In Focus: Pakistani cinema’s first global box office star Humayun Saeed

The revival of the Pakistani Film Industry which began a few years back finally seems to be picking up the momentum. Yes, the situation is far from ideal, as we only have a handful of films coming out with cluttered released dates and poor success ratios, but things aren’t completely bleak either. Our industry has finally produced a few reliable names who have been consistently churning out good content which the audiences seem to be accepting whole-heartedly. One such individual who has proved to be quite an asset for the industry is Humayun Saeed: Pakistan’s first global box office star.

Humayun Saeed is currently the numero uno star of Pakistani Cinema and has been delivering one hit after the other at the box office. This series of hits began in 2013 with Main Hoon Shahid Afridi, which marked the beginning of his third innings at the box office after having made his debut in 1999 and making a brief comeback in 2007. However, what is more interesting is that over the years Humayun has amassed quite a following not only locally but also at the international front as his films have recorded excellent numbers at the global box office whereby making him a global star, the first global star!

Historically, Pakistani films have never really had an international market because Urdu films rarely got a release whereas Punjabi and Pashto films had a very limited release. There were a few releases but what really changed the game was the release of Bin Roye, which truly opened the international gates for Pakistani films recording more than 31 crores globally out of which 20 cores from the international front and 10 crores locally. Then came Jawani Phir Nahi Ani which made 45 crores globally followed by Punjab Nahi Jaungi which recorded 52 crores. Recent release Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, which is still playing in cinemas, has almost touched 70 crores globally and whats the common thread between all these films? No points for guessing- Humayun Saeed.

“There are very few actors in the subcontinent who have a pull with the audience globally. Pakistan has started producing films after a gap of nearly fifteen/twenty years and in just a decade it is a proud moment to endorse the fact that Humayun Saeed has proven to be established as a global star from Pakistan given that all his films have been a success not only in the domestic market but also internationally” said cinema owner and film distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla in conversation with Galaxy Lollywood.

Agreeing with the statement is Sunil Shah, Head of Film Division at the London based B4U Movies which has distributed Bin Roye, Punjab Nahi Jaungi and recent release Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, who feels Humayun is a big success story. Talking to Galaxy Lollywood via a phone call he said ” Humayun Saeed is Pakistan’s Shahrukh Khan! Over the years he has established himself a star, he has a face value, people trust him and are eager to see more of his films.”

So why is it that Humayun’s films do well at the box office? “It is the content and his dedication as an artist! Films work because of good content and right promotion, there has to be an awareness in the audiences and Humayun makes sure that he leaves no stone unturned with the promotions. He is a hard-working actor who has no attitude problems and trusts others and co-operates with the distributor” adds Sunil Shah.

“Moreover, Humayun has an idea as to what the people want to see. Punjab Nahi Jaungi is one of the finest films to have come out of Pakistan. The dialogues, the scenes, the characters have all been so brilliantly depicted. When Bin Roye released it was the first time a Pakistani film got a wide release. Pakistani dramas were already popular, and now with a desi film where people could relate to the characters and the situations a new era for Pakistani films began”.

Humayun has been a part of six films in this new wave of cinema and his films have made more than 210+ crores at the global box office which is a feat that no other actor has been able to achieve. With the kind of numbers Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2 has recorded, one thing has been established that Pakistan finally has one bankable star whose name can guarantee a good return at the box office. Here’s congratulating Humayun and celebrating  Pakistan’s first global phenomenon while also hoping that the coming years bring more growth for the industry and produce more such bankable superstars.

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I might be an Economics graduate from LUMS, but cinema is where my heart truly belongs. Always up for a discussion on fims and I guess you could call me a Pakistani Cinema aficionado. Email: mominalimunshi@yahoo.com