In the last decade or so, the revival and rise of Pakistani films have given us a myriad of narratives to be proud of and cherish. They’ve won numerous accolades, and on an international scale, represented the country in the best of ways. However, many a time, it seems lightning doesn’t strike twice in this film industry when it comes to the box office.
Be it major filmmakers releasing big banner films and seeing them tank on monetary figures or parallel cinema remaining non-existent in ticket sales, the box office predicts it all and often leaves us in shock when films fail.
Looking at ten such film failures at the box office, Diva explores the narratives whose tanking left everyone shocked…
2015: Dekh Magar Pyar Se
Touted as the film which was to bring a breath of fresh air to the film industry, and also as Madam Noor Jehan’s grandson’s Sikander Rizvi’s debut alongside Humaima Malick, Asad-ul-Haq’s Dekh Magar Pyar Se was much-anticipated by almost everyone. However, it became one of the biggest failures at the box office that year and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
A film that has Fahad Mustafa is usually considered to be a hit even before it releases – but clearly, that wasn’t the case here. Directed by Anjum Shehzad, Mah-e-Mir was a film that just couldn’t prop up numbers thanks to its intense and deep storyline, which the Pakistani cinegoers just couldn’t connect with at all!
2016: Dobara Phir Se
Helmed by the celebrated filmmaker, Mehreen Jabbar, there were great expectations from Dobara Phir Se when it was announced and the trailers were released. However, when the film premiered on the silver screen, much of the box office figures hinted at the ensemble film starring Sanam Saeed, Hareem Farooq, Ali Kazmi, and Adeel Husain, ending up being a flop despite good reviews.
2017: Balu Mahi
Considered Osman Khalid Butt’s first major film to debut on the silver screen, Balu Mahi starring OKB and Ainy Jaffri became a nightmare at the box office. The film hardly managed to do business, and within days, the film was off the screens. It was additionally sad in the sense that Osman had left Parwaaz Hai Junoon for this!
2017: Chalay Thay Saath
One of the first films to go the CPEC way, filmmaker Umer Adil’s Chalay Thay Saath starring Kent Leung, Syra Shahroz, Mansha Pasha, Zhalay Sarhadi, Osama Tahir, and Faris Khalid was promoted as a fun, dramatic film shot in Hunza. However, when the film released, it hardly was able to show what it claimed and ended up being dissed by the audiences.
2017: Chain Aye Na
A Lollywood reentry at a time of the new wave of Pakistani cinema, Syed Noor’s Chain Aye Na was meant to serve as the major debut of Shahroz Sabzwari and Sarish Khan into the film industry. However, as luck would have it, the film turned into a major PR disaster along with being one of the worst-performing films of the year.
The much anticipated Mahira Khan film in collaboration with one of the biggest directors in the country, Shoaib Mansoor, Verna was being celebrated as the film that would add to the fame that Khuda Kay Liye and Bol brought to the filmmaker. But, it really worked the other way around. The film was proclaimed as a failure at the box office, and the fact that it was Mahira’s first failed film after her return from Bollywood, just killed it further.
A remake of Mahesh Bhatt’s classic Bollywood film, Shaan Shahid’s Arth had everyone excited when it was initially announced. After all, it was the difficult melange of Bollywood narratives being turned into Pakistani cinema, that too, by someone who had always criticised the former. However, the fanfare ended much quickly when the film released. It was thrashed by the critics and the box office followed.
2018: 7 Din Mohabbat In
A film by Meenu and Farjad of Zinda Bhaag fame, 7 Din Mohabbat In, was highly-anticipated thanks to an ensemble cast of Mahira Khan and Sheheryar Munawar being attached to the film. However, that hardly made the difference once the film released and ended up being a shocker for the audiences and critics. The film ended up tanking massively!
2019: Project Ghazi
A film whose controversies just didn’t let the film breathe, Project Ghazi was the biggest disappointment to the audiences when it finally released after delays of two years in 2019. The film starring Sheheryar Munawar and Humayun Saeed failed to dazzle the audience, and despite being so high-budgeted, just couldn’t help but slip.