[UPDATE] Pakistan's Biggest Film Ever Means WAAR

Associate Editor; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
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[UPDATE] Pakistan's Biggest Film Ever Means WAAR
[In response to this article, we've received a number of updates from film fans in Pakistan with additional information, so I've decided to incorporate those additions into the text. At the bottom of the original text you'll find new information regarding WAAR.]

We've talked many times about the many film industries in India.  There's Bollywood (Hindi films), Kollywood (Tamil), Tollywood (Telugu), Mollywood (Malayalam), and Sandalwood (Kannada).  However, I've never approached a Lollywood film.  Lollywood is the colloquial term for the Pakistani industry based around Lahore, a border city with India in the Punjab region. Well, ScreenAnarchy, consider your cherry popped!

Waar is the upcoming big-budget action spectacular from Pakistan.  The film was reportedly co-financed with American production dollars and promises to be the biggest film in Pakistani history. As is typical with South Asian films, there is very little to go on plot wise, and the fact that all of the dialogue in the trailer is in Urdu doesn't help much, however, the all-knowing Wikipedia reports that:
The film is inspired by true events. The film gives a fresh and stylized perspective of current Pakistan's situation.
Which tells us precisely nothing.  However, the trailer actually looks pretty decent, if a bit talky in the opening.

I have zero background in Pakistani films, so I don't really know their film culture, but this looks pretty western to me, just with all of the American flags replaced with Pakistani ones.  Who knows, could be good. 

Waar releases somewhere on February 15th.  I'm not sure if it will get distribution outside of Pakistan, but with the budget their reporting, I would be surprised if they haven't tried to get the film into other territories. Check out the trailer below.

UPDATE: Thanks to a generous outpouring of information from Pakistani readers, I've been able to add some new information to this article.  According to readers both here in the comments and through other venues, I've been able to identify the fact that the funding for Waar is entirely Pakistani, though its exact origins differs depending on whom you talk to. 

One of our commentators says that the film was financed by Hassan Waqas Rana, who also happens to be the writer and co-star of the film. The film, according to my sources, seems to be dramatizing various controversial events in Pakistan since the beginning of the "war on terrorism" in neighboring Afghanistan. It is no secret that the fighting has bled over into neighboring Pakistan, with tensions running high between Pakistan and the US, despite formerly strong diplomatic ties.

While the film was made with Pakistani money, it is apparently to be distributed by Warner Brothers worldwide. This will not be the film Pakistani film distributed outside of the country, though.  Last year a slice of life drama called Bol that dealt with the day to day lives of several Pakistani women released in India and the US to several positive notices. Most of the information linking WB and Waar is to be found on Pakistani film sites, and I haven't been able to confirm it beyond that.

Some people are saying that the film is a thinly veiled recruiting exercise.  There are rumors in Pakistan that the film was financed by ISPR, the PR wing of the ISI, the controversial Pakistani secret military service. There are rumors about the ISI in this country as well, but I'll leave those to political commentators. 

One thing that is not a secret is that enthusiasm for this film among Pakistani film fans is off the charts.  As you can see in the comments below, Pakistani fans are dying to see this film, and this was the same response I got from my other Pakistani sources. In any case, Waar seems poised to put Pakistan on the cinematic map in a way that it hasn't been any time recently.

I'd say there is a decent chance of Waar finding a home on at least a few US screens in neighborhood South Asian theaters.  I live very close to several, so I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open and hopefully get a chance to see it. Thanks again to all of our readers for providing more context for this film.
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Todd BrownJanuary 5, 2012 12:29 PM

This looks like it could be quite good ...

J HurtadoJanuary 5, 2012 12:55 PM

I've seen some comically bad Pakistani trailers, but this one seems the most like a "real movie". I kind of got an "Elite Squad" vibe from it.

aayanmughalJanuary 5, 2012 3:09 PM

For those who can't understand the lines in Urdu At the beginning of the video... it says, "Pakistani is one that nation for which there is no one to grief if it dies....now even they themselves don't..

The trailer is currently creating a big buzz here and people are anxiously waiting for this movie...Its totally a Pakistani production, funded by Pakistani film producer Hassan Waqas Rana.. and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros.

Some are also getting confused on the name of the movie, the Waar here is not a badly spelled word for 'War' but it actually means 'to strike' in Urdu.

J HurtadoJanuary 5, 2012 3:50 PM

This is why I love writing for this site. Every time I post about something I don't know, someone who understands the language jumps in to help! Thanks Aayan!

RayJanuary 5, 2012 4:22 PM

We here in Pakistan can't wait till it comes out. Aayan pretty much summed it up the translation.

Also, J Hurtado, another good Pakistani movie you should post on this site is "Bol" - came out in 2011, and is very interesting. It reflects many daily lives in Pakistan, It's about a father, his daughters, and a transsexual son. One of the daugther is a female convict on death row, her last wish is to tell her story to the media.

Joe YoungJanuary 5, 2012 5:32 PM

"The storyline has been inspired by the war on terror in Pakistan and its effects on the world, but with a stylised interpretation of it."


Doesn´t say much.....aayanmughal, Ray Kalm, do you know more?

xinoJanuary 5, 2012 6:24 PM

doesn't even look like a Pakistani movie O_o
look too expensive like Hollywood quality.

i don't think I've seen any Pakistan movie before

RayJanuary 5, 2012 7:01 PM

Basically, the movie is inspired by actual events that took place in Pakistan after 2001 to 2011. An action packed big budget film.

For example, in the trailer, you see a Chinese hostage, that event took place (Al Qeda capture two to three Chinese hostages).

The watch will be worth it.

Joe YoungJanuary 5, 2012 9:43 PM

Ok...thanks...it´s story about a anti terrorist unit?

So maybe this is a pakistani version of Tropa de Elite (2007), Mogadischu (TV 2008).....

TughralJanuary 6, 2012 12:18 AM

Well the guy who plays the chinese hostage is my Wushu teacher here in Islamabad.. he was telling me they worked with the real anti terrorist unit in the movie. He was very tight lipped about the plot when they were shooting, but from what I understood its all about the mess in Pakistan because of terrorism from the extremists and the fight back.
We are all looking forward to it here in Pakistan.. we cant be sure it will be as good as the Hollywood movies but its definitely part of the slow revival of Pakistani cinema.

Joe YoungJanuary 6, 2012 10:33 AM

Ok thanks...Tughral Turab Ali, I guess your teacher had to sign a confidential agreement, so he wasn´t allowed to tell anything about the plot.

GozanJanuary 6, 2012 6:21 PM

" it says, "Pakistani is one that nation for which there is no one to grief if it dies....now even they themselves don't.."

Now that's just not true... There's also Belgium!

sumairs2January 7, 2012 9:48 AM

Official WAAR page Cites (WAAR's trailer passed 150,000 hits in its first day (currently over 160k, Youtube is frozen at 111,883 for now). It is also in the World Top 5 Most Liked Videos of the day in the Film/Animation Category on Youtube. Overwhelming Reaction & Feedback. Thankyou!)
Later Producer/Director Bilal Lashari declares it has no funding from any ISPR section & its Entirely his own project along his Partner Hassan,
Later Indian News Paper Writes (http://www.bollywoodlife.com/news-gossip/pakistan-goes-to-waar/ ) Waar is an around 8 Million Dollar project.
i am not from Pakistan i am in London but i am impressed with this Topic i would see it in my O2 Cinema. here.