The year 2020 is over half a month old now. This provides us with an opportunity to look back at all that happened in the world of Pakistani showbiz in 2019. And a lot did happen in 2019. While some instances had us saying WTF, others could easily be called ‘for the wins’ of the year.
Here, Galaxy Lollywood takes a look back at all the major WTF and FTW moments of Pakistan’s entertainment industry from last year.
1. Showbiz heartthrobs tie the knot (FTW)
Between marriages of actors like Yasir Hussain-Iqra Aziz, Hamza Ali Abbasi-Naimal Khawar, Iman Ali, Sanam Chaudhry, and Mira Sethi, producer Imran Raza Kazmi, and fashion powerhouse Ali Xeeshan, 2019 was full of celebrity marriages that kept the Instagram timelines alive and buzzing throughout the year.
2. Celebrity sweethearts break-up (WTF)
2019 gave us many unions, expected and unexpected. And it also gave us many breakups, all of them rather unexpected. Industry power couples like Amna Sheikh-Mohib Mirza separated, and so did the beloved couple Shahroze-Syra. One of the IT fashion model couples Sabeeka Imam-Husnain Laghari broke up too, as announced by Sabeeka herself. The popular on & off-screen pairing of Sarah Khan-Aagha Ali also broke up. Sheheryar Munawar got engaged to a non-celebrity and then that engagement too ended within a few months.
3. Pakistani films score big at International Film Festivals (FTW)
2019 was the year when Pakistani content won big time at the international film festivals. First, it was the short film “Darling” directed by aim Sadiq which won the award for Best Short Film at the Venice Film Festival. Then Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha premiered at the prestigious Busan film festival in South Korea, where it won the coveted The Kim Ji-Seok award. Making the win all the more notable was the fact that prominent directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf from Iran and Huh Moon-young from South Korea were featured on the jury. Zindagi Tamasha releases nationwide on January 24.
4. Cinema Industry suffers bigtime as not enough content to screen (WTF)
Post Pulwama, Indian films got banned in Pakistan and the cinema industry has been suffering bigtime. Cinema chains all over Pakistan have reportedly been downsizing, operations have been decreased and the industry is going through a rather rough patch due to a lack of content for screening.
5. JPNA2 and ‘Teefa In Trouble’ wrap their spectacular global business (FTW)
The 2018 blockbuster movies Jawani Phir Nahin Ani 2 and Teefa In Trouble continued their successful run at the box office in 2019. Their run ended on a hugely positive note with JPNA2 making over 70 crores at the worldwide box office with TNT crossing 50 crores mark globally.
6. ‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ faces legal troubles (WTF)
Fans kept waiting throughout the year for any headway regarding the release of The Legend of Maula Jatt however the film’s never-ending legal saga stumbled on. The movie’s first look trailer came out in December of 2018, and a release was even planned for Eid-ul-Fitr, only to be delayed at the last minute supposedly to tie in with a more lucrative international release date. As of now, the film’s legal travails continue and a Netflix release has been rumored.
7. A plethora of projects announced for 2020 (FTW)
While 2019 saw a lot of big names missing from the big screen, 2020 seems to be a packed year where a whole lot of biggies are set to release. The last few months of the year saw many announcements being made notable among them Humayun Saeed’s next with Nadeem Baig, Fahad Mustafa-Mahira Khan Nabeel Qureshi directorial, Sarmad Khooat’s next with Saba Qamar, and many more such promising projects.
8. Crowding of film releases around Eid continues (WTF)
Pakistani films tend to open well over the festive Eid period, and now literally every filmmaker with a major production wants to bank on the lucrative holidays to release their projects. 2019 served to highlight the problematic clashes with 5 of the year’s biggest films hitting over the two Eids. The number would have been higher but The Legend of Maula Jatt backed out at the last minute on Eid-ul-Fitr.
9. Film and television serial music returns to glory (FTW)
Film soundtracks returned to the spotlight in 2019, with composer Azaan Sami Khan contributing much with two popular soundtracks for Parey Hut Love and Superstar. Tracks from the two films got much mileage on satellite television and video streaming platforms and generated a positive buzz for both the ventures. Among dramas, the OST of Do Bol and Meray Paas Tum Ho became hugely popular as well.
10. Industry disputes 2019’s highest-grossing film (WTF)
The absence of a legitimate box-office tracking system continued to haunt the nascent Pakistani film world in 2019, its absence being crucially highlighted when both Superstar and Parey Hut Love claimed to be the highest grossers for the year. Despite the issue being brought to the notice of the Pakistan Film Producers’ Association as well as the government’s Ministry of Culture, no action has yet been taken and the final tally of movies remains a game of smoke and mirrors.
11. Meera makes a sensational comeback (FTW)
Meera gave the phrase ‘never say never’ an all-new meaning when following a string of duds, she made a comeback of sorts with the tinsel-town thriller Baaji. Noted for her strong performance in 90s hits Khilona and Inteha, the actress delivered a power-packed performance playing the aging former star Shameera. Baaji fared decently at the box office and Meera was back in the limelight. Besides Baaji, the actress was also noted for her special appearance in Parey Hut Love.
12. Danish Taimoor’s ‘Sirf Tum Hi Tou Ho’ turns out to be a career-low (WTF)
Danish Taimoor was the hot new kid in tinsel-town – once, that is. The Wrong No. star’s box office credentials sank further in 2019 with 90s director Sangeeta’s much delayed Sirf Tum Hi Tou Ho finally releasing and bombing at the box office. More than anything, we were left wondering about Danish’s wisdom in signing the project, which had sloppy production values and a non-descript cast.
13. Mehwish Hayat awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (FTW)
Mehwish Hayat was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for her contribution to the Pakistani entertainment industry as an artist. There is no denying the impact and stature of Mehwish as one of the top artists of the country and the government officially acknowledging that was definitely a major win.
14. Mehwish Hayat and Amir Liaqat continue their Twitter feud (WTF)
And should I not sue your movie load wedding where your entire movie revolves around me, defaming and wrongly portraying my character WITHOUT my consent? As an artist you did not only work in such a movie but you failed to stop the nonsense in it. Shameful! https://t.co/lg7EqZ3W7v
— Aamir Liaquat Husain (@AamirLiaquat) March 15, 2019
Mehwish Hayat winning the Tamgha e Imtiaz, unfortunately, made her a target of a lot of some petty industry bitching. One of the figures at the forefront of it was Amir Liaquat who criticized Mehwish multiple times on twitter, even going so far as to say he would sue her and her film Load Wedding. Their feud continued on social media with Mehwish not pulling back any punches.
15. Yasir Hussain proposes to Iqra Aziz at Lux Style Awards (FTW)
When Yasir Hussain publicly went down on his knees to propose to Iqra Aziz at the Lux Style Awards, it instantly went viral. In a country where public displays of affection can raise eye-brows, this open display of love and commitment was something to be celebrated. Despite facing some expected backlash as well, we choose to look at the positivity of the gesture instead of the alleged scheming behind it.
16. Yasir Hussain’s ‘daanedar’ comment about Hania Amir (WTF)
Speaking of distasteful behavior, Yasir Hussain made a joke about Hania Amir’s acne problem by calling it “daanedaar”, and rightfully earned criticism for joking about something that was sensitive for Hania. But when the fight continued on, that too on their social media platforms, with both sides refusing to be mature about the issue and talk it out among themselves, too many cooks ended up spoiling the broth with everyone of the social media pitching in with their hot-takes.
17. Galaxy Lollywood crosses new benchmarks, launches new shows (FTW)
Galaxy Lollywood went through some developments as well as kept up with old traditions. The trendsetting host of the entertainment industry Momin Ali Munshi made a comeback with his very own celebrity talk show The Munshi Show on Galaxy Lollywood’s official Youtube channel. The channel also features regular movie review series under Sach Sach Review with What’s The 411 feature updating the audience about the happenings of the industry. The 5th edition of the Luxus Grand Galaxy Lollywood Awards 2019 was held and was a huge success, as always.
18. Shaan Shahid’s ‘Zarrar’ experiences endless release snags (WTF)
Shaan Shahid’s directorial Zarrar, in which he is also playing the main lead, has been in the pipeline for the last few years now, and many were anticipating to catch the film in 2019. However, that did not happen, despite the actor tweeting throughout the past year that the film’s teasers and character posters were set to be launched soon. Apparently, the Waar actor attaches a different meaning altogether to the word “soon.”
19. Armeena Khan exposes Priyanka Chopra’s Hypocrisy on Twitter (FTW)
WHAT?!!! But aren’t you supposed to be a Good Will ambassador for @UNICEF? Screen shot this everyone and next time she speaks up for peace and goodwill. Let’s remind her of this hypocrisy. https://t.co/Jew88bMtYv
— Armeena 🦋 (@ArmeenaRK) February 26, 2019
Following India-Pakistan tensions last February, Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra posted her now infamous ‘Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces’ (i.e. victory to India) tweet, which received a swift response from Sherdil star Armeena Khan, who highlighted Priyanka’s hypocrisy for advocating war despite being a UNICEF ambassador. And Armeena didn’t just stop there – later, she petitioned UNICEF to strip the Bollywood actress of her designation. Armeena’s tweets were instrumental in highlighting problematic postures some celebrities tend to take, and the incident further reinforced that jingoism and peace-advocacy simply don’t mix.
20. Khalil-ur-Rehman shocks with controversial statements (WTF)
Khalil Ur Rahman Qamar was in the news almost throughout the year. First for his film Kaaf Kangana that was supposed to create a clash but then got delayed, then through the controversy his statements about feminism and what it means to be an “aurat”, and then with the underlying misogyny in his hit drama Meray Paas Tum Ho. The artiste was not separated from his art and rightfully so. KRQ’s position in the industry definitely makes us question just how progressive our industry actually is. Answer – it is not as much as it deludes itself to be.
21. Quite a few celebrities blessed with newborns (FTW)
The blessing of parenthood was bestowed on some newly married celebrities. Aiman Khan-Muneeb Butt had a baby a girl, Feroze Khan had a baby boy, Aisha Khan had a son. Even Atif Aslam celebrated the birth of a son. Congratulations to all of them!
22. Mohsin Abbas Haider’s wife came forward with shocking allegations(WTF)
Mohsin Abbas Haider was embroiled in controversy when wife Fatima Sohail came forward with domestic abuse allegations. The matter became he said she said situation when both the parties placed their hands on the Quran and shared their versions of the story. The controversy resulted in Mohsin Abbas Haider being ousted from Mazaak Raat and a general ostracisation by the industry whereas Fatima Sohail made a comeback to television via acting and hosting gigs. Moreover, Moshin later made a comeback via a music video too.
23. Jami comes forth with rape claims and names Dawn’s Hameed Haroon as the alleged rapist (FTW)
Art-house film director Jami created an online stir when he claimed that a ‘prominent media tycoon’ raped him thirteen years back. Following much online speculation, he later named the alleged perpetrator as CEO of Dawn group Hameed Haroon. The Moor director complained bitterly about the media silence around his case, which he said served to prove the legitimacy of the #MeToo movement.
24. Rabi Pirzada’s private data leaks online (WTF)
Rabi Pirzada finally ended up making headlines in 2019, although not for the best reasons. The perpetual starlet-in-waiting’s private data was apparently leaked online, which generated a social media frenzy of the kind that has been rarely witnessed. Pirzada later claimed that she contacted the cyber-crime wing of FIA, however, we have yet to receive any update on any headway in solving her case.
25. Fawad Khan finally starts work on his new film and launches script competition (FTW)
Fans of Fawad Khan have been waiting since forever to watch their favorite star on the big screen. With The Legend of Maula Jatt facing its endless legal battles and Fawad not signing on to any other film, much uncertainty prevailed around the star. However, Fawad finally signed and started shooting for Money Back Guarantee in October of last year, and what’s more, he even launched a scriptwriting competition for a film he will be producing.
26. Experimental films ‘Gumm’, ‘Project Ghazi’, and ‘Durj’ bomb (WTF)
2019 saw a few experimental films such as Gumm, Project Ghazi, and Durj hitting the big screen. The three films starred major players from the entertainment industry, however, that didn’t seem to help their sorry fate at the box office despite being well-produced productions. The only experimental film that received some box office traction was Laal Kabootar.
27. Shehryar Munawar and Maya Ali shine during promotions for ‘Parey Hut Love’ (FTW)
Sheheryar Munawar and Maya Ali made sure that their chemistry was the talk of the town while promoting their film Parey Hut Love. The beautiful couple left no chance of showing their explosive chemistry both during magazine photoshoots as well as via their candid interactions. They took their chemistry not only to different cities of Pakistan but internationally as well. They hands-down won the promotions game because the audience was eager to see the magic they were showing offscreen to be exhibited onscreen.
28. Shamoon Abbasi rails against the makers of ‘Gumm’ (WTF)
A few days after the release of his film Gumm, actor Shamoon Abbasi took to the social media to voice his allegations of mistreatment by the director-producer duo of the film Kanza Zia and Ammar Lasani. Interestingly throughout the entire squabble, Sami Khan, the film’s lead chose to remain silent, and we are yet to hear whether any of the many grievances voiced were resolved.
29. Pakistani dramas score big on digital platforms (FTW)
Whether it was Ehd-e-Wafa or the phenomenon that is Meray Paas Tum Ho, 2019 it seemed was the year when Pakistani television broke big on the digital streaming platform. We at Galaxy Lollywood had estimated that Pakistani shows were now garnering over 200 million monthly views online, which means that besides television, local productions can now look to effectively bank on the lucrative digital market as well.
30. Hamza Ali Abbasi quits acting to focus on religious activism (WTF)
Hamza Ali Abbasi posted a long video message in November where he announced that he was quitting acting to focus on a new path towards religious enlightenment. Interestingly, the Parwaaz Hai Junoon star stated that he will continue to direct and produce films and dramas, which are his passion. He subsequently launched a YouTube channel where he is yet to post any content.
31. ‘Meray Paas Tum Ho’ ends up being a humongous success (FTW)
A drama that both rocked and shocked the nation. Mere Paas Tum Ho pushed the boundaries of the impact a Pakistani drama can have on the audience. With every episode instantly trending and the dialogues of the show going viral, MPTH has set benchmarks and made records that would definitely be looked up to.
32. ‘Aangan’ not released on YouTube, serial flops (WTF)
One of Hum TV’s mega serials upon which the channel was counting so much on, Aangan finally aired on television after months of delay. However, the show did not get a digital release on YouTube and that contributed majorly in the show flopping. The show was just not good enough for the audience to watch on television every week and while the international audience could’ve saved the show somewhat with the YouTube views, HumTV sabotaged that chance for itself by not giving it a digital release to begin with.
33. ‘Laal Kabootar’ chosen by Pakistan’s Oscar committee for Best Foreign Picture nomination (FTW)
Laal Kabootar was 2019’s black swan, a film that came out of nowhere to receive unprecedented critical praise. The Mansha Pasha and Ahmed Ali Akbar starrer was selected by Pakistan’s Oscar selection committee to be the country’s nomination for the best foreign picture slot at the Academy Awards, a feat which undoubtedly will be a feather in the cap for debutante director Kamaal Khan.
34. ‘Kaaf Kangana’ experiences prolonged casting feuds (WTF)
Turns out the casting process of Kaaf Kangana had even more over-the-top drama than the much-panned film itself. For the female lead, Sohai Ali Abro was initially signed, but the Motorcycle Girl starlet later left the production for Urwa Hocane to take over. Urwa quit the film too after a few weeks, and both these women, along with veterans Saba Hameed and Mahmood Aslam had to face the verbal wrath of director/writer Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar, who frequently took to his preferred entertainment portal to vent his anger.
35. Mawra Hocane, Uzair Jaswal, and Rahat Fateh Ali receive their academic degrees (FTW)
Mawra Hocane and Uzair Jaswal successfully finished their studies at the University of London. The pictures and videos of the young graduates with their degrees and gowns definitely sent a positive message about the importance of education. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Music by Oxford University.
36. Feud between Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi drag on (WTF)
The court case between Ali Zafar and Meesha Shafi continued on with the social media buzzing with all developments regarding it. It was all too ugly and too much and there seems to be no end of this issue as of yet.
37. Dating no longer taboo as celebrities open up about their personal lives (FTW)
The decade ended with celebrities being more open about their dating life. It is no longer a surprise to see celebrities being in a relationship before making it official with a marriage. Whether they announced it officially or not, we saw many celebrities such as Hania Amir and Asim Azhar openly showering love and affection to their partners.
38. Hamza writes an endless note saying relationship with Naimal was ‘platonic’ (WTF)
Aik aur lamba paragraph! 😂… Mera accnt, Meri marzi 😘 pic.twitter.com/G3PKRRC2M1
— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) August 23, 2019
Hamza Ali Abbasi has opinions and he loves sharing them, we all know that. But when Hamza announced his marriage with his then “platonic” friend Naimal Khawar on social media with a rambling, endless note that talked about how he was marrying to fulfill God’s commandment more than anything else, it all became a little too much. Hamza fiercely defended his relationship with Naimal by calling it anything but “dating” as it is in layman’s terms. The intentions were good but it gave rise to many jokes.
39. Celebrities join Youtube and become Vloggers(FTW)
Gone are the days of lengthy Facebook posts as many celebrities turned to Youtube as a way of sharing their life and connecting with their fans. Iqra Aziz, Hania Aamir, Hina Altaf, and Yashma Gill were a few of the many celebrities who started their youtube careers this year.
40. Hamza Ali Abbasi and Naimal Khawar’s honeymoon comes under public scrutiny (WTF)
Hamza Ali Abbasi and Naimal Khawar’s simple marriage was praised a lot for setting a positive example of not indulging in extravagant festivities to celebrate weddings. But when the duo decided to go on a luxurious honeymoon trip in Europe, they were criticized for being hypocritical. Going on a honeymoon is a personal choice that is not obligated by the religion so anyone can choose to spend their honeymoon, or not do it at all, as per their convenience. This scrutiny in the couple’s private affairs was definitely too uncalled for.
41. Celebrities launch their designer lines, Mikaal opens his hair-salon (FTW)
Some of the popular celebrities ventured into new avenues apart from acting. The Hocane sisters Urwa and Mawra launched their own clothing line UxM. The most famous twins of the industry Aiman and Minal Khan also launched their clothing line A&M. Mikaal Zulfikaar opened up his own men’s salon Headlines.
42. Reema Khan versus Meera, version 2.0 (WTF)
Well, some things never change. Earlier in 2019, Reema Khan stated in what some interpreted was a jibe at rival Meera, that a certain prominent actress attempted to poison her during her heydays in the 90s. Later, the two divas had a physical altercation at the Lahore Press Club, which was followed by some vicious verbal barbs by Meera on her arch-rival. More to follow in 2020? We hope not.
43. Bushra Ansari and Asma Abbasi come up with hit song on India-Pakistan tensions (FTW)
The dynamic sisters Bushra Ansari and Asma Abbas made a song that is a conversation between a Pakistani and an Indian woman who are neighbors. The song talks of the similarities between the two women and their way of living and is a message about how as humans we are all the same; man-made boundaries do not make us different creatures.
44. Saboor and Saheefa’s unfunny on-set jokes (WTF)
Not everything is supposed to be shared on social media as proven by Saboor Aly and Saheefa Jabbar Khatak who posted a video about fooling around on their sets. The duo was seen laughing and making fun of an everyday laborer, which the social media awaam did not find funny. When called out for their behavior, the two quickly apologized and clarified that it was all done without malice. However, the damage was already done.
45 Celebrities embrace the 10 year challenge (FTW)
2019 marked as the end of a decade and like the whole world, Pakistani celebrities too were seen posting throwbacks to the start of the decade. It was heart-warming sightseeing various 10-year challenges of our favorite stars. The journey of a decade and all the transformations it brings surely was a good way of marking new beginnings.
46. Coke Studio Season 12 turns out to be dull, dull, dull (WTF)
The previous installments of Coke Studio faced some backlash so when it was announced that the man who started it all, Rohail Hayat, was coming back on the platform as a producer, expectations were bound to rise. However, the 2019 edition of Coke Studio came and left without leaving a significant mark. Plus, the copyright strikes the songs got on YouTube which got some videos removed only added to the season’s troubles.
47. Mahira Khan walks the ramp for L’Oreal (FTW)
Mahira Khan is definitely the face of Pakistani entertainment industry on a global level. She has been representing Pakistani positively at an international stage for a while now. Another feather added to her hat of achievement was when she walked as a global brand ambassador for L’Oreal at the Pakistan Fashion Week, making her the first Pakistani to do so.
48. Firdous Jamal ends up being banned by Hum TV following controversial comments (WTF)
Firdous Jamal’s ageist remarks about Mahira Khan earned him backlash, and rightfully so. The veteran actor was called out for having a regressive mindset especially considering Mahira’s stature in the industry. But when Momina Duraid, head of one of the biggest channels and production houses of the industry as well as a very close person to Mahira Khan, announced that Firdous Jamal would be “banned” from ever working with any project by her, things took a turn for worse. Many questioned the decision and even expressed their concerns about Mahira because it came across as using her clout to take revenge. There are better ways of handling these situations and may the new decade teach the industry that.
49. Mehwish Hayat speaks up about villainization of Muslims (FTW)
Mehwish Hayat used her voice, especially after being bestowed the Tamgha, to speak about the gross villainization of Pakistan at the hands of Bollywood. The years of showing Pakistan in a negative light in Bollywood movies contributes much to the negativity and bitterness between the two countries and also adds to the war drum-beating on the Indian side. It was about time someone spoke up about it and we are glad Mehwish did so, not just on her Twitter but also on a reputed platform like BBC.
50. Stars shock with ‘bold’ statements (WTF)
Various morning shows and talk shows were successful in creating controversies. In the guise of giving “bold answers” and being undiplomatically honest, some celebrities made statements that earned them severe backlash. The highlights were Firdous Jamal’s ageist remarks against Mahira, Nadia Khan not considering Mahira Khan and Mehwish Hayat as actors, Sadaf Kanwal’s remarks about Mansha Pasha, and Hina Altaf’s comments calling Muneeb Butt a bad actor. The behavior exhibited was not in good taste.