After two years of circulating in the international film festival circuit, Pakistani film Lamha finally arrived here having its red carpet premiere at the Atrium cinema on Tuesday evening.
Directed by Mansoor Mujahid and produced by Meher Jaffri and Summer Nicks, many celebrities from the television, theatre and fashion fraternities showed up at the premiere to give their support to the film and the revival of the Pakistani film industry.
Ms Jaffri, explaining the reasons for the delay in getting the film here, said: “It has taken us quite long to get the film here because earlier we had a limited number of digital screens. And with those screens our films were competing for space with Hollywood and Bollywood movies. Now, in just over a year’s time we have had several multiplexes opening all over the country, making it conducive for films like ours to be showcased.”
She said that for now Lamha would be screened in Atrium in Karachi and later there will be staggered releases in other cities such as Islamabad and Lahore.
Aamina Sheikh, the leading female protagonist and winner of the Best Lead Actress award at the New York City International Film Festival 2012 for Lamha, was excited and relieved that the film was finally being released. “It was high time that the film was shown to our audiences. It took a while but I am glad it is here,” she said. She credited The Platform, a collective initiative taken by Mandviwalla Entertainment and ARY Digital Network, for providing opportunities to films such as Lamha to be released locally. Nadim Mandviwalla of Mandviwalla Entertainment said: “We are trying to do whatever is necessary.”
According to the press release, the story of Lamha revolves around a couple, enacted by real life couple Aamina Sheikh and Mohib Mirza, whose lives are changed after a devastating accident. The accident causes them to reevaluate their relationship and their individual selves.
When asked whether the audience would accept the real-life couple on film screen as they had done on television, Mr Mirza replied: “They have already accepted us.” He also said that it was wonderful that within a month two Pakistani films had been released, the other one being Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, whose main lead actor, Humayun Saeed, also made an appearance at the red carpet.
Gohar Rasheed, the other main character in the film, was especially ecstatic since he had an interesting role in the earlier released film Main Hoon Shahid Afridi and that has received box office success and now his other film belonging to a completely different genre was being premiered. “Main Hoon Shahid Afridi will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first movie and Lamha is special because it garnered me my first nomination at the New York City International Film Festival 2012.” As for the working experience in both the films, Mr Rasheed said that because everyone involved was very keen that the film industry took off, everyone was hence cooperative and went out of the way to help others.
For any good venture to maintain its momentum, it is necessary to sustain it and from the looks of it, it seems to be happening especially for the revitalisation of the Pakistani film industry. “Another film is in the pipeline which I am doing with Zeba Bakhtiar and her son Azan Sami Khan. And as you know tomorrow another film is being released. So things are picking up for the film industry,” said Mr Rasheed.