The year 2017 may not have been kind to Pakistani cinema in its home country, but Pakistani films have been making waves internationally, receiving commendations in film festivals, premiering in glitzy opening events, playing to packed houses in major markets, opening in countries where Pakistani cinema had, heretofore, been unknown, and being distributed through a variety channels.
Steven Moore’s neo-noir 2014 film, Tamanna, enjoyed a belated but successful US premiere in Dallas, recently. Organized by Radio Azad, the event attracted a large number of filmgoers and included a Q&A session with actor Omair Rana in addition to the screening. “I have always felt that, as Pakistan’s foray into film noir, Tamanna was ahead of its time, ” said Omair Rana. “Now that Pakistani cinema is coming of age and viewers have matured, the film is getting the well-deserved recognition that eluded it at the time of its release three years ago. Internationally, the film has always been received well. Dallas’ successful screening is testimony to the enduring charm of the film. ”
Dedicated to the celebrating the confluence of cultures in the United States, Radio Azad is known for bringing South Asian art films to the city of Dallas. “I believe that there is much more to Pakistani cinema that the song-and-dance flicks made in the style of Bollywood, ” stated Azad Khan, the president ofRadio Azad. “We want to introduce original Pakistani cinema to the United States. There is both a need and a market for quality Pakistani film’s in the United States. We are committed to meeting that need. ” Chief Executive officer Ayesha Shafi added that “people are always surprised when they see innovative films from Pakistan that are not similar to Bollywood films and have their own unique identity. Our screenings of Dukhtar, Maalik, Chambeli, Josh and Shah were huge successes. The plan is to continue to promote art cinema from Pakistan and other South Asian countries in Texas and, as we grow, in the rest of the United States. ”
Loosely based on Anthony Shaffer’s 1970 play, Sleuth, Tamanna deals with games that people play, and games that they orchestrate, in their search for love, power, control, and money. The film tells the story of aging filmmaker Mian Tariq Ali (Salman Shahid) who invites his wife’s lover, Rizwan Ahmed (Omair Rana), to his home and persuades him to stage the robbery of an invaluable diamond demi-parure. Ahmed’s decision to accept Ali’s proposal sets off a chain of events where little is what it seems and where control is in the hands of a character that remains mostly off-screen.