2019 was a mixed plate of sorts when it came to the film industry in Pakistan. There was a bit of everything from romance to thriller, and in between, a whole lot of empty space. It was also a year, which kept the cinema halls yearning for Bollywood content – which remained absent owing to the cross-border tensions.
However, despite the majority of downs and bits of ups, it was a year of redefining cinema narratives, and opening space for a few blasts from the past and for welcoming new, underrated talent.
How did the year fare for films? Diva explores…
Best Film – Laal Kabootar
2019 brought forward a few good films, but the ones that became popular were truly worth it. One such example was Laal Kabootar, which hit all the right notes of the narrative. There was a great character arc in the film, and each plot point complimented the other perfectly. This was truly an experience best felt in the cinema.
Best Director – Kamal Khan
Kamal Khan came forward as one of the brightest talents in filmmaking this year, and Laal Kabootar was one of the finest examples of his repertoire. The film screamed noir and it was all thanks to Kamal’s brilliant directive skillset that it did the wonders that it did.
Best Story – Superstar
A breakout film from 2019, Superstar proved to be a classic narrative told in the most quintessential of ways and still shining through it all. It had all the right ingredients for a feel-good romantic film, and that was its biggest strength.
Best Actor – Ahmed Ali Akbar for Laal Kabootar
Ahmed Ali Akbar has been on the sidelines for a bit too long, and a film like Laal Kabootar was really needed to bring him to the limelight. His role in the film proved his acting prowess, and for anyone who doubted his talent, do that no more!
Best Actress – Mahira Khan for Superstar
Although Mahira Khan in the past has received mix critique on her films, Superstar was one where critics unanimously agreed that she excelled as an actress. Her emotions and her movement flowed quite naturally, and for the first time, the actress harnessed her true potential.
Best Cinematography – Mo Azmi for Laal Kabootar
One of the finest works done by a director of photography this year was for the film Laal Kabootar, and we have Mo Azmi to thank for that. Each scene looked perfect and from the shots to the way the film felt, all was well thought of!
Best Production Design and Art Direction – Hina Farooqui and Saqib Hayat for Parey Hut Love
Asim Raza’s Parey Hut Love was one of the finest examples we had of a film with great attention to detail, and thus, its production design and art direction excelled. Each colour complemented the other, and the film popped out like no film we’ve seen come from the new wave of Pakistani cinema.
Best Sound Design and Composition – Parey Hut Love
If there are songs that you probably heard at every wedding this year, chances are they came from Parey Hut Love. Be it Ik Pal or Haye Dil Bechara, each song received amazing feedback. It also proved that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to talent, and Azaan Sami Khan is one of the best composers we have today.
The Comeback Kid – Meera for Baaji
It’s always delightful to see actors who know how to reinvent themselves, and Meera definitely fits that bill. Her debut into the new wave of Pakistani cinema with Saqib Malik’s Baaji was a great example of someone who knows how to still hold her position in the industry and to show why she’s a strong actress.
Film with Substance – Ready Steady No
A film which despite its shoestring budget and the relatively new cast did quite well, Ready Steady No was definitely a surprising entry into this year’s list of films. Starring Amna Ilyas as the lead in the film, it proved that the model-turned-actress has a bright future ahead, just like the rest of the team of this film.
The Breakout Star of the Year – Mansha Pasha for Laal Kabootar
It was a solid year for Mansha Pasha, and on the career side of things, Laal Kabootar cemented her place in the industry as a strong actress. Her role in the film displayed different facets to her acting repertoire, and each showed better than the other.
Best Reinvention in 2019 – Bilal Ashraf for Superstar
After receiving his fair share of critique in the past, Bilal Ashraf proved his acting prowess with full force in Superstar. Each scene with the actor in the film proved that while the film had other huge names alongside him, he was the real Superstar!
Underrated Film of the Year – Heer Maan Ja
Releasing with two huge Eid blockbusters, Azfar Jafri’s Heer Maan Ja was unable to stand its ground as powerfully as the other two. However, HMJ was able to do one thing which the other two couldn’t, and that was to capture the audience with its comedic route. There were tons to enjoy in the film, and in the truest sense, it was the underrated film of the year.
Funny Bones – Wrong No. 2
A film made with the purpose of being a ‘leave your brains at home’ comedy, Yasir Nawaz’s Wrong No. 2 was able to make fans laugh out loud this year. It had elements which the whole family could enjoy, and that’s why it did so well!
New Big Thing – Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar
Parey Hut Love, apart from its great production design and aesthetic, also proved to be the perfect platform for Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar to showcase their chemistry. Each scene where the two emoted love, it looked pleasing and enthralling. We wonder if we’d get to see more of the two together in 2020.
Best Onscreen Chemistry – Mahira Khan and Bilal Ashraf
Superstar proved that two actors can really transcend the boundaries of on-screen chemistry and make it look absolutely real, leaving the audiences in awe. Both Mahira Khan and Bilal Ashraf looked completely in love with each other in the film, and that’s what true chemistry should look like!
Reliable Onscreen Pairing – Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan
Some onscreen pairs are made to just work together in romance and as well in comedy, and Hareem Farooq and Ali Rehman Khan are one such example. Both of them looked quite in awe of each other in Heer Maan Ja, and in many places, the two also fit the role of buddies perfectly. Now that’s a pairing that’s always fun to see.
Which film was your favourite this year? Tell us in the comment section below.