Is ‘Kaaf Kangana’ Going The ‘Sherdil’ Way?

The post-Eid ul Azha period for Pakistani cinema has been a rather dull affair at the box office. September has been especially lackluster in terms of cinematic releases however, there is some respite to be found currently with a handful of Hollywood and local films being released and thus, ensuring a much-needed resuscitation for the cinema business.

Among the upcoming local releases, Kaaf Kangana happens to be the most noticeable film courtesy its writer Khalil ur Rahman Qamar who also makes his directorial debut with this feature. With films like Punjab Nahin Jaungi, Koi Tujh Sa Kahan, and Nikki Jayi Haan to his credit, the first attraction towards Kaaf Kangana is definitely its writer. And the newly released trailer for Kaaf Kangana promises content that is relevant to the current Pak-India cross-border political tensions.

The new direction

The second theatrical trailer for the film was released recently and there’s a very visible difference between the content of the first trailer and the newly released one. The trailer begins with the reveal of ARY Films being the film’s official distributor and media partner. Although the official social media platforms for ARY Films have yet to post Kaaf Kangana‘s theatrical trailer, their name being attached to the film is indeed a much-needed boost for the otherwise lackluster cinematic affair that Kaaf Kangana is promising to be based on its promos.

The trailer, shared via Khalil ur Rehman Qamar’s official YouTube page, is imbibed with a heavy dose of drama and political references both direct and metaphorical. Almost every dialogue in the trailer mentions Kashmir or India in a very direct and unapologetic way. In fact, the word Kashmir is mentioned in the trailer from the start to the end. It opens with footage of the Indian prime minister talking about the issue of Kashmir followed by Sami Khan heatedly declaring that Kashmir, “never opted to unite with India. It was forcibly occupied by India.” The very next bit is Eshal Fayyaz comparing herself to Kashmir who can be forcefully held captive while she stands around looking at UNO for help. All of this is shown within the first 30 seconds of the trailer. The references and the comparisons continue till the end.

None of this was mentioned in the film’s first theatrical trailer. Although that trailer was not without its flaws, it had been cut to show a film that was heavy with all kinds of emotions. Whereas this trailer takes all those emotions and dunks them in the boiling water of the Pak-India political tensions that are at an all-time high currently.

A deliberate decision

It can be easily assumed that it is an intentional move by the film’s marketing and distribution team to generate interest of masses regarding the film by making it more relevant in the current political scenario. This is a very clever and apt strategy by ARY Films’ marketing team who have been known to give an extra push to films that would otherwise carry little consumer value if seen in isolation.

In the past films like Azadi and Sherdil have been the beneficiaries of such tactics. Particularly the latter film which was tactfully released shortly after Pakistan shot India’s MIG fighter in a dogfight in February this year. The patriotic zeal was all-time high at that time with a particular affection for Pakistan Air Force and there couldn’t have been any other better release time for a film like Sherdil. The film portrayed the life of a PAF fighter pilot who ultimately shot down an Indian jet and earned glory for the country. Courtesy ARY Films’ clever marketing strategy Sherdil fared considerably well at the box office.

With Kaaf Kangna this marketing team seems to be reusing the same template to ensure the film’s success. After a particularly aggressive and on-point speech by Pakistan’s prime minister at UNGA, and a continuous widespread lockdown of Indian occupied Kashmir, the sentiments of masses in Pakistan couldn’t be more pro-Kashmir and Kaaf Kangna aims to be cashing on these widespread sentiments.

Final word

Carrying some obvious 90s Lollywood vibes with it, KUR’s Kaaf Kangana may be able to woo the audience of both the current era and the fans of 90s Lollywood who may want to see the film to invoke the nostalgia of that era, if nothing else. Who knows¬†Kaaf Kangana may prove to be the film that breaks the dry spell that’s haunting the local film industry for a few weeks.

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