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Lights, camera, action: Pakistani stars head for Saudi cinemas

Some of the Parchi cast in an advert for the film. (Instagram)
ISLAMABAD: Forget Hollywood, forget Bollywood — one of the first films to hit Saudi screens when cinemas reopen next year will be from Pakistan.
Parchi is an ensemble action/thriller-comedy starring Hareem Farooq, Ali Rehman Khan and Shafqat Cheema.
“We feel honored and proud that we are among the first, it’s pretty exciting and it is quite an achievement,” Farooq, also a co-producer of the movie, told Arab News.
“We always aim to do something new and expand our reach, not just stick to Pakistan.”
Pakistan is noted for outstanding drama and television plays, but film has lacked investment, storylines, direction and quality content. Now, however, the movie business is enjoying a revival.
The impact of going international is not lost on Farooq. “I think it’s proof that Pakistani cinema has international appeal, it shows that we are on the right track and that we do have a great future.”
In addition to commercial success, films are changing some of the conversation about Pakistan. “We always want to put Pakistan on the global map in a good light, that is what we work for,” Farooq said.
“Cinema is a platform that can change mindsets — it’s huge and plays a mighty role in our image projection abroad. All the world sees is extremism and terrorism, they don’t get to see what Pakistan is really about.
“We are as crazy and as normal as everywhere else.”
The soundtrack from Parchi has been well received, and the first single, Billo Hai, already has more than a million views on YouTube. The movie itself will be released on Jan. 5 in Pakistan and the UAE, and Jan.12 in the US. Cinemas in Saudi Arabia will reopen early next year after a 35-year ban.
Arab News has emailed the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information for a confirmation about the film but no response has been received by the time of printing. ​