Pakistani cinema, ever since its revival, has been on the lookout for good directors. Some have failed in the process while some have been successful. Of the latter, one of the most prominent names has been Azfar Jafri. Jafri has directed four films; Siyaah, Janaan, Parchi, and the recently released Sherdil. Barring Siyaah which was a small indie film, all three of them have, fortunately, opened to an overwhelmingly good response at the box office and the two have gone on to be healthy success stories and looks like Sherdil is on its way there too.
Of good release dates and Bollywood bans
If we look at the first 10 days collections of the last three of Jafri’s releases, there are a number of interesting points to be discussed.
Janaan collected a total of 9.3 crores, Parchi amassed 6 crores and Sherdil has managed to gather 7.85 crores, in the first 10 days. Having said that, the most interesting thing to note here is their release dates. Janaan came out on Eid-ul-Azha and benefitted greatly as the holiday period gave the film’s collections a big boost. Sherdil came out last week, on the 23rd March weekend, which also gave it a good push.
As for Parchi, the film got the worst release time (of all three of them) as it came out in January which isn’t considered a great time for movies generally. However, it still did considerably well mainly because of its content and the Bollywood ban.
Moving on, if we look at all three of them individually; the aforementioned reasons, along with good content, were enough for all three of them to do well, with the Bollywood ban being a constant in all.
Of relatable content and good timing
Janaan was a family drama that talked about relationships and most importantly, the issue of child molestation. The film brought Bilal Ashraf, Ali Rehman and Armeena Khan to the limelight. It was an apt film for an Eid release as its family appealing content kept the viewers entertained. This film benefitted from the Eid holidays as mentioned earlier but got a rather long run at the box office due to the URI attacks leading to a ban on Bollywood content. The film released alongside Actor in Law and benefitted greatly from the audience overflow in the first few days.
Sherdil, on the other hand, is a patriotic film that cashes on the India – Pakistan animosity. This film seems to have benefitted considerably from the current situation, as India Pakistan are at loggerheads since Pulwama attacks. Furthermore, Sherdil may just have fulfilled the country lovers’ appetite by giving them a movie where Pakistan defeats India. Although the film hasn’t got countrywide acceptance, there are several factors that have worked in its favor namely; the huge number of shows it has got, masses’ appreciation, right release time and no major competition.
Parchi is a film which surprised many when it was released. The film had really good music, was promoted really well but it opened with many bad reviews. However, the audience was hungry for content at that time as Salman Khan’s blockbuster release Tiger Zinda Hai had gotten banned in Pakistan, and December’s local releases; Arth & Rangreza had been colossal disappointments. The fresh pairing of Ali Rehman and Hareem Farooq did the job and Parchi ended up being a success. Its run at the cinemas, however, was halted by Padmavat which released towards the end of January 2018.
In short, Azfar Jafri’s films were well-made with relatable content but he has always had his luck working for him too.
A final word
The three movies being discussed were released under the marketing strategies of ARY, which had done an excellent job for their promotion.
Moreover, for Janaan and Parchi, the cast and crew of the film were pretty accommodating and went out of their way with promotions and sort of started this new trend of micro-promotions which can best be explained in Imran Raza Kazmi’s own words who feels that the number of selfies and people they interact with directly result in more goodwill, meaning more people in the cinemas.
To sum it up, all three movies were well promoted, had good release dates and found the audiences’ acceptance and resultantly, did well in the first 10 days. We are hoping that Mr. Azfar Jafri’s next Eid-ul-Azha Heer Maan Ja release will also a mega success. Fingers crossed.