan, globally, rather than just, you know, showing the negative things,” said Hareem Farooq, a Pakistani actress who is also one of the producers behind the film.   Continued...