[UPDATE] Pakistan's Biggest Film Ever Means 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.